Frobisher Bay (Iqaluit), Canada

Frobisher Bay (Iqaluit), Canada, in winter

Compared to the robust towns nestled in the High Tatras, tiny Frobisher Bay was an anemic pinprick perched on Baffin Island’s frigid alien expanse. Ariel’s hopes shriveled. At first sight, he despised the ominous cliffs that rose from the ocean to sweep into the vast grayness of an endless plain. Where were summer’s placid bays with the bobbing fishing boats painted in bold primary colors that he’d seen in National Geographic?.... Ariel had missed the few short months that made the town bearable; the first big storms of the Arctic winter had obliterated any color from the uniformly featureless landscape....  

Frobisher Bay (Iqaluit), Canada, in winter

Ariel sat on the old sofa for hours, contemplating the arctic silence. Whenever he looked out the living room window at the blowing snow that met the horizon in a wash of absent color, he felt as if he might lose his mind. Then, to break the winter spell cast by Frobisher Bay, he would pace the length of the prefab listening to the thudding of his own heart. 

One sunny morning, he decided to save his sanity by hiking along the road to the slipshod town of Frobisher Bay. He walked slowly, his head bent in thought as he methodically kicked his worn boots into the plowed snow bank along its edge. But without warning a sudden storm swept in, leaving him blind and fearful, hunkering down where he stood. 

From “The Cabbages,” Chapter 20: Ariel

Frobisher Bay (Iqaluit), Canada, airport in winter

As the plane taxied to a stop, Ariel’s heart rose into his throat with excitement. Svnoyi and Yacy bounded down the stairs first, looking radiantly lovely. They threw their arms around him while jumping up and down.... Phoenix and Agali ran to him, their unbuttoned woolen coats flying behind them. 

Only Aleta brushed past Ariel without a glance, her eyes squinting in the snow’s glare above the thin, angry line of her mouth. She waved at the lone cab, then hustled the children into the back seat, shoving both violins onto their laps. Tossing her head to show her distain for him, she slammed the door ferociously before taking her own place in the front.

Ariel stood on the tarmac, too stunned to react as the cab drove off.... 

From Chapter 20: Ariel and Aleta