Melinda misses her bus because of the winter darkness, but her mother refuses to drive her to school, telling her to walk through the snow instead. As she hikes through the streets, Melinda notes the beauty of the wintry town.
Melinda’s mother remains typically unsympathetic and disinterested, even though inability to get out of bed is one of the classic signs of depression.
After deciding to go to a bakery called Fayette’s for donuts, Melinda sees Andy Evans (IT, as she calls him) in the parking lot. She freezes on top of an icy puddle and hopes that he won’t notice her. She compares herself to a rabbit that freezes in front of a predator. Noticing her, Andy grins like a wolf and offers her a bite of his donut. Melinda runs away, asking, “Why didn’t I run like this before when I was a one-piece talking girl?”
Even Melinda’s peaceful winter walk becomes a nightmarish experience when Andy Evans yet again targets her. Despite her terror, Melinda can do nothing to combat him. Her mention of the “one-piece talking girl” is a reference to her old self, before she was silent and broken.
As she runs, Melinda remembers what she was like when she was “eleven years old and fast.” She imagines burning through the sidewalk, melting snow and ice all around her. She decides to cut school.
Melinda’s experience of running triggers her nostalgia, while her fantasy of melting the snow contrasts to her previous frozenness when she saw Andy Evans.