He trudged endlessly in a tiresome square, his small frame almost entirely frozen solid. Vested in dress gray, he had no protection from the bitter, screaming wind that pelted him with arctic air. The worn leather gloves covered each of his strong fingers, but by the look of his puffy wrists, they had done no good. Surely, he needed warmth soon, before it was too late.

She felt sorry as she watched from a nearby bench, bundled in layer upon layer of coats and jackets and sweaters. Her nose and mouth were swaddled beneath a wool scarf, which she desired to wrap around his entire aching body and heal it like magic. She was not suffering like he was.

She figured civilians probably shouldn't talk to cadets, especially cadets walking hours, but she couldn't help wanting to. Throughout all the awfulness he was enduring, he still had a broad smile upon his face. Friends called out to him as they walked past, and he let loose a loud laugh as each took their turn joshing with him. This cadet's spirit never seemed to die.

Calling out a simple greeting, she caught his attention as he neared her during his final lap. His smile grew larger in reaction to the newfound attention, and the color in his eyes brightened. A smooth introduction and an outstretched hand followed.

She remarked on the temperature of his hand as she shook it gently, afraid to crack and shatter the ice that might lie beneath his glove. As a superior approached, he quickly excused himself for a moment in order to address the man with proper respect. Raising a stiff salute to the tip of his light brown buzz cut, the cadet paid his dues and ended his punishment. He approached the girl once more.

So much of his uniform gleamed in the winter sun, from the brass buttons down his chest to the shined black dress shoes that adorned his feet. He looked regal, almost, definitely important. She admired him from head to toe, staring blindly, not noticing the extra, extra broad smile upon his wind burned face.

Suddenly that smile turned to a frown. The superior came back and starting yelling in a voice that made her hair stand on end. She could not hear what he was saying, but she could feel the effects. The cadet turned slowly and disappointedly returned to the square path he had carved in the snow with his shuffling feet.

But each time he passed her from then on, he released one sweet compliment in her direction. After his second dose of hours, they went out to dinner.