“Cold” by James Schwartz

The streets are wet with gray snow that sprays it's icy raw with each step. A bitter winter wind blows through you, disregarding layers of clothing to clutch at your throat.

Down one street and another you trudge. Each step brings you closer yet you disbelieve you'll ever get there. All you can think of is the cold, unable to think of anything else.

The slush from the streets has worked itself through your shoes leaving your feet numb and socks soaked.

Finally those disbelieving steps have ended and carried you here. You walk up the sidewalk and into the door. You enter with the confidence of having been here before. You enter embracing the warmth which surrounds you, embraces you and kisses your laughing skin. Only your feet are uncomfortable, reminding you of the cold.

You walk down the hallway and knock on the apartment door.

You're gripped with the usual fear that he's not home. Two knocks, three...

He is and the door creaks open. At once you sense something wrong. The door does not swing open merrily inviting you in. Nor does he.

He was sleeping. Tired. Come back later.

Yes, you say, yes I will. I love you. You hear the lie in his carefully guarded cold voice and see it in his carefully guarded cold eyes.

Your eyes fill with tears as you return down the hallway and exit through the door.

The cold startles you with it's cruel intensity, mocks you.

I was waiting for you all along it whispers, ruthlessly murdering the warmth.

The tears fall faster now but it doesn't matter. They course down your face and freeze. Turn to ice.

All that matters is the cold.