Pieces of me forgot what it felt like to be cold. To be truly and completely chilled on a molecular glacial sort of level: how the cold can have a presence that takes up inside of you. When I hit the sidewalk no amount of layering or methodical scarf tying or mitten buying can save me from winds so cold they make my entire body feel bruised. All the good parts get exposed and I become painfully aware of how close my bones are to the skin. Anything that hurt before going outside has now recoiled into hidden recess of my imagination, and taken up camp in ideas of warmth and home; neither of which I have here. Being cold anywhere besides Minneapolis feels like some sort of betrayal to unspoken parts of my identity. As if the streets of that city are the only ones that are given permission to snatch my breath, freeze my ribs, numb my lips.
Do you remember that one morning in the sunroom when Margret lived on Dupont, and I had come home for Christmas though my family was long gone and you were there instead? Do you remember the night before at that bar with the tacky colored Christmas lights, the game of pool you insisted I cheated in, and the way we spoke about being young like it was something we were no longer entitled to? And you looked better and brighter than ever and I was thinner and angrier than before, and something about the season or the cold or the lights made us gravitate toward one another like comets. And in the morning while everyone else slept we hid beneath down comforters and watched the snowfall fill the streets. The radiator buzzed and groaned in the corner of the old apartment failing to keep the walls warm, and you held me close because my teeth chattered against each other and you said, “shhh. shhh,” to calm me down. And it worked. It was so cold we could see our breath inside and the single red bird outside the window watched us kiss like he could tell someone. I shook some more and you said, “shhh shhh.”