Written by Lilith
The author wrote this as a response to 35.1 by Bobartles, fearing that his first person narrative didn’t do him justice. While we think this piece works fine as a stand alone, she’d like to request that you read 35.1 first for a spot of context.
It’s cold, shit, I don’t think I’ve ever felt this cold before. The draft clings to my thighs and I regret not dressing more warmly for January, but it’s too late for that so I clench my legs together, wishing for heat. I cradle my coffee in both unsteady hands and try to stop crying.
I look back at the screen. “It’s cold,” I read aloud. “I don’t notice.” I try to envision the narrator; a man so jaded and dead inside that he can’t comprehend every eddy of cool air snaking across his skin, creeping through his clothes. I know I’m meant to think he can’t feel it because he’s so cold on the inside, but something about it strikes me as wrong. Cold isn’t like that. It creeps in, not out.
I know you better than you think, dear narrator. I know your smile. My shaking hands still as I consider you, and a tiny twinge of warmth makes its way through my body. I sip my coffee, feeling a little more like myself.
How can I possibly tell you that you aren’t this person? I imagine you in his place, standing on the bridge with the harsh winter wind ripping through your immovable body, feeling nothing at all. I see myself at your side, my hand creeping into yours as you stare down at the traffic below.
The lights are beautiful. I don’t know this for a fact, having never stood on such a bridge, but my imagination is strong and I feel the roar of the traffic far below, see the flash of headlights at once delicate and blaring. Each one is a tired trucker with a hundred miles to go, or a family of five crammed into a fiesta en route to a much needed week away, or a businessman, or a young couple, or a teacher eagerly awaiting retirement. And it’s cold, and my teeth are chattering and ruining the moment but at least you’re here. Your fingertips close around mine and they’re like ice.
A buzzing calls me back to the real world, and when I realise it’s my phone I have to take a moment to collect myself. I see your name on the screen, and remember who you are, and a little bit of warmth stirs in my core, just below my diaphragm. I don’t bother to accept the call because I know what it means. Stepping outside the kitchen door I look down, and you’re waiting in the courtyard, staring up at the spot where you knew I’d be.
Suddenly I remember how pale I am, that I haven’t washed my hair in days and my nail-varnish has been chipped half off for weeks now, that I’m not wearing any makeup to cover these tired eyes and my shirt is ugly. It takes all my self-control not to run back inside and hide there for half an hour with borrowed cosmetics by the bedroom mirror. But I don’t want you to think I’m insecure, even though you probably know it already, so instead I walk downstairs to let you in, forcing a nervous smile onto my face.
When I open the door the cold rushes in. I hadn’t thought it was possible to get any colder but when it hits my body temperature drops again. My teeth chatter as I try to greet you and it’d be comical if it wasn’t so sad. You step inside and as you survey my face I realise there are still traces of tears there, and then I feel guilty for making you worry. Then you kiss me, and as you sweep me up into your arms I remember the real temperature of your body. I stare into your deep brown eyes, and I know that you are the single warmest thing in my life.
We hope you enjoyed Lilith’s Valentine’s Day special! She’s really poured her heart and soul into this one, trying to give a truthful representation of herself in literary form, eventually managing to portray a side of her personality that very few people have seen. The first person to see the finished version was Bobartles himself, who I’m happy to say loved it at once.