So there was a huge storm on Friday and my power is out, which is why there was no post yesterday. I am incredibly sluggish because for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to visit Baltimore in the summer. For the record, I do not like 37 degree weather. Recently I watched The Twilight Zone episode “The Midnight Sun” which has everybody dying because Earth’s orbit has changed and we’re going too close to the sun and everybody is dying. Then it turns out it was all one woman’s fever dream and we were moving too far away from the sun and everyone is freezing to death. This kind of has no point except I love the The Twilight Zone and I’m posting an old story I wrote that has snow in it. I promise my brain will be working for Tuesday’s post.
It was snowing that morning. The type of snow she wished for every year, but had only actually gotten once before. Thick, blinding snow, that made the tree branches sag with its weight, snow so deep you had to wade through it and stop every few minutes to put on your boot that the snow had gripped and pulled off. But now, the weather was perfect for drinking tea and sitting by the sun-soaked window, staring out at the shining world.
She ran eagerly downstairs to start her snow day, her day of doing nothing, her mastery of mindlessness. But he was sitting at the table in her kitchen, wearing an insidious grin and an aura of authority. She became aware of her tangled hair, her torn t-shirt.
“I made you coffee,” he said, nodding towards the full pot on the counter.
“I thought I got rid of you last time.” She walked past the coffee pot and rummaged in the box of tea for the English Breakfast she knew she had seen the day before.
“How could I leave you? I need you.” He smiled with superiority, waiting for her to believe. She closed her eyes and took deep breaths. It was supposed to work, to calm her mind, to steady her will.
“I want you to go away. Now. Leave. Don’t come back. I never want to see you again.” She kept her eyes closed and her hands in the tea box. Her hands were shaking, rustling the tea bags. Maybe it would work. Maybe he wouldn’t be there when she opened them.
She felt breath on her shoulder and turned her head. As she opened her eyes to meet his gaze, he put his hands on her upper arms.
“Boo,” he said. She grabbed the full coffee pot and swung it at him, burning coffee spilling out down her shirt, running over her legs and into a formless brown puddle on the floor.
But it didn’t.
The floor was clean, her clothes were dry. The coffee was gone, and so was he. Her grip loosened on the handle of the empty pot as she let herself slide down the counter into a sitting position on the floor.
“That wasn’t very nice.” He was towering above her, hands on hips, almost comical in the cliché of the stance, but nobody was laughing. She met his unyielding stare, shivering on the cold linoleum. At last he grinned, his face a perfect display of good humour.
“Come now, you can’t be that upset with me. It’s been so long. We have so much to catch up on.” His caring gaze made it easy for her to accept his outstretched hand and stand up. The kitchen chair he guided her to was hard, and there was a cup of tea steaming on the table before her.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about you. I never should have acted the way I did. You mean the world to me.” He said it perfectly, his eyes sad, his voice quiet and melting. In the back of her mind she knew he had practiced, but she couldn’t stop herself from reaching out to stroke his arm where it rested on the table, to comfort him. “I want to make things better. I want you back.” As he said it, she took a sip of the tea, coughing as she burned her tongue on the bitter, scorching liquid. As she choked it down, she involuntarily closed her eyes, breaking free of his mesmerising stare. As she gained control over herself, she stared at the scratched wood of the table. She could think clearly if she didn’t look at him.
“No. Just…no. You have to go.” She closed her eyes, waiting for the explosion.
“Dana, don’t dismiss me so quickly. I waited so long to see you again, traveled so far…” Dana couldn’t suppress a short, humourless laugh. Focus now, focus…see him disappearing, make him go…
“Dana, stop.” She could sense the anger in his stare, feel the heat of it, even though her eyes remained shut. “Dana, this won’t be good. You need me.”
And she knew it was true.
She opened her eyes and he smiled, back in control. Dana took another sip of the tea, wanting the sugar, but afraid to turn her back on him.
“You have to agree that I’m in charge,” Dana said, her voice sounding loud in the silence. He laughed.
“I don’t have to do anything. I’m the one doing you the favour.” He leaned back in his chair and grinned. Dana sighed. She could already tell that it was going to be exactly like last time, and he was going to enjoy every minute of it.