I want coffee, well, no, I want clarity. The coffee can wait. I turn the key in the deadbolt so hard that I briefly think it is going to snap off. Wouldn’t that be a relief? Never go back inside that white cube of an apartment, locked out forever. I punch the lobby button and three floors down step out of that little rattletrap of an elevator, the fluorescent bulb flickering ever so slightly, making a faint buzzing sound. I despise that sound—and in my inner ears I can hear a squeak as my jaws clench even tighter. The front door is partially frozen closed, which I’m not expecting. Instead of opening with a push of my arm, it sticks. My head hits the glass. I spit and rub the ridge over my right eye, a comma-shaped smudge left on the door. Outside. Into the snow. The snowflakes are swirling around, eddying around the building. They aren’t soft like a tissue, they’re hard and coming down fast, biting into my lips like small razor blades. I pull up my scarf, snarling underneath.
Her warm breasts are pressing into me below my shoulder blades, her arm around my torso, tucked between my ribs and the mattress. She kisses the base of my neck. I had to bring it up. I couldn’t let the goddamn thing go, could I? She retracts her arm and turns her head down into the pillow, her hair brushing across my back. I drift off to sleep and don’t even feel her get out of the bed; don’t even hear the door click shut.
My scarf blows down around my neck and I get hit with a face full of razor blades. I leave it down, squinting my eyes to slits. A tiny, sharp snowflake makes it between my eyelashes. It hits me square in the eye. My head jerks. No use wiping it out of my eye, it’s already melted, running down my cheek, a tear I can’t seem to cry on my own. I’m stumbling a bit as I can’t really see—can’t see the pain I inflict, can’t see the suffering I cause. The snow is getting deeper, I pull up my scarf and squint again.