Monday, October 19, 2015

The cold

Just feeling the itch to do a writing exercise. I want to drift into the other side of my brain for a while.

So I pull a book from the shelf and see what happens. Combining a little reality with a prompt from fiction. The book—Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse. On page 120, the sentence: “I can’t have my wife sleeping in the cold truck, not now. Not with the baby coming so soon.”

On my right foot: big toe pink, second toe white, third toe white, forth toe pink, pinky toe not pink but white. My left foot a different pattern of white and pink toes. Having once experienced frost bite, my feet are not fans of cold weather. But I wonder if this obsession with staying warm lies in something deeper, in another life at another time. I fill the bathtub with the hottest water I can tolerate. Steam fills the room and begins dripping down the walls, beneath the iron cross and the Guadalupe votives. Soaking in the bathtub, the room lit only by candlelight, I lift my arm out of the water and watch steam rise from my fingers and hands as I make steamy designs in the candlelight—figure eights and waves like a witch invoking black magic. When the steam dissipates, I put my arm back into the hot water and try new designs, new rhythms, anything to conjure up protection from the cold. On an exposed northwest corner, my bathroom is the coldest room in the house. The walls are cold to the touch and I imagine there is no insulation between the outside brick and the inside plaster. It was built at a time when energy was cheap. The leaves are only beginning to turn on the trees and hard winter is many weeks away. This is how I will live until spring returns, soaking in hot water until my skin erupts in itchy, rashy patches. I can’t sleep if I’m cold so I cook like a lobster and quickly slip into bed where the heat of my over-cooked body warms the cold sheets. Am I awake or am I drifting off to sleep? Startled, I sit up in bed, thinking I heard the voice of my long-dead father. “Papa?” I whisper. No response. I burrow down deeper under the blankets. And I begin to shiver. I hear his anxious voice as if from another room. “I can’t have my wife sleeping in the cold truck, not now. Not with the baby coming so soon.”


  1. Always a blessing to stop by this place and hear what you have to say. Stay warm. ��

  2. Thank you, Susan. Don't know where you are writing from, but I hope you're basking in sunshine. Thanks for reading the blog, Donna