Click here for “Midnight Jesus: One.”
I’ll need a jacket this time.
My feet turn back from the clawing chills of the night as I snag a coat from its hanger and shuffle my arms through the sleeves.
I shut the front door behind me, embracing the brisk air bridging my home and the street.
I stumble into my car and turn the key with trembling fingers, firing up the heat to full blast. The warm wind crashes over me, and my eyes shut amid the hot drone.
All prickly kernels of cold are soon extinguished. I pull the key from the ignition and a thick warm silence now blankets the vehicle’s interior, separating the cold quiet just beyond the window glass.
I reach down and pull the reclining lever beneath my seat, leaning back fully, sighing with relief.
My heart drops, then barrels forward; my mouth opens, shuts.
“H-hi,” I stutter.
“How are you tonight?”
A sigh. “Same as usual.”
He knows this; why? Why does he even ask? What else can I say?
He waits for my response; so do I.
When did life become this way? Did it happen overnight or was it a more gradual corrosion? I don’t even know anymore, all thoughts a blur. A cold, blizzardy, unending blur.
But for now there’s warmth. Stillness. Peace.
Until peace inevitably leaves me once more.
“I’ve missed you.”
I wince, a distinct shiver shifting my position in the seat. I turn on my side, away from him. The tight warm air blanket has loosened around me as the coldness creeps back.
“I still think about you. Constantly.”
His words ring in my ears like jackhammers long after the last drill. Echoing in the soul somewhere beneath my coat.
“I haven’t left. I’m right here.”
Tears strive to break through gated eyelids and I only lock my eyes tighter as the air grows colder still. I cuddle my coated arms closer.
“It hurts me that you hurt. I wish it weren’t this way.”
My eyes roll beneath closed lids, and he falls silent.
Minutes pass; the jitters return. I lean up from my seat and stagger from the vehicle.
So much for that peace — gone, once again.
With a breathy puff of white air, I return to my prison, determined to desist from this silly midnight charade. Determined to leave hope ever locked within that cold car.