January 17, 2010


Plastic bags of beer cans clunk between our identical black down parkas as we trudge through packed snow along the side of the road, gasping out cloudy breaths of air so cold it stings the teeth.

"I feel like a teenager, walking down the road with my booze to sneak into some party," you snicker into your fur-trimmed hood.

"I know what you mean," I laugh but it comes out too loud and abrupt in our silent surroundings. "But if we were teenagers we'd be carrying Bacardi coolers and Smirnoff Ice."

"That's true. I remember when I found out about Mike's Hard Lemonade. It was like, awww yeah! I was so happy. Every time I was gonna get drunk I'd buy a five-cent bag of candy, wash it down with a swig of hard lemonade. It was the best."

You're walking at least six paces ahead of me and I'm stepping on your shadow. But I don’t blame you. Your legs are longer, for one thing. And it's too cold to slow down. You're talking out into the wind and I'm zipped up to the bridge of my nose. We can barely hear each other and we don't even really know what we're saying but we still talk. Otherwise it would be too quiet.

"How long do you think it would take to die out here? I'd say not long."

"Would you rather die of cold exposure or heat exposure?"

We agree in a calm, casual, sick, twisted way that freezing to death would likely be faster, and therefore preferable, over slowly dehydrating, writhing listlessly in a pool of your own sweat until the end.

"But," I think aloud, "Freezing is probably more painful. At least until you go numb. Right now I feel like someone dumped a bucket of hot coals on my legs."

"A bucket of what on what?!"

Later I'd discover an ugly, red and white patch of frostbite on my left knee just under where the parka hem hits. Punishment for not tending to my leggings-dominated laundry pile in a timely fashion.

But it doesn't matter, at least not until after we're inside, warm, laughing naturally, and then, not much does. We're here now.

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