Creative Work: ‘Cold’ by Allyson Hoffman

Cold. The title seems fitting for this Sunday morning, one of the first actual, coldish mornings of the autumn so far. Today we have Kingston Creative writing Creative Workspost grad student Allyson Hoffman sending us this bit of flash fiction that puts us squarely in the centre of a wonderfully described trip from the freezing, barren wasteland of a wintery front porch to the warm depths of an occupied bed.

 

COLD

I’m cold. I’m so cold. I’ve been running around all day, and I know by the time I get home, you’ll be snuggled up in bed, and that’s what has been keeping me going all day. I can’t wait for the moment I slip under the covers to curl up to you, my own personal heater.

All the lights are off when I pull up and I gather all of my things, ready to make the mad dash from the warm car to the house in the single degree temperatures. I almost make it, but my keys slip from my grasp and I’m already halfway up the porch by the time I realize it and have to go back. As soon as I’m inside and the door is locked, my jacket comes off, I drop everything on the dining room table, and I pad through the silent house.

The fire’s died. Which makes sense, considering it’s nearly midnight and you go to bed at nine, but I’m still always saddened by it. There’s nothing to cut the chill in my limbs as I strip out of my clothes and into sleep pants and a long sleeved tee. Then comes my favorite part, and I peel back the covers, sliding in next to you.

You shift, your breathing alters slightly, and you turn to face me, pressing your lips against mine.

“Hello, love.” Your voice, still heavy with sleep, is barely a whisper and I curl closer into you. My fingers and toes are still so cold, stinging almost, and even though I know it’s mean, I slide my hands up your shirt, resting them against your toasty warm skin. I can feel the shiver run through your body, and when I tuck my feet underneath yours, I can feel your hiss on my skin.

“You’re very mean.” And I smile, though I know you can’t see it in the dark. I press myself as tight against you as I can, my cold nose against your throat, but you don’t push me away. Instead, you wrap your arms around me, and begin to rub my feet with your own.

“But you still love me.”

“Unfortunately.”

“Jerk.” I nip at your throat in warning, though playfully and I can hear you chuckle.

“I love you. Sorry I woke you.”

“I’ll always wake up in the middle of the night for you. I love you.” I smile against your skin and close my eyes, finally able to feel my digits again. Sleep comes easily, as it always does wrapped up with you.

Anyone who has read Allyson’s work before knows that her writing is often as physical as it is brief. It gently tip-toes around a love story, only focusing on one simple and fleeting moment to give us an overall picture of the relationship, as if that’s the only moment that could possibly matter.

Now that dissertations and essays of all kinds are finally finished and our lives are back to normal, join us next week as we get back into the swing of a new term and new work from some great writers.

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