#6 Cold Snap

by Darrelyn Saloom

You stood on the front porch of your farmhouse with your seven-year-old twin boys and told me cold snaps were rare in south Louisiana. By the next week, temperatures had dropped and you spent a day wrapping pipes and blanketing your mares in foal.

“This has only happened once since my wife died,” you said. “The bad weather must’ve followed you here from Chicago.”

I blew a foggy trail with my breath and said, “Guess you can’t run away from the cold.”

You laughed and forked hay bales.

Dark arrived early and you tucked in your sons.

You scooted next to me on the couch and pushed your hands under my thighs to warm up. You kissed me with bourbon breath and said, “I need a wife, the boys need a mother, and you need a home.”

“What you need is a shave,” I said.

Later, you slipped from bed and stepped outside to turn on the sprinklers. You aimed them at a pile of fence boards and scrub brush under the live oak near the barn.

After breakfast you bundled your sons in jackets, gloves, and knit caps. With only bright faces exposed, the boys tramped to the barn. Indulging in a winter wonderland, they played most of the day and envisioned new worlds in what they called, “the ice castle.”

That night, thawed and hungry for love, you proposed marriage.
“No,” I said. “The road is my home.”
“Stay,” you said. “Stop running from the cold.”

11 comments:

Jodi Paloni said...

Love this piece. The prose is both crisp and sensuous and the stretch of time and tenderness is rendered in spare words. I feel it, too, the cold and the need to keep moving.

Cyd Madsen said...

It's been a long time since I've read so much in so few words. This snaps like ice, but contains so much warmth in the hope of what's to come for this woman. For this man. For the Louisiana hot sauce waiting to melt when and if the thaw comes.

Jenny Fickey said...

I love this piece, too. I feel the father's desperation, the woman's cherished freedom and the twins innocent glee.

Flutterby said...

Lots of story in what you left unsaid!

DP said...

This was beautiful

Dave said...

Outstanding. Breathtaking.

Jonathan Riley said...

Lots of emotion in this one. Crisp prose to mirror they icy tone. Nicely done.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful. I love the independence of the woman.

Carolyn said...

Beautiful

Richard Gilbert said...

Astonishing how much is here. Love the second-person address too.

Anonymous said...

Lovely.