Freezing

He can’t believe she’s left him. He feels the cold seeping into him. He puts his hands under his armpits for warmth. His heart is racing, his breath short as though he were running. Is he running after shadows? She’s gone, or so says the note she’s left with her keys. She accuses him of being cold-hearted. “Your coldness is driving me away. No cuddles, no sex, no love in your eyes. Where is the warm-hearted, warm-blooded stallion I married?”  The note is stern, pitiless, except for the small heart by her signature. His heart aches. He shudders from head to toe – rocked to the foundation of his being, his own personal earthquake. He cannot come to terms with this sudden catastrophe. He sees his reflection in the large antique mirror they bought together. He looks like a snowman; he is white as a ghost. He understands the expression now. He feels like all the blood has drained out of him; no wonder he’s cold. Annoyingly, he needs to pee. It doesn’t seem to fit the solemnity of the moment, this everyday need coming to the forefront.

He heads to the washroom, his legs vaguely obeying. Really, he couldn’t care less. His legs feel waterlogged. Have his tears migrated to his bladder, his legs? Is this what despair feels like? He can’t make sense of anything. Peeing offers some relief but does not snap him back to his senses. At least his heart is no longer racing, his fingers no longer cold. His hands hang limply by his side, he doesn’t know what to do with them. But, oh my, there she is in the doorway, smiling sweetly at him. He stumbles in her direction, tearing his clothes off. His body is burning. With passion? There she is, the love of his life! She vanishes. He feels the cold crystallizing in him. He opens a door – the closet? He is tired, so tired. He sits on the floor, the towels tumbling over him. He creates a nest for himself before losing consciousness in a puddle of his own urine.

 

* * *

A flash. Voices. “Call the coroner, will you? And cordon off the area. This is weird. You saw the note on the table in the entrance? Find the woman! That is the key to most crimes. And find the concierge. He may know who the next of kin is. We will treat this as a homicide.” The coroner comes. He is a somber man, not a bon vivant as depicted on tv. Those tv guys got it all wrong. Hartmann is business-like, does not waste his saliva on niceties. The body is transported to the morgue. The post-mortem report is unhelpful. The man died of hypothermia, in the middle of summer in New York. His vital organs were frozen solid. His heart a solid block of ice. The man literally froze to death. “I guess she was right. His coldness drove her away and killed him too.”

 

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