They’ll freeze if you leave them there

I felt tempted to go outside and allow my body to become enveloped by the snow. The way it fell from the sky looked so elegant, so placid, and I wanted to simply become a part of its divinity. I wanted to become a part of its subtle beauty and leave the uncomfortable quietness that flooded the room.

All I could hear was Luca’s breath—a forced, monotonous repetition of inhalation. I looked over at him, inquiring into his quietness.

“Ah, wouldn’t it be nice to take a step outside?” I asked.

He scrunched his face and immediately shook his head, obviously opposed to the offered opportunity. “It’s too cold.”

I knew he was right, yet I pushed further, attempting to defy the laws of nature to satisfy my disappointment. “Oh, stop it,” I said. “Let’s go anyway, come on.”

“Sandra, we have guests over. We can’t just leave,” he said, finally looking up at me. However, he didn’t even give half of a smile, which is when I knew to stop.

His listless dismissal saddened me. Its opposition to his usually bright self emphasized the change that occurred from four years ago, and for a moment, I questioned whether his grief was contagious because when I looked over, a smile no longer crept along my face.

I suppose he was right. Outside among the delicate snow may be cold, yet inside our home was no better. Despite the ventilating warmth from the heater, I felt inclined to shiver. The room radiated with artificial heat, but everything felt frigid nonetheless—a bitter climate that chilled my bones.

The room radiated with artificial heat, but everything felt frigid nonetheless—a bitter climate that chilled my bones.”

“Let’s go back to them then, yes?” I asked, giving in to his common sense.

He responded nonverbally by standing up, and together we left the meager hallway, heading back towards the living room. I listened intently for the subtle chatter that once flowed from the room and down into the hallway, but nothing came to my ears. Immediately at the sight of us, Sandra rose to her feet and helped me get Luca to the couch.

I looked around, surprised at the sight of an almost barren living room composed of only Sandra.

“Everyone decided it was a good idea to leave, but I’m sure most will come back to visit,” she reassured. “I just stayed to tell you two and to give you this.” In her hands was a bouquet of yellow flowers. Marigolds, I believed.

I stood in awe at the beautiful simplicity of the cluster of flowers in her hands. “Thank you, Sandra.”

“They’re just a little gift. They reminded me of you,” she said. “Okay, I’ll see you two later.” And silently, Luca and I watched her leave.

I placed the bouquet in a vase near the window, staring at it and the continued snowfall.

“They’ll freeze if you leave them there,” Luca’s voice piped from the couch. “Come, bring them towards me. I will find a warmer place.”

I stared at the flowers and sighed. They looked so pretty by the window.

I almost left them there to freeze in the wintry edge of the window sill. I almost left them there to be covered in a frigid frost.

But I picked up the vase, defeated by the bitterness.

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