I Never Breathe In Winter

My lungs have not expanded in an age.
The first leaf–barely brittle, a baby really–fell (even before we were abandoned by the sun and our warmer nature) and the inhalation began. I withdrew; spread out and all at once.
“So I’ll water the plants then?” George asked in his pretentious not-really-asking-but-making-an-obvious-statement fashion.
I let the curtain fall back and shrugged my answer. “It’s up to you.”
They died anyway. I knew they would.
He didn’t. He breathes all the time.
My breath tightened with the inhalation, the uptake, but it held. Blue-white flecks of powdery snow clung to my lashes like frozen leeches, determined to steal what I have left.
I peered past them, searching vainly for sun.
The chill is deadening, freezing my hollow chest.
It is Winter and I am graveyard cold all the time.
It becomes too much–everything is too much.
George doesn’t make eye contact, but I can’t think about that. I only have eyes for the sky.
We are breaking in the bitter cold, the pieces of us deadening and falling away.
And then Spring. The ascent is fast and deafening, upon us without giving us the chance to catch our bearings.
I gasp as I take it in.
My lungs expand, clear of the presence of dead things–only for an age, but it seems as if it will be enough.
We traverse the garden together, picking through all the little broken things. Finding the tiny nubs, the green where we can make something grow. Winter is at our backs and low in the distance. Too far for our minds to reach.
We celebrate the occasion, promise to stay this way, just like this, perfect like this for forever.
We won’t.
Winter comes again.

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