Broken Heater

The heat wasn't working in my apartment today

Which normally would be just fine

Because see I like it a little cold

A little cold is just fine you see

But it wasn't just a little cold

No it was more than just a little cold

The cold was everything

The cold was bigger than even me

From the numbness in my toes

To the pain like ants crawling up from my fingertips

And they never mention how your ears might hurt

How when your ears go numb

and the cold leaves them redder than blood

that they start to scream

pain like sewing needles

sneaking their way across your skull

Can't you hear them now?

The temperature is dropping

it was 5º Fahrenheit here last night

Possibly even -15º from a different point of view

And I sat in my bed

4 blankets on top

Wrapped in the warmth of my own persistence

Or resistance perhaps

Telling myself to man-up

Reminding me of my father

And how we haven’t really talked in years

And how I don’t really mind the cold too much

And how loneliness is a different kind of cold

But there is a man here now

Fixing the furnace

He isn’t my father

Or a man that I loved once

Or even a man I may someday love

Though he could be a father

Though I know he has loved

And though I am sure he has been loved again and again

But he is just a man

Perhaps the same age as my father

I wonder if he had children

Or if they call him

Remembering his scraggly beard

The lumbering way he walks

As if all the world need reminding

That he is still here

And they haven’t got him yet.


But here I sit


Wearing the same shirt and sweatpants I wore to bed

Wearing the same blanket-coat I wore to bed

Wearing the same depression, I wear to bed each night

Except this time, I’m not the only one who is cold

This time the cold isn’t just in my thoughts

Or in my heart

Or in the empty side of my bed

It is all around me

In every corner of this apartment

And as the man mumbles from heater to heater

Swearing to himself that it should be working by now

I can’t help but feel that I am failing

Because I am doing nothing to help

Except writing that is

Not that I expect it to help anyone but me

But is writing really something

If you feel like nothing while you write?

And if writing makes you feel like something,

Then is there ever a bad time to write?

I have so many questions

And very few of them are about the heat in this apartment

So I will just keep writing

Til I am no longer a broken heater

Til the blood has returned to my toes

Til the tear drops have dried from all the places I used to love

And til I finally learn to stop liking the cold.

At least just a little.


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