The Cold by Alice Pegler
The cold smells like damp laundry that won’t dry. A musk that floats through the air, attaching itself to the lining of your throat like lint on a carpet. My breath pushes out before me like a cloud, commanding its warm existence into the bleak, shivering room.
I used to love the cold. Knitwear, parkas and rosy tipped ears. I loved the cold when I sat by the fire. The virgin snow gently blessing the ground outside. My icicle fingers melting around a deep mug of hot chocolate. Duvet dresses, movies days and mum’s soup.
Back then, the cold was aesthetic. A simple circumstance, resulting in a brisk pace, chattering teeth and a few numb toes before you were back in the kitchen, taking off your boots. The oven like room would envelop you in a soft satin embrace.
Now the cold is a selfish sister that tries to steal the sheets. She emerges from the deep ocean, pale and frozen, wrapping her rope like tentacles around my muscles, slowly constricting.
My limbs become stiff. I guzzle orange juice and multivitamins. I almost cry getting out of the shower. I listen to the silence of my boiler sleeping and the radiators sitting idle. I call my landlord again; the number is engaged. I laugh as I wear gloves to bed. I look up electric heaters online, their little white gate mouths whisper to me. I realise how much it would run up my electric bill. I decide where I’d put it. I imagine leaving it on too long and it catches on a curtain. The room is up in flames. I soak in the heat, letting it lick over my body, incinerating the four layers I’m wearing. I smile as my flesh melts.
by Alice Pegler