Title: Ice and Fire
Sam is out this morning. Not sure where.
I’m supposed to keep an eye out for anything weird.
I’m busy working at home. In the apartment. I never know if I make myself as clear as I think I do.
Not like I can do much outside anymore.
I’m thirsty. I can’t turn the thermostat any lower or else we pay extra. A fan sits still in the living room. I can’t find the right batteries for it. The sink water is gross, too. I keep some in the fridge, and that only helps a little with the plastic taste.
I pour a glass and look for ice in the freezer.
Sam doesn’t think ice could melt from in here. There’s enough ice that I can’t see the frozen food tucked in the back. If even some of this ice melts, water would end up everywhere.
I drop a few cubes into my cup. The water rises.
Sam keeps mentioning the water in our apartment. I wish he would let this go. If he’s upset because I left to go get takeout, this is too long to hold a grudge over food. And his food was gross. And that’s not why I got the takeout.
Sam comes to the kitchen a lot. We don’t talk here. We make food. At least that pact doesn’t extend to the couch. I don’t ask for anything else. But even when he’s not here, he’s here.
I make eggs for breakfast, with a crack on the flat counter and a flat pull. The whites of the egg connect the otherwise jagged shell. Food’s here. I make the food here. I do this. Sam would do this. The smell would pull me out of bed with a flop on my face. I would hear the pan.
Instead, breakfast is one quiet plate and some salt and a glass of water.
Or not so quiet. The ice rumbles in the freezer. Not just falls. I can hear all the ice.
A crunching rhythm. One to another. Footsteps. Where?
I yank open the freezer and gaze at stagnant ice.
More footsteps. Ice underfoot. Where is the sound? Outside?
I open the door and check the hallway. I see nothing. Nothing can get in. everything is fine.
I turn back into the room.
Sam is at the stove. He jostles some bacon in a frying pan. His neon-blue athletic shirt gets all my attention. I get none of his. He scratches his chin when I say hello.
I snatch my plate of eggs and end up at the table. Far enough for now.
Sam brings up the water in the apartment. Ice cube.
I wish he would let this go. I ask him how he feels.
“Better. Guess I heal fast.”
I’m not sure he noticed the first aid from last night. And his concussion a few days ago.
I check my phone. Three voicemails, asking where I am from the bridge. A crumb from the pan drops into the fire.