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by Madeline Anthes

On the day it snowed you showed up at my door. I knew you would. I had been waiting with my scarf wrapped tight, my big winter hat already secure over my ears. Without a word, you took my gloveless hand and we stepped outside.

***

We didn’t know how to find comfort outside of each other, so when it ended we fed each other’s misery. You told me how often you thought about me. I told you how it hurt to hear our songs. We told each other how we couldn’t sleep; we were restless, needy. I wondered if I’d ever sleep soundly again.

***

We stood in the swirling snowfall. You released my hand and spread yourself down into the snow, stretched out on your back. Like a child you moved your arms up and down; a hollowed out angel at my feet.

***

I could have told my friends. Or my mother. But no one would understand it like you. No one would know the specific flavor of our pain. They would tell me they knew what it was like. But they’d never had their heart broken by you, so they didn’t really know at all.

***

I wanted to join you. Make an angel in the soft snow, admire what we’d done. Create something we could be proud of for at least a few minutes before the snow filled up the spaces where our bodies had been.

***

But I knew if I joined you, the snow would sink through my clothes, chilling my bones and making me shiver. It would take me too long to warm up from a cold that deep.

In my fingertips I could feel where you’d been holding my hand. I couldn’t forget that you’d let go.


Madeline Anthes is the acquisitions editor for Hypertrophic Literary. Her writing can be found in journals like WhiskeyPaper, Lost Balloon, Cease, Cows, and Third Point Press. You can find her on Twitter at @maddieanthes, and find more of her work at madelineanthes.com.

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