Now is the Winter of Our Discontent


by Shannon Frost Greenstein


We walk gingerly back through the swirling snow, hand in hand, the darkness of mid-winter mercilessly descending.

Your turn, he says. I told the last one, he says. There’s snow falling down my shirt…will you get it? he says.

This is a stupid game, I say, adjusting his collar as a gaggle of children run by with a sled and hope of a snow day in their eyes.

Your turn, he repeats.

I sigh.

Fine. What’s brown and sticky?

He reaches up to brush snowflakes from my eyelashes.

What?

The snow falls, the children squeal, and I smile slightly.

A stick.

He laughs, vapor spilling from his mouth, as the wind gusts mightily and a cloud covers the moon and I wonder where and when we started to go wrong.

Come on, he says. You look cold, he says. Our last night, he says.

I feel something slide across my face, an alien mask made up of parts stolen from my very own body, a look I have not yet had to wear in the ninety minutes since my divorce was finalized.

He sees it, too, but does me the kindness of looking away while I dab at my eyes and clench my jaw and rearrange my features back into a semblance of the person I was when we first fell in love, all those years ago.

I am cold, I agree, as if that is the reason for my trembling, for the ice that has pooled in my core.

He says nothing, but instead opens up his wool overcoat and beckons me toward him. I fold into the familiar shape of his body, sharing his warmth, and allow myself, just for a moment, to pretend I will still fit here in the spring.

Together, we walk the rest of the way home, to the townhouse we will no longer share come morning light and to whatever happens next after that.


 

Shannon Frost Greenstein is the author of More., a forthcoming poetry collection from Wild Pressed Books. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, a Contributing Editor for Barren Magazine, and a former Ph.D. candidate in Continental Philosophy. Follow her at shannonfrostgreenstein.com or on Twitter at @mrsgreenstein.