It was snowing the last time she’d seen Adrian. She remembered racing him down a street underneath an orange-hued streetlamp, flakes scurrying this way and that from their path, until they were breathless; he pulled her down into a pile of fluff which billowed up in clouds around them. He held her close, finding it difficult under all their layers of winter gear, but managing. He could feel her furry parka hood on his cheek as he whispered in her ear that he loved her. That he would love her until Floridians started wintering in Minnesota – an inside joke. She started to cry then; he couldn’t see her tears, but he could feel her body shudder. He kissed her eyelids, tasting salt, his breath warm on her face.
She stood up awkwardly, brushed herself off, and turned toward him. “You’re going to miss the bus,” she said, looking at her boots. He got up and walked over to grab her mittened hand; they walked in silence along Superior, the festive downtown Christmas lights mocking her. She would go back to her family and celebrate Christmas with them, but he had become home for her. Watching him ascend the stairs of a Minneapolis-bound Greyhound that night, she felt her blood crystallize. She didn’t think she would ever see him again.
Now she stared out of her front door window, waiting for his car to pull up, feeling lead balls of weight rolling around in her belly. It had been fifteen years; he’d come home unexpectedly and had looked her up in the phone book, curious to see if she was listed. Wondering at the fact that phone books were still being delivered at all. They made plans to meet for coffee, but when her car stalled that morning, she called to ask for a ride.
His rental car pulled up in front of her house – the only car on the street. Most folks weren’t out now; the roads were bad, and they were experiencing a cold snap. Taking a deep breath, she opened the door, locked it behind her, and strode quickly through the cold, whipping wind to his car.
With the exception of grey streaks in his hair and a few smile wrinkles, he looked the same. They both said hello and leaned in for an awkward hug. She caught a waft of aqua cologne on his neck – the same cologne he had worn when they were in grad school together – and she was transported to his bed, tangled in his sheets, their limbs indistinguishable, pressed against his body which always emitted heat even when the windows were covered in frost. She could still feel his hands cupping her breasts, his mouth on her thighs, his weight pressing her against the mattress as his body encompassed hers. They had spent an entire winter hibernating together. Her labia felt a flood of warmth; she was surprised how quickly a simple scent could have such a strong impact on her body.
“You haven’t changed,” he said to her. “You were always the most beautiful girl in our classes.” Her cheeks grew rosy; she searched his eyes. “And you don’t look a day over forty,” she said, smiling. Luckily, he laughed. “How are you?” she asked. “I’m… coping,” he answered, slowly. She put her hand over his and said she was sorry to hear about his father. That she had adored him. “Your hands are freezing!” he exclaimed, grabbing her hand in both of his and bringing it up to his mouth to breathe steam onto it – an old habit. “You’re still a radiator,” she said, her heart thudding in her chest. “And you still burn bright, even on the coldest days.”
He kissed her then, his lips searing hers, finding that she still tasted like cinnamon. “I’m sorry,” he said, pulling back. “I don’t kn-…” She interrupted him by sliding her hands from his neck up into his black hair and kissing him back, yearning to kiss the rest of his body, which shook slightly. “They say it’s too dangerous to drive today,” she said, catching her breath. “Everything will be ice by tonight; it’s frostbite weather. Come inside,” she implored. “I have coffee here.”
“I don’t need coffee to stay warm,” he replied, “but nothing sounds better to me than coming inside.”