Hello from the woman in the ice box. Let me chip the ice from my lips and fingertips and greet you warmly, though I have little warmth to give. I’d give anything for the light that shines when you open the door to my resting place. I’d give you my secrets.
Apologies from the woman in the ice box. It’s been so long since I’ve spoken in my own voice the slush just slid right out and all over your nice suit. Tell me, is the shop in Burlington Arcade still giving you the discount twice? Or have you found a new purveyor of solid gold novelty cufflinks?
I didn’t realize I’d be bitter. I thought I’d be desperate to please you and say what you want to hear, and eventually begin to tell the truth. But I started with truth, prettied up as it is. I didn’t expect that at all.
Let me try again.
Hello my friend. I have missed you and everything around you far more than is healthy for for me. And now I find I want to talk to you even though we both know that isn’t easy, or wise. Even though I can’t see the smirk that calms my most bitter claims, even though I can’t hear your quick retorts, I want to throw my words to where you are. So I am.
How do you stop from missing a place? A person you can remember and imagine and have imaginary conversations with, but the conversations of a place are a series of gestures and expressions not easily reproduced. I can look at a photograph or even a video of Picadilly Circus, but this won’t summon the hot wind from the underground station blowing magazine covers on the newsstand, tripping tourists as they peer up and up and forget there’s a roundabout of heavy traffic bleating to be processed. Even the memory of you catching your hat half a foot off your head and recommending The 39 Steps for the dozenth time won’t stop my stomach clenching and my heart stuttering with regret.
A person dies, and others say, Never mind. She knew how much you cared. She’s in a better place.
A place is forbidden to you, and there is nothing others can say. A place never knows or cares how you feel, and it is always where it is—unless it’s destroyed completely, so let’s not venture further in this thought. We had enough of that in 2005.
I am well, thank you for asking. I have a home to myself and a great amount of land that would be some sort of buffer if people respected this sort of thing, but they don’t. Mail is delivered right to my door despite the mailbox at the end of my driveway. This includes human-born advertisements for cookies and other goods to support the local school band. This includes requests, nay demands, for candy from tweens who have put the least amount of effort into a costume since I had to make a limousine driver from one of your suits and my Ray Bans.
Tonight is Halloween. Oh the tricks I could play. The traps and snares along the drive, and the stories I could tell, each chillier than the last until I wasn’t alone here in my box. Until every beggar in this faux-kind community was candy-coated in ice, blinking and mouthing the words and waiting for the door to open.
But not all of them would have you to hold them in the world, my friend. Not all of them would feel the icicle stab between their shoulder-blades digging deeper every year.
I'm writing NaNoWriMo this year and as I had an idea for a longer story I'm doing it a bit differently. I'm "rebelling." I've started writing early, and I'll indeed write 50k during November but I might continue writing after, too. I expect a full-length novel that my NaNo 50k is only part of. I've never rebelled quite this much before--my last rebellion was the short story collection--so I'm not sure how it will go, but it's what I'll try.
Visit my NaNoWriMo author page right here and let me know if you're playing along. Happy writing!