"It's Too Cold" by Sarah Jane Huntington
I don’t belong here, I hate this place. It’s too cold.
I can’t find my way around and some days, everything looks the same. This place frightens me. There are things I don’t recognize, belongings, and they don’t belong to me. Where are my own things?
I can’t sleep.
On the rare occasion that I do, I’m tormented by dreams of him, nightmares swirl and twist around me and I can’t catch them. In my mind he laughs, that delicious deep cackle I used to love, the one that made his blue eyes crinkle in the corners.
He used to worry about those lines deepening and his face becoming tired and old.
“You’ll still look handsome,” I’d tell him, “and it doesn’t matter to me, so don’t worry.”
It was never the right thing to say.
I’d tried only to soothe and I chose my words carefully.
Is someone else telling him those same words now? They are mine, they belong only to me.
We had a boat you know, a small yacht. I’d brought it for an extravagant honeymoon gift, a gift for him, so we could have an adventure, a real one just for us.
We took it out sailing onto the vast sea. We kept floating until no one else was in sight. Everything felt calm and tranquil. White fluffy clouds had drifted along as if they had all the time in the world. The sun shone down on me as a huge disc and I’d lay on the deck, truly at peace, such blissful, wonderful peace. That warm sun we all take for granted, we assume it’s always going to be there. I assumed anyway.
He gave me chilled champagne in a delicate glass to drink, and I’d taken a sip. I don’t remember the taste, I don’t remember the taste of anything anymore.
If I were to pinch myself, would I feel?
It’s dark here and it’s too cold.
I forget my feelings, they slip away. Little tendrils of thoughts go scattering off and leave me. My memories follow. I chase them but I can’t keep up, I’m too slow.
I can’t sleep, did I say that already?
Sometimes I find little treasures, sparkly things that might have value someday. I keep them all, but they don’t belong to me. I try to scrub them clean, but it never works, no matter how hard I wipe.
I haven’t changed my clothes in so long. How long has it been? I’ve forgotten.
I must be filthy, he never did like dirt.
Shadows pass so I try to hide. There are plenty of places to conceal yourself here.
I think of him to pass the time, and then a sense of dread overcomes me, so instead, I think of all the things I’ve seen in the world. I haven’t seen many. I want to see more, so much more. Will I see them? I long to see the moon again, the sun, and the tiny pinprick lights of stars. I yearn for my family, not him, my real family. I miss them, I think. Maybe I’ve forgotten who they even are.
I can’t sleep.
It’s so dark and it’s too cold.
That kind of cold, deep in your bones that only a hot bath can get out of you.
Maybe I’m lost. That must be it, yes I’m lost, that’s all.
Everything truly does look the same. I search, I’m always searching. I came across an old neglected rowing boat, it was just sat there in the sand, quietly forgotten and broken. I’d felt great sadness as soon as I saw it. I stayed with the boat for a while, I gave it the company it deserved and probably once had. Now it lays discarded, thrown away like an old child’s toy.
This is a lonely place to be.
One day, I’d found a body. It was a woman, a small delicate woman. Her face was bloated and blue and the fish had pecked at her just as birds do. But I’d recognized her. I knew her well.
It was me.
Left abandoned on the seafloor, weighed down and discarded, just like the rowing boat.
“I can’t swim,” I’d screamed as he’d pushed me overboard, “please, you know I can’t swim.”
There was another woman you see, one he much preferred to me, he had no need for me anymore.
I can’t sleep, so I wander among the graceful flowing seaweed tufts and shy colorful fishes. Ghosts are for haunted houses, for lonely bridges and solemn graveyards. Gothic manor houses and cold Halloween nights.
I remember some days, but the thought disappears as soon as it sparks. Perhaps that is a mercy.
Ghosts don’t belong in the sea, do they? I miss flowers in bloom, daisies, and fresh grass. Simple things, wonderful things.
I can’t sleep. I think I’m lost.
I hate this place, this tranquil surfaced sea, it’s too cold.
This story originally appeared here.