fragments of chapters
When the holidays began to feel like prison sentences, I began to feel like my insides were freezing over. One year and then another. That November, when the Midwestern ice sheets began to layer quickly, one on top of another, I could sense it in my fingers. I could also sense that it was the year that I would decide to never have another cup of lukewarm tea in the farmer’s house.
My father- in- law was a quiet and cranky man. A man whose livelihood defined his entire being. Had he planned life more carefully, he would have chosen a small, self-constructed cabin in the seclusion of the north country. However, he found himself more southly in the middle of cow pastures, waking at 4:30am each day to be an udder-wrangler. It’s not that he was looking for anything glamorous, that fictional cabin would not have even possessed running water. Yet, he did find something sad and lowly about being a dairy farmer. It was this dusty cloud of unhappiness that rolled into the forefront of his mind each morning at the buzz of 4:30. The side effects of this cloud are what brought me yearly to his weary, white farmhouse.
That year, I spent Thanksgiving with a bottle of Jameson and a pack of specialty cigarettes. I suppose it was not the most delicate of ways to spend such a lovely sort of holiday. Though my glossy lips and meticulously powdered face suggested otherwise, I was not feeling lovely. I told each circle of family and friends separate stories as to avoid any scrutiny. And when it was all said and done, I was alone with some Jameson and my cat. Feeling thankful, at least, that I did not have to be the main float in their parades this year. I knew Christmas would be a different story, but I reveled in the temporary solitude.
It was nothing new. The snow fell down, inch after inch and he said nothing. Nothing at all. It really was nothing new. He always had the hood of his sweatshirt pulled closely around his face and it was always snowing.
It started as a fine mist, just dusting the top our tent, but now the trees around us were thickly coated with about four inches of white death. I had been watching in silence for hours. I felt as though I was slowly freezing, losing all interest in everything. I closed my eyes and let the dark of my eyelids consume me. It felt nice to see black after all that blazing white. My eyelids blinked as though they were 50 lbs each and I could no longer stay awake. By time he was standing over me, I was already asleep. It was a cold and lonely honeymoon.