Cold. I remember cold. Maybe because I worked in the heat, played in the heat, maybe because summer was the time of being outside, swimming, doing things, I don’t remember heat, or being too hot. Cold, yeah, cold, I do remember cold. Not just the absence of heat, but the total lack of comforting warmth. The air was cold, the floor was cold, the food was cold, the surface of my skin was cold, the walk to school was cold, the sun was cold, and life was cold.
It’s too late now, to look back, like being in a car and wanting to see where you left an hour after departure. It’s gone. There’s nothing left of it at all. It never existed except in my mind.
Someone told me, who I can’t remember, when is a mystery, and why, yeah, I get why, but they said every time you think back, open a memory, that memory is changed, polluted, obscured, and scarred by your mental touch. Who you were when that memory formed is different now. Now you are not the person who stored that memory so when you feel it, you’re going to add, or subtract, make stronger or weaker that memory, and in all of this, the memory’s original form is lost forever.
“I want to talk,” she said, and of people, this was the one person I most wanted. She and I had dated, broken up, dated, and finally it was final.
We walked across the parking lot of the high school, she stuck her hand in my jacket pocket, her fingers cold, mine colder, we intwined our fingers, tightly, hanging on to the only thing left between us, the tightness too much but that was all we had. The wind blew hard into our faces, and I had no idea where we might be going, just walking.
“I’m pregnant,” she said and I felt cold.
I swallowed hard, tried to do math in my head, tried to think of something to say, found nothing, wanted a drink.
“It’s not yours,” she said, and her voice broke.
She turned around, walked back towards the school, and I waked on, into the cold, and now, at this moment, I can see the image in my head of the paved parking lot, the basketball goals, the field beyond the parking lot, the dead grass, the tree line, and I wonder how much of what I remember was ever real, perhaps little of it, except for the cold.