Wrong Places

My car killed the ignition after I already had two feet out the door and one hand, with accompanying armpit, bundled up with merchandise.  The snow seeped up and over my sneakers, and the snow chilled my ankles as it soaked into my low-cut socks.  I’d already had to deal with the cold for two weeks straight, and my solution was to ignore it.  Wearing extra layers was for suckers, I’d say.  So I tip-toed from the car parked on the adjacent side of the street to the lawn of my good friend’s house.  The house itself stood brown and old-looking, which seemed cool and inviting in the heat of summertime, but that day only served to make the air a degree or two colder.  A great green lived underneath a sheet of white and yellow checkerboard.  A sidewalk would have been paved had there been one, but the city deemed it unnecessary when the houses in the division had garages that could hold three cars and some kid’s three-thousand dollar ATV.  I avoided the yellow and tried to make my way up the driveway, slipping once and catching myself and my merchandise by grabbing the freezing basketball hoop.  The actions were quick and spontaneous and I had no problem reacting to them within a lone second, but I’m sure those here would have fallen on their tailbones as soon as the car door opened.

As expected, the only response the doorbell provoked was that of a yapping little pug, who ran up to the slender windows on each side of the door and threatened attack.  They weren’t home.

The sun would be setting over the horizon soon, which wouldn’t be visible but would change the neutral gray to a haunting blackness.  Knowing I had a date to attend in the next fifteen minutes (a little get-together at the Barnes & Noble), I scrambled to find a way to lay down my merchandise without it becoming wet and unusable.  My free, right hand first went down to wipe away at the snow on top of the doormat (the one at the outdoor mall that went on to kill all the indoor ones), but I lacked gloves, and all the cold moved to my palm just made things more complicated.  While balancing my product with my left hand, I took a step down and off to the right of the tiny front patio (where someone would get coffee and I would say “no, I’m good” and explain how not-great coffee is and would be asked why I’m wearing shorts and I would say “because” and explain how not-great jeans are) to grab a nasty, rotted piece of firewood.  I rolled the log back and forth in front of the door, attempting to shake off snow but only adding to it dry black specks and the corpses of bugs.  My mind collapsed in on itself until my best idea was to give up, and I set the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (we would walk through the movie section and talk about the movies we loved, think about buying some, then look at the prices and laugh) on the grimy layer of black wood I pretended would cover the snow and make the console “safe.”

So on the way back to the car, I looked back over to my left and saw this empty, frost-covered home with a SNES sitting on its front step, completely alone with the natural climate.  After ninety seconds of driving, I started to laugh to myself over the mental image.  The small, gray device would blend in perfectly with the surrounding weather, and I hoped my good friend would notice it before throwing himself under the cowboy sheets on his futon mattress.  My intentions were good, but my mind kept drawing blanks, so I really hoped he would see it as silly as I did and I wouldn’t be receiving an angry text later in the evening (when, during our walk down the Sex & Romance aisle, she would stop to take a phone call from her mother and hurriedly and sadly tell me she’d need to leave early.)


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