Today's contributors are: Ann, Sara, Tabitha, Frank, Billy and Scott.
Subject: The Bitter End
The holidays have come and gone too fast and it’s back to the daily grind for most of us. Holiday decorations have started to come down, and even the leftovers have been eaten or disposed of. Soon discarded Christmas trees will start to line the curbs having outlived their usefulness. The weather has dropped to sub-zero temperatures so that cheeks are turning rosy and noses feel like they’re going to succumb to frostbite. Everyone is bundled up and rushing about from place to place even faster than usual, desperate to get out of the cold. It’s almost as if all the love and warmth of Christmas has been sucked out of the city to leave us with a cold dispassionate wasteland.
I exit the subway, taking the exit that’s farther away because it’s closer to my destination and allows me to stay out of the cold for an extra 50 feet. Everyone is bundled up in hats and scarves and gloves, and the few that aren’t look miserable. Every drop of moisture is quick to freeze; globules of spit have frozen to the sidewalk and coffee quickly cools off between the coffee shop and the office. Even though it's technically been winter for a couple of weeks, this is the first time you walk outside and think to yourself 'I want to just stay in and hide under my blankets all day'. The calendar has turned to 2008, and it's tempting to think of the future, of spring, baseball, barbecues, and the beach but there is still two or three long cold months to dredge through. There are snowstorms, ice pockets, slushy street corners that you have to leap over, cleaning off and warming up your car in the morning if you have one and always wondering if the jacket, hat, and gloves you brought with you are warm enough. Snowstorms can be beautiful, and plenty of people prefer the cold snaps of January to the heat waves of July, but when you're shivering while standing around waiting for a subway or a bus or a taxi, you're rarely thinking of how beautiful the snow looks against the backdrop of the Empire State Building.
The best part of the day is upon me, as I can return to my apartment until tomorrow, safely out of the elements and surrounded by my loving friends. The apartment is full of energy and warmth, and it's easy to forget it's below zero outside when you're joking around watching family guy reruns or playing Apples to Apples, a game Tabitha got for christmas. I unlock the door and go in.
“Hey Ann! We're going to watch Evan Almighty. You in?”
“Sure, I love Steve Carell.”
“I've got a pot of hot chocolate on the stove. You want some?”
“Wow, I can't think of anything I want more. I brought marshmallows and whipped cream.” Ann says, holding up the bag from the store.
“Add a splash of Rumplemintz in there, nothing like warm peppermint to soothe your soul.”
“And your liver!”
“I hate to admit he's right, but it does taste good this way.” Sara says, indicating the mug of hot chocolate she's drinking.
“Bring those marshmallows over here!”