Angel in the SnowbyLickerishWand©
Do you hear what I hear? A voice, singing in the woods behind the cemetery. The words faint and distant on the wind like the smell of pine, the taste of cloves. It's so icy out. My teeth chatter, skin flushes, fingers in my mittens feel numb. I'm digging in the snow, looking for the song beneath the evergreen boughs.
Do you feel what I feel? A tombstone on a hill, chiselled rock, garnered in frost and snow, the script hard to see, easier felt, even with numb fingers.
In bed later, my heart settled for another year to loss. Every holiday it's harder being without you, but at least you sing sometimes, on the tapes I made, dancing on video in the snow, with your hood up and the scarf wrapped around your face. Oh what fun it was to play in the snow that fell that day.
On our backs making angels, the drifting flakes like icing on our fronts. Rolling together, the silky rasp of jacket on jacket. You pull off your mittens and put your hands inside mine. Finger to finger, palm to palm, I have to nuzzle your snowy scarf away to kiss you.
Smell the wet wool, the clean sharp snow, taste of vanilla chapstick because in the winter it's so dry. You roll over to your back, pulling me above you, I make a bridge above your body.
In the winter we dress in so many layers. I pull my hands from your mittens and touch the snow around us, cooling my fingers and then slipping my hands beneath your jacket and sweater, along your waist. You laugh and squirm away, but I've got you. I let my hands warm against your skin.
"Let's go in," you say, but I resist.
I make a bed for you of snow, two troughs for your legs and two for your arms. Then, more snow over top. I pack it down, sculpting you. It's not so cold. I make sure your head is uncovered.
I slip the elastic waist of your ski pants down so that a bare inch of jeans is exposed. Then further, I slip my mittens beneath your waist, so you're not directly on the snow. Down further, until they've bunched around your knees. You've moved and ruined my quilt of snow over top of you.
"It's going to be too cold," you say, but you're so warm.
The jeans next, down, only to the middle of your thighs. I can see goose bumps on your skin below your panties. "Please," you say. "What if someone comes out and sees us?"
I take a handful of snow, lift the waist of your panties, pretend to tuck the snow down against your warmth. A shriek, you jump to your feet, but trip as your legs are restrained by lowered jeans and ski pants. You face a freezing fall toward the snow, but I catch you, hug you tight.
"Inside," you say again. I refuse.
We find a virgin patch of snow, unmarked by footsteps. Getting into the spirit of things, you have made me a dare. I slip out of my jacket and shirt, then sitting on them, pull off my boots and socks. I worm off my jeans, ski pants, and boxers. You look on in disbelieve. I stand on my jacket. I haven't yet touched the snow. It's icy out. I can feel every stir of the air. You push me backward, two mittened hands in my chest, and over I go to make an angel in the snow.
It's achingly cold, but I pretend I can stand it. "Your turn," I say, not moving. You try to pull me to my feet, but I won't budge. Naked, parts of me going blue, I lie here in the snow.
At last, you succumb. I'm not sure if you believe me when I say it isn't really that cold, or if you see no other way of getting me to leave. I watch you strip, as I did, layer after layer, sitting on your jacket to pull off your boots and socks, your sweater, bra, then ski pants, jeans, finally, shivering, panties. My body has gone numb. I look at you and see the goose flesh mark your skin. Your face is bright red. You line up ready to fall. I count to three, and down you come screaming.
I roll to meet you and pull you atop of me. Your body bridges mine. Your lips try to talk, but I kiss them, hold them in my mouth. Your hands are on my arms, trying to push up.
"Really," you say. "It's too cold."
"Turn around," I say. "Stay on top of me and turn around. Wait." I reach out and snag my jacket, pull it up behind my head. "Put your legs on it."
You rearrange yourself over me. Now mingled with the smells of winter are your smells. The cold can be ignored for your heat.
Do you taste what I taste? Like licking a silver bell. Like working my tongue through Christmas toffee. And at the top of your Christmas tree is the angel. My cold finger touches it and you jerk back. But winter is meant to be cold.
Speaking of cold, I'm now afraid of losing some very important parts to frostbite. No matter how you toy with me, how your mouth slides over me, your tongue teases me, I'm a victim of the cold.
But you, you are like a blazing fire. Spitting and crackling, sparks leaping, I bask in your warmth. You sing softly, no carol I've heard. If it were me it would be Oh Come All Ye Faithful, but that's because I'm the immature male in this relationship.
So, because I'm so cold and you're so warm, I hurry things when I should be taking my time. I kiss your angel, write "I love you", over and over with my tongue as the pen. I hold you as your legs kick my jacket away and come in freezing contact with the snow, as you try to stand, thinking you're too cold for this, but you're not. So I hold you and pretend I'm sucking the end of a candy cane, even though no candy cane's peppermint ever flowed so sweet.
I put my mouth against you and sing "Star of wonder, star of light. Star of royal beauty bright ..." But it is all to no avail. The winter is just too cold. And my gift remains undelivered.
We dress, freezing, and go for hot chocolate. Every mouthful from my mug tastes unaccountably rich. I say that I'm sorry I wouldn't let you come in sooner. You tell me it's okay, and that you may have forgotten to put some important garment on when you redressed. You take my hand and pull it beneath the table. For a while you sip your hot chocolate calmly, nearly warmed up now, then you're face flushes. You seem to be warming up too much. You set your mug carefully on the table. You need to lean over and kiss me, but even my mouth can't keep in your sudden delight.
After the holidays, we go our separate ways. You are struck by a car driven by a man who had over-indulged and been too arrogant to get a cab. I went to the wrong hospital. You had a beautiful funeral. I wanted to wrap your coffin in snowman paper, but then, I was always the immature male in our relationship.
Now, it's that time of year again. Do you hear what I hear?