Winter, take note: we are officially at war. This morning, you coated every surface of my bicycle (rims, spokes, chainwheel and all) with a quarter inch of ice while I, ignorant of your devious act, sat hunched over a desk in a windowless classroom, scribbling away at a practice GRE until my brain turned to soup and my fingers burned. Exam finished, I gathered pencils, erasers, jacket, and backpack, all spread out in a puddle across two desks and spilling onto the floor. I clambered down two flights of stairs to find your masterpiece awaiting me outside the doors: trees, railings, lampposts, roads and my bicycle frozen in glistening horror. You must have sneered as I tried to walk alongside my bike, slipping twice as often with twice as many limbs to manage. Getting steamed, I realized that riding my icicle bicycle was the only way I would successfully traverse this Antarctic wasteland. The pedals resisted the urging of my feet until shards of ice shattered off the cranks. My fingers, gripping frozen handlebars, turned cold, then hot, then numb as I pedaled faster and faster, skidding on the turns, being slapped senseless by the wind. At last, I hauled my frozen carcass and bicycle into the apartment building, slamming the door to shut you out. This morning’s torment was apparently not enough; in an attempt to incite me further, you now plunk snow on my sidewalk by the foot. I’m smirking at the window, sipping a pina colada in my bikini with the heat on full blast.
She keeps the caged canaries hanging from the breakfast room windows like she keeps the bronze picture frames on the counter or the unlit candles left by the table.
On Wednesdays they are all to be dusted and cleaned spaces refilled and yet always empty. She wants them to seem like someone had lived there still so that the traces of vacancy can be washed off dissolved like unwanted mounds of snow melting slowly in the rain.
On Thursdays I clean their cages for her. I let their tiny songs fill up the room like sunlight through a dusty window filtering in through the winter.