New York City Twelve Degrees



I spend the days sleeping as I can. I have a sign out but really I hope just to be left alone, because I can’t survive the nights by sleeping. So the day is for sleeping. Because I am exhausted. And the day is relatively warm.


At night, I have identified a few places I can go, but only for about an hour. After that, nobody wants to see me. I am not useful. So at night I am moving.

I’m awake, so it’s no trouble. I just transfer. The challenge hits around 2:30.


The rap on this city is that it never sleeps. But it does. Shit sleeps the fuck out of this city. Especially when it’s cold. At 2:30, 3:00, 4:00… it’s as cold as space. So movement is key. Even without wind, the cold is working through muscle, to bone. Walking won’t burn enough calories to fuel the furnace. I alternate between underbite and overbite, blowing hot air up and then down to keep my lips from freezing out. I’m a fucking dragon of hot, wet, air.


Problem is, and I know this from a previous life, water transmits heat faster. A lot faster than dry. So the condensation from my breath kind of makes me need more of it. My lips get warm, but then instantly bleed cold. I’m a huffing, shuffling breath of hot/cold. But I have a secret weapon.


I have five dollar gloves from Old Navy. I don’t remember where I got them, but they are fleecy and cut out the chill even if my hands aren’t really warm. I hold them up to my face and breathe the hot air into them, and it lingers. My lips stay warm that much longer. I start to jog. I start to run.


My increased chemistry burns and my breath is hotter. I don’t really warm up in my legs but for a while the center is a fiery mass and my breath warms the gloves. My lips, even my nose can cash in. I take a moment to pause and enjoy this single moment of hearth.


That’s when everything changes. I blame myself, because I am too busy with my fucking hearth of warmy goodness and I don’t see him coming, don’t see that I’d best run past like a steam engine on rails of predestination. Conversation ensues, one sided, and pacing along my path. Get away, get away, I have problems of my own. Fuck off.


And pretend offense is taken, retribution demanded. I try to get by, try to move on, try to do everything right, but the inequality is there. His hands are bare, so cold, so blue. He wants my gloves. He wants my coat.


About ernestwhile

I live in New York City. I built a world of Lego bricks, colorful and simple and foreign. I've been picking it apart ever since.
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1 Response to New York City Twelve Degrees

  1. Marian Green says:

    I love the power and rhythm of the last two sentences.

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