That night we drink until we forget the cold.
“I can’t feel my feet anymore,” we say while passing the water bottle full of cold, clear gin between our mittens.
“I can’t feel my nose anymore.”
“I can’t feel my face anymore.”
“I can’t feel anything anymore.”
From her front stoop the neighborhood is a vague canvas of snow and streetlight.
“You want to walk?” I stand up and dust the snow off my pants.
We drain the last of the liquor and begin crunching down the driveway. I walk slowly while she barrels ahead into the street.
In the silence of winter, her voice seems cumbersome, especially loud.
“Look how beautiful!”
I step and sink into the street, making my way over to her and following her mittened finger to a row of icicles frozen to a neighbor’s doorway.
“It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen,” she slurs, letting her head roll forward and drop to her chest.
“I guess,” I say, conscious of my buzz thinning out and the burning pain creeping up my ankles and towards my calves.
“What do you mean you guess? Do you even see it?”
Under the cloudy midnight I can’t tell what her eyes are saying.
“The icicles? Right? The icicles?
“I’ve never met such a one dimensional human,” she remarks, turning her body around and crunching down the street. I slow motion jog to catch up with her.
“Hey, where are you going?”
“To a place where—” she begins doing a teetering hoolah hoop maneuver and falls backwards on to the slushy pavement.
“To a place where,” she lurches forward and sprays the snow with clear spit up, solid gin.
“Come on, Britt. Let’s go inside.”
“I’m not going anywhere,” she speaks into her chest.
“Let’s go, buddy,” I say, pulling her up by her armpits, “Time for bed.”
For a moment she looks at me, completely clear eyed, and links her left arm through my right. “All right. Let’s go home, Leyna.”
Inside I peel her wet clothes off and find an oversized t-shirt to wrestle her into.
“What are you smiling about?”
“Oh, Lola,” she slurs, smacking me lightly on the cheek, “Lola, Lola, Lola…”
“Oh, you know exactly what I’m talking about Lola.” Her head rolls forward and stays that way. I put my hands on her cheeks and my palms become wet. I lift her eyes to mine.
“God, Bea. You’re a mess.”
“God Bea! You’re a mess!” She shouts, wearing that same giddy smile, heavy drops streaming off her chin and on to her white t-shirt. “But you’re not a mess, are you Lola?”
I walk over to the lamp, an old fashioned Tiffany with a glass shade. I pull the chain and orange streetlight floods the carpet. I settle on to the couch.
“I’m sorry Leah,” says a sleepy voice in the dark, “I love you Leah.”