Outside it was snowing violently. It must have been ten below zero as he stood before the picture window of his cabin. Where was she now? What was she doing? Both hands were on either side of the window and his head drooped in apparent loss as he contemplated the state of his heart and his reason to sequester himself from the rest of the world. Leaving Iraq just before a full fledged war began was the hardest thing he had to do. But it was over now, President George Bush declared Kuwait free from the hands of their enemy, Iraq, a week ago. He remembered telling her off this place, his sanctuary, 'his world away from the world,' as she put it. Tears spilled from his eyes and almost froze on it's way down his face. Ethan James was a doctor who plied his trade in the poorest part of Baghdad. He was a specialist in prosthetics, especially for children in the village who had their limbs blown off by mines. He was so good at what he did, so much so that the villagers loved him like a god and going back to the U.S and to his wife of eight years had dimmed in his head a long time ago. Here, he felt the true reason for his existence, saw it in the bright eyes of the children , in the dry, creased faces of the elderly and in the benevolent smile of a young female doctor, Lila Faisal who rivalled him in his field of study. She was dutiful and resilient and dedicated to her people and had survived a gassing by the president in their village, where thousands of people died including seven members of her immediate family. After that she became an advocate of peace and escaped death three times. Covertly he would watch her as she worked and she did so without distraction and malice and he fell desperately in love with her. After two years she fell for him and it came in like a tidal wave when he performed an emergency appendectomy on a young woman. Lila assisted him and she too saw the passion he had for her people and gave in whole souled to the green eyed American with the dark brown hair and long legs. But when the war broke out in August of 1990, the U.S government evacuated most of their citizens in Iraq and Ethan's wife made sure he made it out alive. Reluctantly. he left her behind as the illicit nature of their relationship must remain quiet for it could mean Lila's death. He imagined her walking through the heavy snow with purpose with her long black hair loose and covered in white snow and dark eyes piercing all hungry to see him and full lips, rosebuds lips desperate to mesh with his. Ethan looked up and let go off the sides of the window. There was nothing but snow and more snow. His eyes became blurred by how fast it was falling and he retreated and sat down on the huge leather chair before the hearth and sipped his coffee that was sill breathing steam, it's aroma pervading the cold, wooden confines of the cabin. Leaning back, he swore he heard someone call out his name and it sounded like her, but he was in grief for a union that held no promise of a future. Ethan never equated strong feelings with happiness, but it kept his heart beating and body alive. He could feel the heat of the fire before him seeping through the thick flannel material of his shirt. He wanted her in his arms to feel her heat and to assure his heart that he wouldn't cause it any more pain but she was so faraway. Ethan fell asleep for awhile and arose from his stupor when he heard his name being called out again. He walked to the window and noticed that the snowing had stopped. The wintry scene confronting him was vast and the evening atmosphere took on a bluish hue. The lake was now visible and frozen over. Ethan recalled not long ago how he and Angie, his wife, use to go skating on it decided that he would go outside and entertain himself for a little while. He put on his hat and coat and proceeded to go outdoors, when again he heard someone calling out his name. He rushed outside, the freezing air slamming into his face. It sounded like Lila but it couldn't be, it must be the wind playing tricks on him. He sat on the porch and put on his skates and made his way clumsily to the frozen surface of the lake. He knew what section of the lake was the thickest and safest. Ethan skated away his woes until he came upon a dark mass floating under the thick ice. He fell back into the snow in shock but mustered up some courage to get up to see what was. He lay flat on his belly and crawled up to the site. Ethan had to look at the form for a few minutes for him to realize that it was Lila. His heart wanted to burst in his chest. Again he fell back and started to scream. Finally finding his footing, he got up and broke off a nearby branch and started to pound the ice but she kept moving. He kept on beating and pounding but to no avail. She had been calling out to him when she fell in, but to think that she made it out of Iraq and came all the way up here to meet him was incredible. Ethan knelt down and screamed to her but her beautiful eyes were inanimate and opened against the ice and her skin appeared blue. He knew she was dead. Why didn't she call him. She knew he would be here at this time of the year but why didn't she call?! Finally her body stopped moving around and her long, black hair splayed out gently around her and he lay over body and kissed her through the ice and gently whispered, "I still love you."