It was so terribly cold. Snow was falling and it was almost dark.
The bitterness of the cold seemed to seep through the walls of the house. It wasn’t sunset yet. It wasn’t supposed to be this dark, but the clouds bringing in the snow made it appear darker than it should be at this hour.
Mazie stood at the large picture window in the living room looking outside. The ticking of the large grandfather clock in the corner of the room was all that she could hear. No. That’s not true. She could hear that annoying drip from the kitchen faucet. She begged her wife, Wren, to fix it so many times before. Tick. Drip. Tock. Drop. Tick. Drip. Tock. Drop. It made a soothing rhythm in the darkness.
She hadn’t turned any lights on. The house was dark. But that’s fine. The darkness enveloped her in contrast to the blanket of sparkling white covering the outdoors.
The lights went on in the houses down the street. The streetlights and porch lights popped on. But Mazie stood in the dark in front of the window and waited.
The snowflakes were large and fat. They glittered against the soft light of the streetlamps and stuck to the window in their beautiful, unique crystalline shapes, their sparkling seemed to mock the darkness in and around her.
Wren should be here. She wanted Wren here with her. She missed the feeling of her warmth. The way Wren lit up a room when she smiled or her particular scent- clean and woodsy- a scent that Mazie would rather breathe in than oxygen.
Mazie wanted to turn the lights on, but couldn’t bring herself to. No, the darkness and cold and the empty- when Wren isn’t around, that’s what is suitable. That’s what she wanted. She wanted the natural light that came with Wren.
Wren was never coming back though. She left this morning. She packed her bags and left. She and Mazie had been fighting. Increasingly, these fights have been happening multiple times a day. Over stupid shit too. Mazie didn’t wipe the sink down as she rushed off late for work, leaving specks of toothpaste and flecks of eyeshadow. Wren didn’t clean up her breakfast pans. What movie to watch. What to eat for dinner. What to do on a Saturday off. Always something. And everything led to a fight.
Wren reached her limit this morning. She packed a suitcase and said she was done. Mazie could have the house. Mazie could have everything. She didn’t care anymore.
Mazie tried to call Wren throughout the day. She was sent directly to voicemail. Her texts unanswered.
The darkness enveloping her in the cold house, devoid of Wren. Devoid of light. It was appropriate.
A car came down the street, headlights blinding. It was an SUV that from a distance, could have been Wren’s car. A small flame of hope lit up in Mazie- only to be put back out as it kept going past their home.
The neighbor kids were outside now. She watched them dancing and twirling as the snow flakes fell. One of them belting out the lyrics to “Do You Want To Build a Snowman?” while their mother recorded them on her phone.
The sedan that the two teenagers living next door drove came up the street. The bass reverberated from the car and rattled her window as they pulled up. The boys leapt from the car simultaneously, each packing snow into their gloved hands using the car as a shield as they launched snowballs at each other.
Mazie’s neighborhood was coming to life in this winter wonderland. The magic of the first snowfall of the season. The joy and wonder of the impending holidays. Mazie felt none of it, but felt compelled to watch it unfold in front of her through her window.
There was a small draft in the window and she could hear the shrill whistle of the wind as the snowflakes flew sideways instead of down. Mazie noticed the chill around her intensify and felt her skin tingle as goosebumps came up. She would not relent and turn on the fireplace or the light or turn the temperature up on the thermostat.
The tightness in her chest was unrelenting. She held back her tears as Wren packed. She sat on the edge of the bed next to the suitcase as clothing and toiletries were haphazardly thrown in.
“You never show any emotion. You have nothing to say? Not even now? No feeling about this?”
“What can I say? Would my tears actually fix this? Would they make you stay? Would my tears make you happy?”
“I don’t know, Mazie. Something. Show me you care.”
Mazie simply got up and walked to the window in the living room. Where she was still standing. How many hours ticked by? It was morning time when Wren left. Just after breakfast. After Mazie nagged her about leaving her plates and pans in the sink unrinsed again- when the dishwasher was just two feet away.
Wren made her way out of the house, passing Mazie at the window. “Not that you care. But I’m done. I’m gone. I’m out. You can have it all. Everything is yours. I won’t fight it. But I can’t live like this anymore.”
Now, it was so terribly cold. Snow was falling and it was dark. And she was still there. But she was alone. Wren’s dishes and pans were still in the sink unrinsed. The situation remained unchanged since Wren left. But everything had changed.
The snow was falling harder, and it was colder inside.
Mazie felt a crack within her break. A cry escaped her lips- primal and full of angst and her knees went weak under her. She crumbled to the floor in front of the window as tears came hot, streaking down her cold cheeks.
She didn’t want this house. She didn’t want everything. It meant nothing if Wren were not there with her.
Her body wracked with her sobs. She fumbled with her phone and again pressed the icon for Wren.
She listened as the phone rang. Fear washing over her, swirling with her grief.
She waited for the voicemail to pick up, but instead it was Wren’s voice. Quiet, a soothing honey salve washing over her. “Mazie?”
“Come home. I can’t live without you. I took it all for granted. I took you for granted. And I’m sorry. I love you.”