My warmth was nothing against his ice

Stranger’s eyes have a way of feeling especially hard when they slide over you.

His were icier than most.

Under his eyes was a goatee. Brown sandpaper, glued uncaringly to the sides and chin of his papery face. There was still sticky residue leading up to his sideburns, before burrowing like a frightened animal into his thinning hair.

His upper lip stuck out under his nose, thin and watery. His skin looked like flour about to sluff off. Stretched to doughy strings, his jaw dripped down over his neck, hanging in sacks and folds. They never moved. I supposed they were frozen from the cold.

The outside was wintry, frigid. But the icy wind and snow had nothing on his eyes. A pink meat color throbbed in his veins, tracing and winding through the whites of his eyes. I wondered how he could stand it, the cold inside his eyes. It made me feel small and raw.

I stared at him for a while.  I looked at his coat, which looked like it was hanging off of each individual vertebrae on his spine, a poor imitation of  a coat-rack. I looked at his hands, which looked as if they were flour stuck on the same glue he used on his goatee. I had a sudden strange thought that he looked like a doll, a doll left too long in the ice and was faded from weak wintry sunlight.

Suddenly his eyes were on mine. I wasn’t entirely sure if he’d just looked up, or if we’d been locked in eye contact for  a while now. Time seemed to have slipped away as I was staring at the icy man. I looked down, embarrassed, at my warm gloves encasing my warm hands one the ends of my well-fed arms inside of my warm winter coat. I suddenly wanted to throw all of my good fortune at the man and run into the snowbanks, unencumbered by my nice warm house and things while he had nothing.

I kept staring at my gloves for the rest of the time I was one the bus. I got off at my stop and clomped off in my warm shoes, as the bus drove away, taking the wintry man with it.


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