[Originally published in Country Feedback Magazine, Issue #1, 2001. Copies of this magazine are no longer available.]
Josh sighed and set down the video game controller. Rogue Spear had suddenly lost its thrill. Running his long fingers through his spiked brown hair, he stood and wandered lazily across the small apartment to the kitchen for a drink. A downpour had darkened the warm Thursday afternoon, the daily storm Florida residents time their watches to. It would not last long.
He grimaced at the weather; Indiana probably had snow by now. Winter dwelled years away from him, but the memory of it lingered. The slow days of his misspent adolescence lived in Indiana, in the snowy winters and breezy springs. Idly he wondered if any of his old high school friends had graduated college yet.
A clamor yanked him from his reverie. With a great sigh, his girlfriend, Amy, slammed the door behind her and staggered into the apartment, her long black hair in disarray, her eyes red and exasperated.
"Hi honey," smiled Josh, setting his Mountain Dew on the Formica counter and leaning down to her for a kiss. She smelled of grease, sweat, and a hint of the perfume applied that morning, an aroma Josh found almost comforting in its familiarity.
She stood on her toes to bridge the nearly foot and a half gap between their heights and gave him a light peck. "Hi, sweetie. You won't believe the day I had at work. There must have been a field trip or something, because there were hoards of kids, all wanting cheeseburgers. Nothing but cheeseburgers. And then the shake machine broke down in the middle of it..."
Her rant continued with the same complaints she shared day after day. Once she let off her steam, she slumped at the kitchen table and dialed Pizza Hut. Pepperoni and olives, just like always.
"Yes, thank you," said Amy and hung up the phone, turning to face Josh. "How was your day?"
He sat, feeling uncomfortable looming over her. "Well, I was sort of wondering if you'd thought more about...about what I said." His voice faded to a mumble and he faced the table.
She rolled her eyes. "Josh, we've been over this a hundred times. I don't want to move to the Midwest. Florida is my home."
"I know it is."
"I mean, are you really that unhappy here?"
He shook his head immediately. "No, I'm with you, and that's all I want." A small smile crinkled his smooth features. She was his life. He had nothing else anymore.
A grin interrupted her face and she stood, pausing to kiss him on her way by as she left the room. "I'm going to go take a shower," she said, and disappeared into the bathroom.
Josh folded his long legs as carefully as origami, gingerly attempting to curl himself up without breaking the chair, and looked out the window. The rain had stopped, the clouds blown away. The sun glinted cheerfully off the pavement, mocking him as he tried in vain to imagine those streets blanketed in snow.