I swear the snow is sitting inside my bones. It had to be the day of a huge snowstorm when Nacho decided to break down. I stroke the dash comfortingly, hoping Nacho knows I don't blame him. Although I'm still a few miles from home.
I have a blanket in the backseat, and I have my hat, gloves and coat, but the wind sneaks in and I can see my breath in the air. I texted my parents and they know, but my dad said the roads were too bad for him to come and get me.
I sigh. I'm going to die. In my car. In the middle of a snowstorm. This was not how I expected to go. I imagined a glorious death while saving the innocent, standing up to tyranny, or at least from a Caribbean scuba dive gone wrong. Being eaten by a shark is preferable than being frozen to death.
The night is dark, the snow thick, and I can't see a headlight in sight. By the time someone comes to plow the roads, I would be a frozen teenage popsicle. I snuggle in and look at my phone. Ten percent battery, and I can't charge it because Nacho's battery is dead too.
Ah hell. I dial the number. "Hello?" I hear on the other line. Plates clicking together, the sound of adult voices, and a dog's nails scraping on the hard floor make background noise.
"Hey. Guess who's abandoned on the side of the road? Me."
A commotion on the end of the line. I suspect the phone was dropped. "Are you serious? Oh shit are you okay?"
"Serious. I'm fine. Settling in to await my wintery death."
"Where are you?"
"Maine, not far from the park."
"That's not far from here. Want me to come get you?"
"I know. You don't have to. My nihilism is keeping me warm."
"Bullshit. I'm coming to get you."
"Battery is almost dead. FYI."
"Got it. Cya in a few."
He hangs up on me. I huff, just to watch the cloud emerge in front of my face. I sit and wait, humming "Hey Jude" by The Beatles over and over until I get sick of it. I start belting out "We Didn't Start The Fire" because I really wished someone had started a fire.
Half an hour later, I see headlights. I laugh in triumph; he made it! But the headlights keep going, not slowing down, and pass me. Fear runs down my spine. What happened? Is he okay? He can't be far. I grab Nacho's keys, pat the dash again, and open the door. A strong gust of freezing wind blow against my face, instantly chilling me.
Now I have purpose; I'm a search and rescue Saint Bernard. I'm a helicopter. I'm a beacon of fire for cold and lost travelers. I'm on a mission.
I set off, walking in the middle of the road, because he'd be more likely to see me. Every step is a challenge. The snow is at least a foot high. How crazy was he, thinking he could come get me in this? I prayed he had the pickup.
My feet were frozen after five minutes. My legs were numb by ten. I could still see Nacho if I squinted. No other car was in sight. I kept trudging, saying to myself over and over, "Find him."
Twenty minutes arrives. I know because my Fitbit is still working. I would not be able to tell if I had legs if I hadn't been able to see them. My arms were no longer functioning. The wind and snow had picked up, and I couldn't see anything past two feet in front of me. It was quite a surprise to find a pickup on the side of the road, which I would not have spotted if I hadn't tripped and fallen into a drift.
I recognized it, and, with hope warming me, I stumbled toward it. He noticed me, because the driver's door opened and he ran to meet me, eyes trying to make out my features in the darkness.
Pretty soon I'm sitting in the backseat with him. The truck is full of heat, which surprised me. I can't feel much of my face, so I don't say anything. He gives me three more blankets and wraps me up like a burrito. He pulls my wet boots off and starts massaging my feet. I whimper a little. It feels like icicles are impaling my feet. He frowns and pulls off my socks. I would usually mind, but the truck is warm and I can't feel my feet anyway.
It's clear I have frostbite. My toes are grey white, like ugly rats. Tears start forming, but I angrily shake my head and they're gone. He looks at me, a little scared. I have no idea what to do, and tell him that. He shakes his head, and quickly types something into his phone. I keep my feet in front of the vents.
"We just got to get the blood flowing back. I'll have to keep massaging. Grit your teeth and help."
I huff. He didn't need to be so sassy. I tell him so. He smirks, but it's half-hearted. I can tell he's worried, so I ask, "What happened to the truck?"
"I don't know. I got stuck, I guess. I left it running and turned up the heat. I've been calling you for the past half hour."
"I already told you my phone was dying," I reply. I keep rubbing my toes, ignoring the prickles of pain.
"Want to charge it and call your dad?" I nod and fumble with the zipper to my pocket before I can pass it to him. He plugs it in. I go back to massaging.
After a few minutes of silence, I ask, "Why did you come to get me?"
He shrugs. "Because I didn't want you to die at the hands of an angry snowstorm."
I chuckle before catching myself. "I told myself that too. But that doesn't mean I wanted you to die in a snowstorm either."
He grins at that. "Well, it was one of my ways to die. Saving the innocent. Just like how you wanted to die."
I stop and look at him long and hard. How did he know that?
He answers the question in my eyes. "I just know you. I know your car is your only true love. I know you hate snow but hate heat even more. I know black is your favorite color even though that's so cliché it makes me physically sick. I know you try to fulfill people's expectations of you by acting different. I know your cat is your nemesis but you love him anyway. I know that I've been in love with you since I first met you."
I stare at him. He stares at me. I try to slow down my thoughts, but they're coming too fast. How does he know? I've known him for years and he decides to say something now? And, maybe more importantly, do I love him too? I decide to speak up.
"I think life has no meaning. We're just here. We're just alive by chance, and thinking about it too much is pointless. But I think I've found the meaning life just now. The meaning of life is trekking through a snowstorm, getting frostbite in the process, to save someone I love. Because I do. I love you."
His lips are on mine, and his hands are wrapped around me before I register his movement. The storm howls around us, but we hold onto each other, caught up in the eureka moment of a lifetime's philosophy destroyed and replaced with something infinitely more precious.
~a/n~ it's strange what being in love can do to your mindset about life . . .
(if you read this, i would walk through this storm for you)