The weatherman was always wrong. Why couldn’t he have been wrong this time? The woman did her best to snuggle her knees to her chest and pull her body back under the overhang. The concrete stair she laid upon was frozen. Paused for eternity, this frozen night lingered for all of eternity. Her layers of thin clothes did not begin to warm her body. She rested her head on a cardboard box taken from beside the dumpster. She sought the refuge of sleep but her toes and hands and cheeks kept protesting the cold.
She remembered it. Focusing on it’s memory, hoping it would bring her some warmth. She must have been eleven years old. Her body in the warm house in clean but hand me down jammies. A little too old to sleep in her parent’s bed, still she tiptoed into her parents’ room…the door squeaked as she cracked it, “I can’t sleep.”
“Come and join me in my dreams. I was just about to leave.” Her mother was always one with a great imagination.
She climbed over her father and slid into the covers between them. “Let us pray. Heavenly Father. Thank you so much for my family. We thank you for our warm home. I pray that we will love and serve you. Amen.”
Those words played over and over in her head, “Thank you for our warm home. Thank you for our warm home.” She closed her eyes and could feel the soft mattress under her. Her mother’s arm lay across her snuggling them together. “Thank you for our warm home.”
Maybe she should just go inside? Was this a cold protest or did she really hate that man inside that much? Perhaps she should have grabbed a coat and some boots before she stormed outside. She stood up, walked up the steps and walked inside.
He still sat there at the living room table, sipping a bourbon and reading stocks on his phone. He did not look up. He perhaps did not know that she had spent the last two hours on their freezing back steps. Had he been sitting there for two hours?
“Will you be coming up to bed?” No answer.
“Did you know I was outside in the snow?” No answer
“I love you.” No answer. Did she? Did she love him? She had given him the last twenty two years of her life. She raised two of his children, oversaw his home, and attended his fancy parties. But he had given her money in response. Lots of money. Perhaps it was just a business deal? Was she ever loved?
Yes. She turned around and walked outside. She lay back down on the frozen concrete floor. She remembered her father’s words, “Thank you so much for our warm home.”
The maid found her frozen to death on the stair the next morning.
There was no question why she did it. No wonder why she did not walk into the heated, unlocked house. Her husband gave funeral arrangement orders and then returned to work that same day.
Someone somewhere left a note upon her grave, “The snow is warmer than a house with no love.”