-8 Degrees

By Shelley Burbank

Hardly noticing the cold or the snow squeaking beneath her boots, Elena glided along the frigid streets of Portland. The wind pushed its way from waterfront to Back Cove, blasting anything in its path. Elena was immune. If anything she found the dry, cold wind invigorating, like a good Brut Champagne.

Her face radiated heat despite the wind snaking through the corridors between the brick, multi-storied buildings and threatening to dislodge her hat. Holding it on with one hand, she wondered if her cheeks matched the rose-colored fedora she wore pulled low over her ears. She tucked her chin into her scarf , and beneath the soft, white wool, her mouth turned up at the corners, remembering:

Ethan’s lips, the scratchiness of his new beard, the taste of bitter coffee on his tongue, the espressos and conversation they’d enjoyed after their shift, lingering, unwilling to leave things as they were, the dark lashes rimming his eyes.

Heat.

Yes, finally, he’d kissed her, and tonight he was coming over to her studio for dinner. She’d light a few candles. She’d splurge on a bottle of Champagne and some good brie. . .

Who cared about minus-eight degrees?

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