In the End
A Short Story by Alice Clark
Written using the suggestion "Match"
Originally featured on 04-05-2010
As part of our series "On Not Splitting Hairs"

In the end, it was the snow that found me. The dirt in the snow. Something about Sufjan Stevens and his songs about Illinois.

There were boys in those days. And I wore a lot of eyeliner because I felt like if I didn’t line my eyes, they wouldn’t be powerful enough. So I lined them so they wouldn’t evaporate. Then I’d walk, alone, late into the night, with two coats on, a hat, a scarf. My breath freezing the scarf to my face. I’d walk to see you. Dirt in the snow, like cola slush, moving into my shoes. I’d run my fingers on the bricks on campus as I walked, running my fingers across the textures and the snow came into my bones and let me know that it could win. The silence of the snow held me there and stayed in my ears for hours.

Sometimes, you’d pick me up in your car, which was sad and young and old at the same time, in its rust and blueness. We’d sit in parking lots, having nowhere to go, and you’d want me to kiss you and I’d say no. But I loved the smell of the gas and the way that if we sat there long enough, we were an island in an abandoned parking lot with no paths in or out, the snow having found and covered them. We were young and it was a way for me to stay with you, because I wanted to be closer, because the snow was winning.

I’d make you run the heat, longer than you wanted to, and as the time passed, you eventually stole old blankets from your mother’s cupboards and hid them in your back seat, because it was easier than burning the gas. And it was so cold that there was no winning against it. We’d run the heat on high for twenty minutes, turn the car off, and climb into the backseat. In silence, we’d lay down together on the seat under those beige blankets. Waiting for the cold to find us.

Read More By Alice Clark

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Portland Fiction Project

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