Friday, March 4, 2016

Ultimatum

He sat at the head of the table,
telling me his story,
as if he knew I would write down
all the little details
of what he had to say. 

Maybe, he said,
this--all these words--
will mean something to you.

He arched his eyebrows
and sipped his steaming coffee. 
He shook his head and spoke. 

I was so cold, he said.
I used to sit,
shivering in my chair,
both sets of legs
trembling.
I'd watch my fingernails turn
from soft pink to vibrant blue,
but still,
she wouldn't budge.

The money,
she'd say,
think of the money we're saving.
And I'd think to myself, 
what about my sanity?
Isn't my sanity important to you? 

Good point,
I interjected. 
She couldn't see it that way,
at least not at first, he replied.

And so each night, after work,
I trudged to the library,
where I'd spend many a warm hour.
Unfurling my fingers.
Breathing in warm air.
Living.

And at that moment, he said,
as he leaned in over the table 
and caught my gaze,
I realized that my quality of life suffered 
by her desire to keep the 
temperature so low. 
Either the temperature went up,
or I would leave.

What happened then? I asked as
he tapped the mug 
and shrugged his shoulders.

She acquiesced, he said. 
We moved the thermostat up
by four degrees.


Four degrees.
Enough to make a difference? I asked.
Yes. 
Just enough to make a difference.
I wasn't cold anymore.
 
But I often wonder what my life would be like,
if she had simply said no
 to my ultimatum.

5 comments:

S. B. House said...

temperature control... one of the most common arguments between man and woman.

Hopeful Mama said...

Please tell me this is fictitious. . . .

T said...

I love your friends ^^

sandra doninger said...

Maybe I'll issue this ultimatum.... :)

Christina said...

Sadly, Hopeful Mama, this is not fictitious.