I sat on the edge of the luxurious bathtub, watching it fill. We were quiet from an argument after dinner. Something about a tone, and then a look someone gave, and someone got offended, but we don’t remember which was which. If you asked us now, it would seem immaterial. I remember silently getting up to get my coat, and stepping out into the unreasonable cold. The icy streets had rendered my leather-soled boots absurd. I wanted to laugh, but even smiles froze before they could get to my face.
The water in the bathtub was too warm. Still, we sat – touching but not really touching since the touching wasn’t intentional and it was only a byproduct of the size of the space- in the tub with the roaring jets that sprayed hot water at our backs.
We made lighthearted conversation about how good it felt, and how soft our skin was from the salts.
Our hands brushed occasionally. I watched my long hair surf the waves.
We fell asleep wearing our robes, not touching, but side by side, in front of the fireplace.
I awoke, groggily, and my stomach felt like it had a fist trying to punch outwards from inside.
I spent the next twenty four hours prostrate on various surfaces and feeling like dying. Sometimes, I would shuffle to the window and watch the snow. Mostly, I watched various shows that I didn’t understand because they were all in French. Even Harry Potter spoke French. Willing my stomach to feel better.
We held onto the privacy of disappointment. Allowed that to be a place where we hid from each other a little while. You raised your voice once, telling me to stop telling you to go do something else exciting, away from me. Because, you said, it wasn’t that I was sick. If I was sick, we were sick. Together. Then you apologized for raising your voice.
You force fed me some water from my purple water bottle. We ate chicken soup from tin cans and congee that I made.
An hour before midnight, I woke you up. Wearing more clothing than I had ever put on at one time in my life, we walked outside. Our bodies, limited by the huge lumps of warm clothes covering them, twisted in funny shapes as we tried to dance with each other in the snowy cold while holding hot beverages. Our gloved hands clumsily clung to each other. Our eyelashes and nosehairs froze as we shook off all the ache from the previous day. As we lifted our eyes, fireworks filled the mountain sky.