Each morning starts like the last one.
A chill in the air hanging over my face. Moisture condensed overnight on the metal trim of the single pane window. The heavy drops shattered into frost sometime before the dawn. It would be beautiful if it weren’t on the inside of the house. The temperature drops quickly when the last of the fire dies in the wood burning stove. Usually a little past midnight when I am too tired (read drunk) to get up and tend to the fire.
I like to believe the house wasn’t always like this. That there was a time when the house was new. Before the foundation settled and mismatched the door frames and windows and turned the cozy cottage into a windy hallway. Before the insulation was stolen by rats. A time when it was filled with love and life and the smell of cookies. Not like most mornings when I wake up.
I usually wait until the last possible moment to escape from the pocket of warmth that envelopes me beneath the heirloom quilts. Not my heirlooms but thanks to the corporate charity of Goodwill, their utility lives on. I rush to the wood stove and jostle the coals before throwing a few split logs on the pile and closing the door again. Cold floorboards suck the life out of the bottom of my feet. The rush of air to a building fire is still a few moments away. My bed has already lost its warmth and only feels warm to my frozen toes.
I grab some clothes out of the “clean” pile in the corner and slide on a pair of second-hand jeans. Hilfiger. Lucky me, they were worn enough by the previous owner that the knees have a trendy set of holes. I set my shirt on top of the stove to get nice and warm from the now crackling fire. I have to be careful not to leave it too long. I lost a nice turquoise Ralph Lauren a few days ago.
Not that I minded. My ex-girlfriend gave it to me. She picked it because it reminded her of an old flame from high school. Whore. I guess I’m not the only one who stirs coals and piles on the fuel, hoping to kindle a flame.
I do this day after day. It is better than the alternative.
It does make me wonder… Will anything ever really be new?