Break

Cora stood in her driveway.  There was snow all around her, and her two bags of groceries sat on the asphalt beside her.  One of Cora’s hands was in her pocket and the other hand held her telephone.  On the other end of the telephone, Cora’s girlfriend said, “I’m sorry, I can’t be in a relationship right now.  I’m sorry, I need some time to myself.”

“Ok,” said Cora.  She kicked the snow bank in front of her and white chunks of ice flew everywhere.  One of her grocery bags slumped over, and a can of soup rolled across the driveway.  She said ok over and over again, staring at the white snow all around her and the sun reflecting off everything, making her blind.
“Ok, ok, ok,” she said, and she kicked the snow bank again.  She wasn’t supposed to be sad this winter.  She was working on a project that would get her through the cold and the snow and the early nights, and instead she was crying in her driveway and there was snow all around her, and her can of soup was rolling away.  The winter she’d been trying to deny for months was seeping into her, road salt clogging her veins, and her heart slicked over with slush.
“Ok, ok, ok,” she said, only she’d already hung up.  She held the phone out in front of her, her ungloved hand impotent and small against the white weather stretching in every direction.
*
And a week later it was still winter, and Cora hated everything she’d once loved, The Ossington, TheCommunist’s Daughter and the Broken Social Scene sweater her girlfriend always used to steal.  She walked down Dundas through slush thicker than semen and said fuck this, fuck this, fuck everything.  She walked the same speed as a garbage truck, and it was loud and she was tired and the only thing she’d had to eat that day was a can of kidney beans with Sriracha on top.  She was still sad and she said to herself, you are in charge of your own happiness, and she didn’t know why she couldn’t make herself be happy.
When she got to her neighbourhood, no one had shoveled their sidewalks and she said fuck this, fuck this, fuck everything and walked in the very centre of the street.
This wasn’t the first time she’d walked down the middle of this street.  One day that past summer, it was one am, and she was walking home alone, and her new dress shoes bit into her feet.  She had taken them off and walked in her white socks in the very centre of the street.  She had felt sadness then too, a soft loneliness and the general ache of being as the bottoms of her socks went from white to grey and from grey to black.  The stars were gold coins that would never be collected and the houses were faces with their eyes closed.
Cora walked home now in the snow and felt the same great ache that comes from living in a reality where the molecules that make up one person never touch the molecules that make up another.  It was winter all around her.  She was cold and she was tired and she was sad, but instead of saying fuck this, fuck this, fuck everything, she said ok, ok, ok, and she was cold and she was tired and she was sad, but she said ok, ok, ok.
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