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The Warmest February

Every day I think about her, as she probably thinks about me. I always wonder what she’s doing or even if she’s still alive. I always picture her to be the same as me most times, sad on the inside and out. But last night, she came to me in a dream and told me a story.

She hovered above me, stroked my hair and said, “Let me tell you about a time not long ago, a time of realization.” I looked into her naked eyes and noticed that everything about her had changed from what I remembered. Most noticeably, there was a lurking smile on her face, and her eyes drooped the same, but they drooped with a new softness.

This ‘time not long ago’ that she described was the February of 2020, “the month before the end of the world”. She told me that she left the country for the first time, passing the northern border in the heavy snow to Québec City. She told me of the songs they would sing there and all the food they would eat, changing her taste buds for good. It was the coldest she had ever been, leaving her white face a rosy pink forever, a stain upon her skin of her most fond memories.

She then started to sing me a song as she adjusted the blankets covering me. The song was soft and slow, coming to my ears as just a whisper with a tune. It described long days, flowing grass, and a simple life. I could tell they were the sweetest words to touch her mind, like a dream in her head, of that simple life. A life in the sun and the breeze, with cattle on the field and the constant sounds of a river nearby. This was quite different from my dream, which is to live in darkness. I wanted her to live in darkness as well, but her obvious dominance kept that from seeing truth.

The song then drifted into a downscale hum. This soft humming that I could see seeping into her skin and glazing over her eyes, was to me, only a sound. She told me that she will sing this song to her child one day. She said, “I'll sing it to them in February, the time I had first heard it myself.” And all I could think of was, what child? Because she’ll never have a child. How could she ever want a child? But then, again, her maternal femininity was newly apparent to me.

I closed my eyes in this dream, and my head spun in circles. I wondered if it was from the excess amount of antihistamines in my system or if it was because of her, the girl who hovered above me. I then opened my eyes to an image of her standing alone on a frozen lake. She was wrapped in winter clothes, her scarf pushing her ginger hair against the pudgy cheeks of her porcelain face, and a baby-blue pin on her hat reading ‘Le Monde de Bonhomme’ shined in the snow’s reflecting sunlight.

Then suddenly, snow came down, and she looked to the sky, the snowflakes falling into her eyes and mixing with her tears, tears from the bitter cold. She looked toward the mountains and started to repeat a verse, “Son p’tit porte-clé tout rouillé, tout rouillé. Son p’tit porte-clé tout rouillé, gaiement.” A different song, but this one bringing gibberish to my ears and a smile to her face, excited by the natural echo.

The scene was surrounded by pine trees, the tallest pines one could imagine. Particles of snow fell from their branches, somehow in harmony with the words that bounced across the lake and off the mountains, “Son p’tit porte-clé tout rouillé, tout rouillé. Son p’tit porte-clé tout rouillé, gaiement.”

I hate the cold, but she didn’t seem to mind it as she stood upon that lake of ice. There was not a hint of discomfort in her manner, only pure joy. She then saw me from my vision in a dream, and she was hovering above me again, as I was tucked warm in bed. “I like the cold, you see. I even love the cold. Everyone who loves me knows that.” She said, and I thought she must’ve had it all wrong. Since when did she like the cold?

I don’t find this world to be of much beauty, but I could see by the look on her face that the beauty is what made her cherish this certain February. “I’ve grown to despise you, to pity you, but now, I am jealous of you for what you’ll experience soon. If only I could live it again, that warm February, when everything in my world aligned, and I felt happy for the first time.” She whispered, and before she left me in my paradoxical dream, she said her last words about this certain February, “It was the coldest I’d ever been but the warmest I’d ever felt.” This somehow felt so cryptic, but it was so surreal that I could finally understand why she came to me that night.

She was satisfied and I could tell there was nothing more for her to say. She wanted me to understand the importance of the February of 2020, but she didn’t know exactly how to explain it, maybe out of fear that I would judge her, and that in response I would say, “I don’t care.”

She could see through every part of me in that dream, every deep emotion. But what she couldn’t see was that I did care. I lost myself in her eyes and let her realization pass through me. That’s when she disappeared, she finally dissolved into the dark depths of my mind. And she hummed the tune she loved so much, fading away with her, growing quiet as I awoke.

Knowing what I know now, I hope she’s doing well in the time after that warm February. I hope she knows she’s allowed to smile and to soak up all the sun. And maybe now she’ll stop thinking of me and leave me behind at last. I hope she’ll let me die where I belong, as I am her mind from the past.

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