She kindles the fire in the cold, patches the walls, keeps the cold at bay, keeps fingers warm and cozy…and there is always something breaking, some place where the cold is creeping in, around the corners, through the stitches, in the cracks. It’s a thankless job, and some days it bears more repetition than a mind can take.
He fights the fires. There is the danger, the heat he keeps at bay. Daily he carries the burden of their families safety, of their welfare. The fire, it comes unbidden over and over again. He dawns the suit, he uses the same tools, and he fights the flames down.
Between them they are husband and wife, but you could almost forget it. You could almost wonder how. When first-love came, the cold wasn’t so fierce, the fires more rare. …or maybe they were just smaller in comparison? No. They were less, much less.
Now keeping everyone safe, safe from frostbite, safe from burns…it takes every minute, every breath. It takes every bit of the livelong day, and he and she – they are somehow wearing too many layers at days end. They are more rough around the edges. And where? Where is there space and time for the two to be one? A place wide enough? A place narrow enough?
Only in the shelter. They could never stay long. The path had to be forged again and again – always obstacles in the way. It wasn’t with planning, it wasn’t with ease, it wasn’t ever often enough. But it was there. If they laid aside their comfort, their own ease, their protective layers, they could squeeze through the dense forest of life and find it, the shelter, a bare space between – where two can be one.