The wind blows outside the canvas walls of our trailer. It rustles leaves, wrinkles the sides, and makes me shiver. The sheets above and below me are like ice.
Once, twice, thrice my Dad got up to fiddle with the heater. A brief acrid smell, followed by a cold silence. My sister and I huddled together, beneath our frozen sheets, as little lumps that weren’t quite warm enough.
The knock on our door before we even closed it didn’t bode well. Nor did the frosty puffs of our breath on the air. Broken German and English combined to suss out that the heater was out of oil. In the midst of the biggest snowstorm of the year. A late night call to the landlady confirmed that there would be no oil until morning.
We attempted to find an open gym with hot water, but were thwarted by the weather and the German tendency to close early on Sundays. We cuddled, slightly grungy beneath the sheets. Crisp, cold sheets. Our little cocoon kept us warm, but any shift brought contact with the icy realm of sheets unheated by body.
Opening the windows for the first time since our move felt like victory. Temperatures that had been lingering in the upper 70s at night finally promised to drop lower. The fan whirled on high over my head, the bed empty beside me. Night shifts leaving me alone in the dark, cool room. Every turn brought me cool relief from the pressing knowledge of solitude. The wind chilled sheets whispered promises of warm bodies pressed close together, the remnants of memories fleeting in the dark.
Cold sheets. Warm bodies. Home.