He slipped into bed next to her, wrapped one arm around her waist, the other behind her neck, molding his body to hers. Inhaling and savoring the deliciousness of her scent, he began with soft kisses behind her ear.
“Wow,” she said, scooting away from him.
“You’re incredibly hot,” she said.
He smiled. “So are you,” he said, moving closer.
“No,” she said, turning toward him and placing a hand on his chest. “I mean, physically, you’re like,” she frowned as she searched for a suitable analogy. “a radiator. You are literally radiating heat, and it’s too hot.
Now it was his turn to frown. He looked around the room for a solution finding what he thought was one on the ceiling. “What if I turned on the fan? That would make it cool.”
Before she could reply he was out of bed, flicking the switch to the ceiling fan. He pulled the chain twice to place it on high speed, then climbed back in beside her, eager to pick up where he’d left off. “Mmmm, this feels—”
“OMG you are making me sweat!” she said scooting away from him.
He couldn’t deny. Even in the short time they were physically close, he could feel the heat, his skin sticky, as if syrup oozed from his pores.
And so it went. Over the years he’d tried to find ways to offset his heat, to find a way to allow prolonged physical proximity in a way that was pleasant. Open windows in winter, thin layers of clothing to prevent their skin from adhering, air conditioning on maximum output, all but a temporary solution to his thermal output. But now, he was sure he’d found the answer…
He’d done his research in moments of lucidity – ‘How Long Does It Take For The Body To Cool After Death?’ as well as during morphine-dream conversations with those who have passed on, “How long does the soul stay with the body?” Now all that was left was to convince her.
Through eyes blurred with tears, she watched as the line on the monitor went flat, in concert with the tone. She kissed the hand she was holding before kissing his lips. In her pocket she found the instructions, wiped her eyes and read them again—an unnecessary act given the number of times they had discussed the details.
After the allotted time, she climbed onto the bed, wrapped his stiffening arms around her and whispered, “Hold Me.”
Process Efficiency Manager by day and daydreamer by nature, Tom, wife Andrea and their ‘Gumbert Mountain Kitties’ live in a log cabin overlooking the Ohio River near an Adena Burial Mound. Tom often thinks about life and death, love and legacy. He feels fortunate to have had his writing published alongside those of his literary heroes.