On many a dreary winter day in that third floor tenement, I pressed my forehead against the window, its inside lined with a curved layer of ice tucked in the corner.

The house was not well built, and the cold of the outside clashed with the warm steam heat on the inside….ice condensed on the glass.

I pressed my nose and chin to melt it. I made a hand print.

It was cold: a penetrating cold that climbed my arm on those gray days.
As I peered through the thin layer, I could see the ice on the the rooftop of the house below.

Puffs of smoke, now predictable in their rhythm, were emanating from the chimney. I wish I could have seen our chimneys.
Were there three, one for each tenement? I wasn’t sure. I’ll ask Dad when he gets home from work.

There were some pigeons huddled together under an eave. The tenants probably were not aware.

Huge icicles hung from the roof. Some had fallen, piercing the air and shattering in the alley below to render a sea of diamonds…slivers, cubes, chunks…
It was quiet. I was afraid. Is anyone in this huge three-decker here with me? Of course. There had to be. There always was.

I was only ten years old.

© 2017