House of the Magnolia Tree-Excerpt

She was cold. The type of cold that made her joints shudder and ache like rusted steel, her 72 years seemed to fill every nook and cranny of her in late January. The sleet was whipping again against the stark gray Midwest sky. She grumbled at it, as if grumbling through the frosted window pane would make the cold lessen. Sleet was wet cold to her and nothin’ worse then wet cold.

“It’s cold! Wet cold!”
“No…it’s 76 degrees in here! I just turned up the heat…again!” She grumbled more, that man, still didn’t ever get cold even after 40 years together. She figured his Southern blood was hotter then the rest of normal people. Their daughter always said that daddy was part dragon, and he was hot blooded and a bit hot headed, but she liked men who could breath fire on occasion. Part of the reason she loved him so much, she was never cold when she was next to him. He’d wrap his toes up in her toes under the featherdown comforter, she’d snuggle as close as she could and fall asleep almost every night basking in his warmth.

That man…he’d be wearing shorts out in the snow if he could, all his children did, carried that southern heat in them. She thought much about the children on cold days. Age makes one wistful for the pattering of little feet on hardwood floors. The sounds of singing and music played badly on just about every instrument each child had wanted to learn. All except the youngest, the virtuoso of the family, she had inherited the gift of music.

“I’m going out to shovel.”

“Not like that you are not.”

“Yes, I am.”

“No, you are not! You will freeze to death in shorts, you’re 82 years old for Christ sake! No 82 year old man wears shorts in the middle of January.”

“This man does! It’s hotter than hades in here…I need to cool off.” He put his coat, hat, gloves, and boots, and took his old age spotted bare legs out into the snow.

That man, never could get him to do anything she wanted him to do. She went to get her faux fur blanket to put around her shoulders, sat down on the chaise, and picked up her latest book. She looked out at him, his beard gray, years shown on his face, his body was soft and round and she still thought him the sexiest most attractive man she’d ever seen, there shoveling snow in shorts. That surprised her as she got older, when she was young and silly in her 20’s she figured old people didn’t desire each other anymore. That everything withered with age. How wrong she was. The truth was, the older she got the more she desired that dragon of man who stole her heart.

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