Grey Hate

Ruth wakes up shivering. Last night, the two thick and warm blankets didn’t suffice. Her husband, still sleeping at her side, is radiating heat that she cannot feel. She slowly walks out of the bed. Her back is slumped. Seven hours of sleep just added ten years to her life.

The tiles of the kitchen where she prepares her daily Jasmin tea are made of ice today. Those heavy slippers bought by her daughter, ironically, are like a transparent thin line of, well, ice. She cannot understand why she feels so cold. Or maybe she doesn’t want to. The tea-pot finishes boiling. She waits, and press the button again. Not hot enough.

It is June, in the east of France. A small town called Lunéville. The sun has been pushing its rays and its warmth for almost an hour now, but strangely, they stop succinctly at the windows of this house. For whatever reason, for the first time in the past nine years they have been living here, the heating system doesn’t seem to work.

The TV neither. All colors are gone. It’s all black and white. Ruth awakens enough to realize that it’s not just the TV. The stand itself is grey, but she could swear it used to be made of light brown.

She’s now staring through the window. The sky is pale, insipid. She lifts the cupful of tea to her lips, and it’s the most arctic drink she’s ever tasted.