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Hell is so much colder than I thought it would be.

The seasons twirl past, a maddening whirl of untouchable loveliness, each it’s own kind of torture. New buds and young love and bright laughter breezing through old alleyways melt into lazy, torpid summers skimming through outstretched fingers without even a breath of cool wind melt into chillingly bright autumns and blood red carpets of fallen leaves and a feeling of insatiable loneliness, until everything hardens and freezes into Winter, the cruelest time of the year.

It’s like New York in every way, a picture-perfect recreation of snow-dusted, rust-stained park benches and twisting ribbons of yellow taxis making their way down rushed avenues. The trees are bare and petrified and scrawny and stark against the diamond sky, dead things never to come back to life, frozen by the unforgiving night chill. The people around me are shadows wrapped in human skin, trying to hide from themselves, trying to hide from the truth even as they rush through the motions of living. At night the dark buildings shine with the empty glow of lonely cities.

There’s ice on the eaves of buildings, needle-sharp icicles spiraling downwards from overhanging ledges that I can’t break off no matter how hard I tug, lace-work frost twirling around on the grimy windows of the buildings which I can’t soften no matter how warm my breath is. When I first got here I’d try to melt things, catching onto the sharp edges of snow piles, huffing and puffing against the glass, trying to find a lessening of the cold. But there was none, and there has been none.

No matter how long I stay here, no matter how long I try to get used to the freezing purgatory that makes up my every day, I still shiver when I step outside. No matter how many days have been spent, no matter how many hours I have idled away, when I wake up each morning I still reach for you across the bed. But you’re not there and summer never comes and the wind howls every single time I open a window.

When I cry the sky and cement mix into a blue-grey that is almost the color of your eyes. If I squint the dark skyline is the fringe of your lashes. I feel your fingers threading through mine when I trace the paths we used to walk together. But I can’t find you anywhere else, I can’t see you anywhere else.

Hell is exactly New York, similar, identical in every way. Except you’re not there. You’re never there. That’s the only difference. That’s what makes it hell.

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