Never Warm Enough

His name is Jerony. He is tall and gangly for a nine-year old, and does not know what to do with himself.

He is never warm enough, no matter how many blankets his father gives him. No matter how big the fire in the main room. No matter the temperature outside.

When he sleeps, he feels suffocated, as though the night could drown him, as though it were an ocean to fill him up with dark, pressing to his nose and mouth as much as it presses to his eyes. Every evening, he settles uneasily to bed, shivering under a dozen blankets, staring at the light under the door that’s kept on in the hallway outside. Every morning, he claws his way to waking, gasping and gagging, certain he was mere moments from being drowned in the dark, and turns on all the lights, no matter how high the sun is, outside.

He does not know the reason he has been cold his whole life is because his dead mother’s hand is firmly curled around his heart, and has been since the day his father cut him from her belly.

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