Lately our arms must circle a wider space because of the bulk of winter clothing; through my coat I could not distinguish your hands on my back; a vague padded warmth of muscle pressed around me. I slipped my hands up inside your sweater to trace your spine, your shoulder blades through the thin cotton.

Our breaths clouded behind each other; I was not cold but I knew I should be; the weight of your leaning grounded me. Your slight beard was rough against my neck and for an instant your ear cupped to mine, larger than mine, fitting well. For a moment we had sealed ourselves into that lock; that was all there was.

We stood, briefly isolated together in the cold which had ceased to matter, two halves of a seashell, reintroduced, each hearing the other's pulse and the reflection back to its source, silent and roaring in the streetlamp glow of a front stoop in November.

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