Romance Fiction posted February 9, 2012

This work has reached the exceptional level
A love story

Reservoir of an Unfrozen Heart

by forestport12

It sounded like a freight train coming down the mountain. But this was an avalanche. An explosive swath of snow mushroomed toward his car, as if he were a matchbox on wheels. Smashing through Tom Nichol's passenger side window, it engulfed him to his chin, causing the roof to cave in.

Thanks to the seductive and feminine voice of his GPS, leading him through a seasonal road over Butcher Pass, his life was suddenly in neutral. The car, the snow, and his life, all came to a terrifying halt. Encased in rock-hard snow, his body grew numb. Dazed but mindful of his poor judgment, he thought about what an idiot he was to trust a GPS in the first place. She wouldn't have warned him of the hazards ahead or forecasted the weather.

Tom's reddened hands were on the steering wheel. He pried them away, recalling that his cell phone was in his shirt pocket. He blew on his fingers and then dug toward his chest. He fished for the phone and yanked it upward. Blowing on it, he tried to clear the screen.

"C'mon! C'mon!" Fingers quivering, he held it up to the roof of the car where he had a few inches of space.

"No bars!"

"Damn it!"

Tom tilted his head and spat at the snow. He had a warped view to his left where the avalanche had crashed like a monstrous wave over the top of his car. He blew on his hands to keep them warm. He grabbed the steering wheel and tried several times to extract himself. But then, from sheer exhaustion, he surrendered. He blinked away the icicles forming on his eyelids. "Oh God, what have I done? No one knows I'm on this road."

With shallow breaths, his mind raced to his family, his wife Kim and his daughter Candice. He rested his burning eyes and imagined himself in the valley surrounded by emerald pines, enjoying the warmth of the fireplace in his home. He imagined them toasting to his success as an award winning writer. The hazel eyes of his wife reflected the warm fire, her silk blonde hair grazed the stubbles of his face. Her smooth skin radiated heat against his neck. He could hear the wine glasses clink. He could feel her hot breath as she whispered in his ear, "I love you. Always and forever."

He wasn't going to make it home on time to see his teenage daughter off on her first official date. He thought of all the lovely quips he would have had for the boy, who would be standing at the door nervous as a puppy in the dark. And then as a father, he would look him in the eye and give him that intimidating stare that would say, "Don't mess up, or I will hunt you down like a crazed psychopath."

Tom blinked away the tears, sending him back to his reality that he was dying in his car turned into a frozen coffin. No one would find his body until the first thaw. He blinked away more tears. Then he realized his manuscript was on the front seat, but the words of his latest project seemed less important now, blurred and evaporating in the twilight of his existence.

Moments turned into hours and he felt the core of his body shutting down, as if his blood had thickened into a paste and his mind was going into a dense fog. "I'm losing it... Kim. I...I do love you," he said, stammering.

As Tom sat on the edge of a sleep that would free his soul, he recalled how insanely he had fought with his wife, how she would win the arguments in their home until one day he realized, he could get the upper hand and get her to grow quiet when he pulled off his ring. The fights had erupted so often that for days, he would go to his basement office and shut her out, as if he were some self-righteous monk with ink in his veins. Then he would forget where he placed the ring. He would attempt to evade her sad round eyes until he finally found it. After all, he really did love her, and they had always found the time to make-up--when time was on his side.

But time was running out.

With all the remaining fiber he could muster, he dug back into his shirt pocket for his pen and pad. He had to blow on the tip of the pen, but managed to scrawl a final message on the paper. It said, "I love you both. The circle of our love will never be broken. I once had a frozen heart and never knew love until I found you. You changed me. You taught me the meaning of true love and now my spirit is ready to go where someday your faith will find me waiting for you. Love forever and always."

Then with one last surge of adrenaline, one last gasp of energy, he closed his fist so whoever found him would see the ring on his finger, a token of his unbreakable love.


Dear Tom:

The day they found you is a day I will never forget. A police officer knocked on our door. When I opened it, my heart lurched into my throat. This large man could not hold back the tears in his eyes. He handed me your note and then the ring. He said that it took some effort, but he managed to pry it from your frozen fist. When he had read the note and saw the ring, he couldn't help but think that he was somehow destined to find you. He said it changed his life. He had been separated from his wife and had two small children. He said, "Your husband gave me a new lease on life."

The sun flirted with the tree limbs that day, as Kim placed the letter on the headstone and weighed it down with a small rock. As a breeze ran through her dress and the sun lit the edge of the letter, she stood. Her daughter, Candice was there to help hold her up.

As they leaned into each other and left the gravesite, Kim looked into the cotton clouds and said, "They say there is nothing greater than a love story, well told. My husband, always the writer, saved his best work in the palm of his hand."

Kim took his love letter, and with the ring, folded it securely in her pocket knowing someday she would leave it with her daughter as a heritage, fused with faith and love.

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