I put the cask on the counter and the clerk says nothing. I’m making punch, my anxiety says, sangria. The clerk doesn’t care, simply pronounces the price while I collate the cost. I offer thanks and get paid with a nod that haunts me out the door, down the street, and into my first glass. I can hear the ice cracking against the suburban stillness. My thirst never makes a sound. By my last I’m no longer dry and ready to drown. I nod at the walls. It’s a punch, I tell them, but you can’t see the bruise.
There are scientific methods for measuring glacial displacement. She says a lot of it relies on friction, so we shouldn’t have a problem. Then she presses the back of her hand to my cheek and asks if I can feel the ice running through her veins. I tell her ice doesn’t run until it’s warming on your tongue and she whaps my face with her hand, pouting as though she wanted honesty from her inquiry. I offer to make her melt but she tells me I’m lukewarm at best. Sometimes I wonder if tepid isn’t better than icy indignation.