“I love this real winter weather!” exclaimed Jessica Cardoza. The 29-year-old systems engineer sat in Greenstreet Café’s outdoor patio, enjoying brunch with Emily Rogers, a visiting friend from Chicago. The Miami native planned a long day of sightseeing which would next take them to the PAMM. She wore jeans, riding boots, two cardigans, and a beanie. It was 75 degrees.
“I hate that we only get to enjoy winter for like two week in this city,” declared Cardoza between mouthfuls of French toast. “You’re so lucky up in Chicago.”
“I haven’t seen the sun in three months,” retorted Rogers in a flat voice, her sunken eyes staring right through her friend. The pallor beneath her shorts and University of Michigan T-shirt landed somewhere between bleached and cadaverous. She gripped a mug of black coffee as if ensuring that it couldn’t escape.
“I just love cold weather!” continued Cardoza without skipping a beat. “Not, like, sort of cold, you know? Like 78 or something. But, like, real cold. Like 65.”
“I lost my thumb to frostbite when I was nine,” replied Rogers. She hadn’t blinked in five minutes.
“And you have snow!” cried Cardoza. “It’s so pretty! We never, ever get snow in Miami.”
“My cat Critter ran away in a snowstorm. Didn’t find her ‘til April in a block of ice.”
“I want to get into a snowball fight and relax by a roaring fireplace!” insisted Cardoza, grinning as she imagined the scenario.
“The deep chill of death is in my bones,” replied Rogers, giving her friend an unhinged look. “I cannot escape it. It comes for us all!”
“I can’t wait to move up north and finally get to experience all four seasons!” proclaimed Cardoza, blithely ignoring Rogers’ admonition.
“You will die alone in a frozen hell-scape,” replied the Chicagoan. A fly crawled across her face, but she did nothing to shoo it away.
“I know you have another week down here,” said Cardoza, sipping her mimosa. “But what do you think about cutting your vacation short, flying back home, and showing me around the Windy City?”
“I will kill you, bitch!” shouted Rogers. She jumped from her seat and brandished a dinner knife at her friend. Patrons in the surrounding tables turned to stare. Several tense seconds ticked by.
“Oh, you’re so dramatic!” laughed Cardoza with a dismissive wave. “Let’s get the check and go to the PAMM. Just remember your jacket. It’s literally freezing in there.”
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