What do you do when you're sick at home but certainly not so sick that you can't stand up and open the door, and you want to be getting things done but they aren't actually so pressing that you can't take some time off from them, and then you hear a knock on the door?
And then what do you do when, peering through the peephole, you see that the person on the other side of the door is a friend that you've heard did some terrible things this summer, which he has concealed from you and which you do not intend to bring up? What do you do when you look at your friend, and you see him through a cloud, a shifting fog, a cold mist? and when you hear his name, and the sound in your ears is accusing voices and the weeping that follows betrayal? and when he reaches out to hug you, because you are sick, and his touch feels cold because he has become a frozen wasteland to you--because of one story, because of a few minutes' telling?
But it's not because of a few minutes, not because of one story. The wasteland was revealed in that rapid parting of the clouds, in those lightning flashes that lit the barren landscape. But the transformation came day by day, in the accumulation of decisions: conscious decisions, clear decisions, irreversible decisions. The deceptions fell on the land like a million, billion snowflakes. Each lie is different, but each lie freezes in the same way.
What do you do when the friend is not the person you believed him to be? What do you do when a head-cold intersects with a cold heart? How do you thaw the tundra?