Behind the walls of ice, stood a man. He was 30 years old, and had already lived more than most. He was a boy everyone liked, he could talk to anyone, and the more tired he got from always being there, the more he saw others. He did not think he was lonely, but he did get cold every now and again. His giving, his sacrifices sapped his energy reserves, until there was no strength left to keep him warm.
When he was 18, he fell in love with a girl. But she was never satisfied with what he did. He worked a lot, and she felt like he did not prioritze him. He had other flaws as well. He did not put up his toilet seat, he did not listen to her, and he used too much time on his cooking. A real cook would be done with the dish much faster. A real man does not misbehave as much as him, she said. She got pregnant, and had a traumatic birth. His parents came in, and he turned to them. She felt abandoned and depressed. The depression did not lift. She was exhausted, and every opportunity she got, she told him how she felt. She went to a therapist, where she talked about how he was never there for her. At the end, he could not take it anymore. They split apart, and he started working even harder to prove he was good enough. He became friendlier and cooked every day to improve his recipies.
One day, he met a girl. She was timid and shy, and never thought he could like her. But he did. He used his warmth to make her feel safe and protected. She thought he was wonderful. Slowly, they fell in love.
One day he had a fight with his parents. He did not want to talk to his new love about it, and moved away from her in bed. She said that was okay. But she asked if she could hold him. She felt his cold wall of ice, but was used to the cold too, and therefore didn’t mind. Luckily, she could feel how the ice slowly melted next to her. But she did not want to rush it, because if it melted too much he might feel like he was drowning. So she just held him for a little while longer and asked if he wanted to go to sleep. Exhausted, he told her yes.
Every day she told him how he impressed her. He managed to take care of his child, excersise, go to work where he lit up people`s lives and cook wonderful meals. He told her that was what everyone did, and that he was no different from others. When he could not sleep, after his child told him that her mother said she wished she never had been born, he said he was okay. He did not need sleep. So he excersied more, cooked more and talked more to keep his energy level up. When he went to sleep that night, the ice around him was thicker than ever before.
The next day, he stood in the kitchen, making a chocolate cake his child would get for her birthday. His girlfriend smiled and showed how impressed she was, and some of the ice started dripping again. Standing up, he was not afraid of drowning. The heat in the kitchen made it even safer, and finally the water evaporated.
She took his hand, and even though he wanted to pull it away, she did not let go of it. She told him that he was a good father, and his hand got warmer. Later, after his child had her party, he came home and told her that her mother did not call to congratulate her child until he posted a picture of him and his girl on facebook. He told his girlfriend that she should not have to live with his troubles, that this was not was she had bargained for. She asked him if it was okay that she gave him a hug. He stood still for a while, but at the end let her envelop him in a hug.
He told him that he could not remember the last time he cried. His tears had frozen. But when he stood there in her arms, he started to cry. She held him even closer, her warmth protecting the tears so they did not freeze. They were allowed to escape from their prison, and the salt from them melted the last droplets from his frozen soul.
That night, he told her that he needed to take care of things. He would ask his parents for help with the child, and go to therapy with his ex. In therapy, he apologized to her for not being there enough.
In the next session, his ex had thought a lot. She realized that she had not always given him what he needed, and for that she was sorry. The ice between them, started dripping. It melted so much that they finally could see each other again. The humans behind the frosty wall.
When he went home, he told his girlfriend that he felt free.