‘It’s because I can’t reach,’ she revealed behind dark eyelashes, the only curtain remaining.
He watched her shift and wondered if it seemed as loud to any of the others. Hungry admirers awaiting the next act. He was tired of the play. He wished she would lift the curtain.
The breath of summer on her dry skin left her longing for the winter walks she spent seasons awaiting. Safety within steps too cold to often be considered.
‘I just thought you might want to change,’ he said and the single syllable of each word spoken shattered her splintered heart. She wished her words might extend further… that she could turn up the sound of her breath.
When he walked away she stopped trying. She stopped stretching and barely went outside, not even when the temperature was below zero and she was confident she’d… freeze.
He wrapped his world in laughter that never sounded as funny, to him. But he smiled just as wide; he looked people in the eye.
She taught herself to crochet and started to make scarves and blankets, things to protect people from the coldness she craved. No one ever queried her colour choice, reds and yellows – the occasional orange. Brighter, lighter shades to absorb the force.
Days and weeks and months went passed and he never bothered to ask. He saw her on the sidewalk two autumns later.
She didn’t look up.
She was wearing a new sweater.