You know when you find something from years ago that you don’t remember writing whatsoever? I vaguely remember this – like most things I write, it came from a dream but I have long since forgotten the specifics. I’m sure the details that I wrote from my nightstand in the middle of the night are in some notebook in a box in my closet somewhere, but I may just opt to give this a bit of a different life. Or perhaps it’ll play on in my dreams where it probably belongs.
The barn looked cherry red amongst the pristine white of the newly fallen snow. She hadn’t really noticed the brilliance of it before that crisp morning. The cold wasn’t bitter, but an incoming storm promised a change in the soft kiss that hit her cheeks. She followed his clean footprints to the edge of the clearing, up and down the small hills that eventually led down to the road. His navy blue coat almost blended in with the tree branches behind him. He turned his head slightly upon hearing her feet crunch in along the snow drifts. As she approached, she noticed his muscles tense, the worry in his eyes becoming more and more apparent. She stopped a couple of paces away from him, observing every little movement.
She stared at his hair, the longer strands whipping across his forehead in the cold wind. He didn’t want to look at her, but she silently begged for that contact one last time. She cautiously walked to him, lifting her hand up to his cheek. He flinched, her warm touch raising his skin. He didn’t say a word. She let out a small laugh under her breath and broke the silence. “Do you remember when you first came into my room all those years ago? The little boy from the garden.” He didn’t say anything, but closed his eyes at the fondness of the memory. It stung each synapse that once fired so brightly upon seeing her.
The snow began to fall in heavy flakes now, blankets forming on their shoulders and hair. He was so still, as if frozen in time. She wished with her entire heart that it were true.
“Please…” she finally whispered, fighting back a choking cry.
“You know that I can’t,” he finally answered gruffly. “It was stupid of me to come here, to see you. I need to go–the door will be closing soon.” He turned to leave but she grabbed his gloved hand. He was warm. He had always been so warm. He pulled away but didn’t leave.
“That’s you in there, don’t you realize that?”
“That is not me. I’m right here, flesh and bone and soul. I’m…” he paused to swallow the regret. “I’m just-” He shook the snow from his hair, clouds of breath escaping his lips. Despite the strong scent of the pine, all she could take in was the scent of his world, a combination of cedar leaves and lightning.
Tears began forming in the corners of her eyes. They would soon form miniature icicles on her eyelashes. “I don’t know what you want me to say. What do you want from me?”
He squared his shoulders forward, masking the wound she just inflicted. He stuffed his hands in the pockets of his coat, holding the lapels closer to his chest. He stole a glance of her; her brown hair caught in the wisps of the north wind, her brown eyes glowing and prominent like a wolf tearing his soul apart. “I wanted you, that’s all. That was everything.”
He turned away from her and darted into the clearing. She wanted to follow, but knew that she couldn’t. Her time in that world had run out.