"The hospital called," she said mildly, making eye contact with me despite her doing her best to avoid making eye contact.
I felt a pit rise and fall below my ribcage as my shoulders sagged just a bit. "It'll be okay," she followed, noting my body language and the sideward glance of my eyes before they reached the floor and then the wall.
I wondered where this all stems from, why it all happens, and I can't -- not for the life of me -- discern if it is an ugly, repulsive vampire I invited inside before she revealed her true self. I felt the clock change from across the room, and it was time for me to find answers.
Silently, between glances, I grabbed and tied a scarf around me, carelessly rolling my pen between my left fingers absently. She cocked her head to one side, in a downward diagonal perch, and before I could muster the courage to go to her, I was buttoning a coat, sensing my keys in my left pocket, weighing on my leg, and feeling the cold air rush across my ears and my forehead and my knees and the empty pavement.
I walked for three blocks before I wondered where I was going. The sky, a rainbow of indigo, black, blue and emptiness, featured few stars and was largely obscured by the dried, wilting leaves dancing in the breeze precariously before their final journey downward.
Somewhere I heard sirens and I instinctively turned to see the flashing lights that accompanied them through the cold, nearly abandoned street. Suddenly, as I felt the phone vibrating in my outside pocket, I remembered that this journey of mine had a beginning, a middle and an end, and I realized that I wasn't alone. I pulled the phone from my pocket and knew before I looked who it was. I turned and walked back and wordlessly let go, knowing she would be there no matter what, and we met in the middle and stayed there for what seemed like hours.
As we got ready to get into bed, I noticed the windows were open. A few steps and intention and they closed, keeping the winter at bay for as long as possible. We both breathed quietly before we finally fell asleep, her on my shoulder, my head aching, and the air -- dancing shadows, the smell of fresh linen -- teasing me as I finally surrendered.