is writing her first novel
Now it is evening and the breeze has a hint of warmth and chamomile as I walk along the path that tracks the silted river. The blossoms on the trees that line the boulevard above look untidy now, a litter of pink fluff turning to sludge. I don’t think about what happens after blossoms; I savor this moment.
As I continue my walk home from the academy someone joins me and now we are walking abreast. I glance sideways, but still focusing on the path ahead, and see this tall boy who looks vaguely familiar. I realise it is you. You are walking beside me.
“Hello”, your smile warms me; I feel your cool, blue eyes bathing me in love. Your fingers brush the back of my hand. Did you plan that? Of course not. Impossible. But now we are holding hands, your grip firm and sure, covering my smaller hand in yours like a mitten. We have done this before and it feels safe.
The path veers to the right, away from the river and across a green expanse of lush grass, ending at a new path that spreads in two directions away from each other. Every evening as we reach this point, our hands slide apart and we go in different directions. As the path ends my hand relaxes. This is where you turn left and I turn right, our fingers lingering for the briefest moment.
But that’s not what happened last night. Now I remember. You didn’t let go. You pulled me back. What happens next in that scenario? I can’t imagine; have not been taught to imagine. And then you asked me, “Why?” as I pulled away, the softness of my fingers too elusive for you to hold. But I just hurried down my pathway towards home.
“Why.” I can’t find the words to answer your question, at least not in a way that still honors the code. The tide ebbs and flows but the river remains unchanged. You are the one who ebbs. My job is to flow.
And now we are here again, you are tugging on my hand and when I pull away you follow. I feel the moment of panic. My mind veers away from the future and focuses on the familiar. You are walking beside me. It is only the path that is different.
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