She cannot be reached. I have tried, oh believe me, I have tried.
She is defensive. She hides behind barriers, she is impermeable.
I have seen her, striding purposefully along the city streets, head held high, gaze fixed firmly on the middle distance. She never makes eye contact, ignores the hesitant smiles of baristas, waiters and newspaper vendors. She is ice, personified.
Or is she? Her breath quickens now and again, as if a thought has penetrated, as if her fertile imagination has flooded her mind with colour and light.
I am needy, I confess. I want her to be thinking of me. Just me.
Routine is whisked away on the winds roaring outside, battering the trees, rattling the windows, bruising the very fabric of the earth. So it has been, for decades.
My days (used to) consist of the familiar, the mundane. Draw water from the well, feed the goats and chickens, wash, eat breakfast, read, write, nap, eat… No different than most, these days. We eke out our existence in isolated homesteads tens of miles apart. A joy before, a chore in these times. I crave companionship. I do not wish to rot here, alone. My mind is a hard taskmaster.
You arrived, unknown and unannounced. Nobody had mentioned you on my last monthly trip round the vicinity. The advent of a stranger does not go unnoticed, does not happen cloaked in silence. Our lives are so predictable, it’s what passes for excitement.
The mists shrouded the house, as if to keep your presence a secret. You stood, framed in my doorway, backlit by an ethereal, muted grey light. You are dressed entirely in black. A cloak, a brimmed hat, sturdy boots.
I gave you shelter, because that’s how we survive, helping one, helping all. Isolation, division and distrust serve no purpose in these times.
You said little. I am used to silence within these four walls. I felt no urge to fill the void for I am gifted in this strength of character. You will tell what is necessary, when the time comes.
And the time has come. And the time is now. I must reciprocate. The urge to do so is intense – it overwhelms me. The air has shifted.