The air is cold but she pretends it isn't bothering her. She pretends she's enjoying it, even though her skin is textured with contradicting chill bumps. Her breath leaves her nostrils in a low huff, fogging the air before fading away. She passes under multicolored spotlights created by traffic lights and neon shop signs. Her feet move quickly, patting the ground softly in their well-loved slippers.
Cars and motorcycles idle and roll onwards to her left. Brake lights blare and vanish only to reappear again, followed by the harsh squeals of tires and the obnoxiously urgent cries of the horns, mixed with the heavy scent of gasoline and burnt rubber.
She tucks her hands beneath her armpits. She wishes she were home already. Her backpack bounces as she hops off a curb and crosses the street.
She looks up at the sky briefly and, with a saddening feeling, she longs to live in the country. At least, in the country, the sky is black and speckled with stars. But here... She frowns and keeps walking. Electricity has blotted out all trace of the night.
She sees a fast food restaurant claiming to be open 24/7. She hesitates before it, her mouth wet with the prospect of hot coffee. But she walks on, knowing better than to let herself be tempted. As the sun sleeps, so much people. Such things as light bulbs and caffeine try to keep people from their sleeping. But she knows that she needs it, just as she needs to feel the cold fall air instead of the thickly recirculated heated air from within a car. Air is necessary for life, and natural air is best for all. So why choose, when there is a choice, to have what is comfortable or easy, when you could have what is best?
A gust of wind sweeps her hair forward and from the sidewalk leaves spring up and fly away with the wind. She watches the leaves, clenching her teeth to keep them from chattering.
Her eyes lock onto a tree that at first appears to be growing out of the concrete, but in actuality the concrete was merely grown around the tree. She sighs, beholding the tight, wire fence that had been wrapped around the tree during its childhood, now embedded deep into the tree's bark, rusted, corrosive, forever damaging. She touches the ridges and scars with her fingertips, feeling the roughness of the stubbornly sturdy tree and the sudden iciness of the metal wiring. It makes her feel even colder, so she drops her hand. The tree trembles in a light breeze and brown and orange leaves trickle down. She catches one and puts it in her pocket.
She looks for street signs. She is almost home. She hurries on, eagar to take a hot shower and go to bed with her new heated blanket. She knows that that is hypocritical of her, but she pretends she doesn't know. Because deep down, she would rather be comfortable, than not.