Winter comes and the people huddle, there are three days to Christmass. I never liked it in the first place. I did not hate it, or even disked it.
But it never made much sense to me that in the middle of the cold season people liked to celbrate. I have heard something about the astronomical return of the sun. It coming back to greet us, from either the lower or upper horizon depending of course on your latitude.
She was by candlelight waxing the ornamnets, old baubles that people tack onto every year. For some reason the same people like to put Nativity scenes where Christ is born on a stable, no such mention of a stable is made on the Bible, but whatever.
I shuffled through the newspapery Time magazine, same old, wars and shit, and deaths, and some lacquered cheer.
She was almost over, stretching her delicate fingers, cradling up her swan neck and almost hugging the tree to place the star above it.
I got up and walked to her side. "Having trouble?"
"It's done," she said. And both our fingers touched at their meeting point on the top of the tree, criscrossing each other like tarantula legs. She peeked at me with a coquettish smile through the heavy foliage.
I was like a clumsy twelfe-year old girl. So I quickly turned around, and she playfully circled to the other side.
She kept on dodging me, 'til I grabbed her by the blouse. She immediatley went crashing to the ground. But I grabbed her by the tummy, and we both went launghing and rolling down into the couch.
She put her hands on my behind, I on her abdomen, such was the tangle of limbs we were in. We cuddled together in that strange position at the intersection of the couch's side and back.
After a while she got tired of me being in top of her. So we turned and faced each other.
"Why are you smiling? she asked me.
"No reason, just looking at you makes me feel silly."
"Yep, must be something in that face of yours."
And she kissed me, and I kissed her, and I remembered the smell of the strange Christamssy things of the night when I met her. I thought of the permeating cold of the evening, right where coolness crosses into discomfort.
But I do remember seeing her for the first time, feeling my heart skip a beat, the warm wrapping my chest; the awful feeling that makes you worry it is going to pop out of you, because it feels like something was going to bite it and your heart decided to move without your consent.
I saw her by the window inside the café, talking to the teenaged boy at the counter.
I must talk to her, I thought.
But I stood there frozen, like a stupid animal about to be eaten by a whale. One killer whale and a wandering foolish cub in its last moments, that was for some reason in the middle of the beach.
And off she was. I felt ever more stupid, incredibly dumb.
"What a moron, losing the oppurtunity to talk to the girl with the dimpled—" I said to myself.
I said to myself and didn't speak more, because she was by my side.
"I asked, do you mind if I sit with you here?" she asked me.
I nodded, and she grabbed and moved the light and tall metal chair in fluid motion.
She stared at me.
"Heh, I thought here, that I would be the one that would look for you."
"Really? What for…"
"Jenna." She continued.
"Well, I usually don't see other people with a bag full of plaster and aprons in the midlle of coffeshops." I said.
"Oh, that," she said pointing to the bag on her feet.
"That's a friend's I was the one who was being sculpted."
She didn't seem like a person who had just been covered in plaster.
"It was my torso," she explained, "and I just took a shower," she said answering my unspoken question. "I am the one who's going to paint it."
"A statue of you?" I asked.
"Yup, my boyfr—" the vowels and sounds slurred. I felt my heart skip again, screaming the word "traitor."
She continued to talk about her scultping class and the project they were making for uni. But I just stood there, unmoving again, the whale has been harpooned by the hunter, but not before she had left me for death.
She asked me what my major was, I told her I had already graduated. And I kept asnwering her questions. And then so she left.
I stayed in the café 'til midnight in November, when the moon looked over the town the smallest in the year, for whatever reason.
I have gotten over it. I thought.
I then parsed at the squiggles in my notebook.
And when the months passed I was here.
She was moving the firelogs with a poker. Three hours after our wild encouter.
She asked me.
"I was thinking when I first met you and you were dating that guy, the one of the scupture you two made together."
"Really?" she said with a yuck expression all over her face.
"It was awful," she said remebering the thing. "It broke in the middle and everything, just right after I had finished painting it."
"Oh," I said, "and here I thought you liked it. I was planning in even making you one."
"Really?" she arched her eyebrow. "And silly me, I was wondering what that mannequin-shaped present was."
I looked at the thing, nestled in its own little pile of brightly covered plastic boxes.
"How did you even get the shape Miss Sculptor?"
Her actual gift was safely tucked where she wouldn't ever find it.
"Oh, your ex has your figure well-documented. I just had to drop by to ask him where he kept you."
After that night I immediately took a class in the thing. I don't know why. Maybe I was hoping to meet another girl like her.
I remember feeling the heat that comes from the plaster when you worked on it. My sculptures were horrible Betelgeusian things, but I knew how to draw, so eventually I got better.
She dropped her glance to the floor.
"I gotta tell you something important," she said in a quiet sort of tone.
Even if you washed your hands it sometimes left them feeling dry.
"But I don't know if you will like it, Jenna." At this moment she had moved closer to the fire, and had her back to me.
I made some tiger hybrid thing, some ridiculous feral chimera from something the creators of Fist of the North Star might come up.
We went to the same contest, and I got assigned thirty places afar. Still, her scultpure cracked on top of my foot and broke it.
Her silhouette lips moved in the yellow keylight, her voice cracked. And I got closer.
I came back around her, tears were slowly tracing her sweet cheeks.
"I am going." She said.
"I am so sorry." She said. She had said that both times, the day I truly met her for the first time, the day she was going away forever.
"No." I threw a bucket full of water on the thing. She shouted and as the steam came up I grabbed her in embrace.
"No. No." I said no, no, no. She said yes, yes yes, shaking her head, moving her hair and crying like a baby.
The steam rose, the embers cracked, and I hugged her as if she was the last person on Earth.
"I won't let you go."
"But you have to, I have to."
On the moonlight and clouds through the windows light poured; the embers glowed.
"And by the glint of the rings above you," I said and she looked up with her tear-stained face and sad quivering lips. She looked like a bundle of pure fright and held tension, ready to give over in despair.
She clutched me, I looked at her and wiped my eyes with my sleeve, and she kissed me.
Kissed me under the soft shine of the jeweled hanging rings.