A Thousand and One Tomorrows

January 29, 2010
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A boy stood outside a house, his face set like stone, still as the sweet morning clouds that clustered at the far end of the still-blackened sky. He paced on the little porch of this particular house, the soft yellow light of the lantern sitting on the balustrade illuminating his shallow footsteps in the thin layer of snow which hid the thin wooden floor from his view.

After repeating this several times, he took his lantern and walked out onto the frozen lawn. It was cold, and his boots slipped on the ice. The frosty air, once a fierce wind, hung immobile around him, hostile and shifty, but he did not shiver.

The boy called a name into the darkness, and just when it seemed he would be granted no answer, the quiet scrape of a window sliding open and the muffled thump as something slipped out onto the roof caught his ear, and a girl’s face appeared above him, as anticipated.

She jumped from the low roof onto the frozen earth.

They stood close to each other, not hiding their indulgence in each other’s love, though none could tell, for they did not move. The wind, for a single moment, whistled harshly over the slanted roof of the little house, causing the snow to swirl up from its place and curve around their bodies before dying down once more.

He raised his eyes no higher than her delicate ruby lips, watched them as they repeated the same pattern as they did every night.

She watched the pale, sweet sapphires set deep in his eyes as they sparkled and flickered in a darkness like pitch, saw how they did not change as she spoke the words; the same every time.

“Not tonight.”

The hollow words fell heavily from her lips, frozen numbly in space between them, before finally drifting up toward the empty sky.

Then they departed from each other, she back through her window and into bed; he across the lawn and back down the street. And neither mind was disturbed by this emptiness of ritual, for each held firmly to a strong yet unfounded certainty that they would both be back at this time tomorrow.

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