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Summer and Winter
Winter was a lonely girl. It was not her fault that no one happened to be there but her. The only sounds she could hear were the occasional booms of thunder whenever the dark clouds loomed overhead, or the wind whispering through the overgrown grass beneath her bare feet. She could not remember how it happened, but to her, it was always like this: just her, nature, and the glass wall that stretched all the way up to the sky. She had tried to find a way to the other side, but could not. Most of the time, she spent her time watching the surrounding plants wither into an icy mess at her touch. She could not help it; she was Winter. Sometimes, when the sun rose and set about 180 times, she could feel herself become a little warmer and lively. The plants did not wither completely anymore but instead became beautiful hues of red, orange and yellow.
Winter was almost done walking along the stretch of the glass wall. The other side was so close, but so far. She could see the stretch of land but could not reach it. She had tried numerous times to break it, and yet she could not even make a scratch. It was her greatest desire to try to find someone- anyone- and she was almost certain that person would be on the other side, waiting for her to break free. She had seen the wall go off the coast, stretching into nothingness over the endless blue, and she knew she could not bring herself to cross the water. She was too afraid of drowning or getting caught in a storm. The fear kept her on land.
“Tomorrow is the day I will reach the beach.” She murmured to herself as she settled on a heap of moss she had collected. It slowly died away, a frosty white covering it. She could not feel the cold on her pale skin, and instead stared at the starry night sky. Someone was looking at the same sky somewhere on this land. The thought brought a rare smile to her pink lips, and she closed her eyes into a dreamless slumber.
A new sound awoke her. It was not the grass whispering to her, nor was it a clap of thunder. Instead, it was the glass wall’s dull thud made every time she tried to hit it previously. She sat up, pulling out scraps of moss from her black hair as someone greeted her. A person, an actual real person like her, was standing there. She sprang up, her dark eyes excited for the first time as she ran to the wall to greet him. His hair was golden, like the sun’s warm rays, and his eyes as blue as the sky. He had a welcoming smile, and she watched as his lips moved to form words she could not hear. She felt crestfallen at the loss, shaking her head and pointing at her ears.
“I can’t hear you!” She cried out, and he c***ed his head, evidently startled at the discovery. He frowned, before picking up the tree branch he must have been using earlier to hit the glass. She sighed, watching his futile attempts to reach her. He was so fresh in her eyes, so new and inviting. She had finally met another person, but here was the wall preventing her from reaching the other side. She held her hand up to the glass, longing to touch him. He stopped his merciless beating, beads of sweat rolling down his face, and took a step towards the wall. His large hand was outstretched, reaching for her tiny one. Under his feet, the plants thrived and the blades of grass leaned towards him. Winter already could feel ground around her wither into a frosty mess. His hand finally reached the glass, and for the first, time she felt human warmth. Somehow, it reached her, and her heart swelled with joy. He smiled at her sadly, the regret at the inability to meet her. The glass between their hands melted slightly, just enough for Winter to feel the heel of her hand dig into the glass. Her eyes widened in pleasant surprise, and she let go of the glass to pick up a fallen twig and try her best to write on the ground.
“‘The glass melts between our hands.’” She saw the boy mouth the words, his eyes thoughtful. He broke off a piece of his tree branch and began a messy scrawl in the ground. She was buzzing with excitement at the thought of being able to talk to someone finally. She waited for him to finish, and squinted her eyes to decipher his handwriting.
“‘What’s your name?’” She smiled wryly, before pointing at the frost at her feet. She knew he had seen it earlier, judging at how he must have spotted the icy moss she had fallen asleep ont.
I’m Winter. He nodded, before writing that she had a lovely name. Something in her empty heart stirred at his words, and she could almost feel a tear slip out from the joy at finally meeting him, at meeting anyone. She gestured for him to introduce himself, and a lopsided smile formed on his face.
I’m Summer. Summer. The name sounded so foreign, but so pretty at the same time. He sat down on the grass, his hands reached out once again, determination set in his eyes to try to break the wall. She sat opposite of him, carefully placing her palm against his own. The warmth was there. Was this what Summer felt like? She smiled at him, and he stuck his tongue out, making a silly face for her entertainment. Somehow in the divided silence, she felt comfortable with Summer. It was as if she was waiting for him and only him this whole time. As the day went on, the pair forcefully learned how to read each other’s lips as they spoke.
My arms hurt. Winter winced at the throbbing pain in her arm. Despite the sun starting to set, there was hardly a visible dent in the glass. Summer nodded in agreement, although she noticed his eyes were directed more on her face than anything else. It was as if he were still in awe of her existence, as she was with his.
You’re very pretty. She blushed, unsure of what the rush of heat to her cheeks meant. She wanted to tell Summer that he was handsome too, and that she wanted to know what his voice was like. Would it be like the warm feeling that tingled at the tips of her fingers when it was against his? She wanted to know what it would feel like to actually hold his hand. What was this blooming feeling in her heart?
Summer? Have you met anyone before? Despite not quite knowing him, she did not know how to deal with any intruder on their friendship. She wanted to be selfish with him and not let anyone take him away from her. She wanted to break through the glass and be with him forever.
There’s no one else here. She felt guilty at her previous thoughts when read his words, but relaxed slightly, and sent Summer a small smile. Soon the sun set, it’s bloody streaks of color fading into violet and indigo, and eventually the dark stretch of stars reappeared. Winter and Summer had retired for the day, instead making small talk and trying to wrap their minds around the fact that now loneliness was gone. Winter was afraid that she would not appear as bright to Summer, especially because she lacked his glowing aura. Summer seemed to take no notice, instead cheerfully heaping up grass into a mound for his sleeping spot. He had placed it next to the glass wall, and faced her as he lied down. She finished building her own nest of greens before facing him too. He had already fallen asleep, his mouth slightly open. She relaxed visibly at the sight of his worry- free face.
Good night Summer. And thank you for finally finding me.
The days passed and the routine stayed. The pair spent their time trying to melt the wall and talking about themselves. Summer, she found out, loved being in the water and running free. He loved watching the grass spring up beneath his feet, and promised to find her the prettiest flower when they could finally meet. Summer learned more about Winter too: how she never felt cold but was lonely before she met him. How she could freeze anything, and enjoyed playing with snowflake shapes. She promised him they when snow fell in the near future, she would teach him how to build snowmen and forts. Days were spent together, and nights were spent just as intimately. Summer found out that Winter preferred the slightly spongy texture of moss, despite that it would turn frosty. Winter learned that Summer would wake up periodically to make sure she was not a dream.
About 180 sun rises and sunsets happened before the wall thinned considerably. Winter felt herself smile at the accomplishment as the sun set for the day. She watched Summer pick up his grass bedding, before returning in front of her.
“The sky is beautiful,” she heard him say. He was not facing her, making it impossible for her to have read his lips. It was the tiniest of voices, but it sounded astoundingly familiar already. His voice was deep, like a clear pond on a hot day. It was as perfect as she made it out to be in her mind.
“Summer,” she called out softly, and he froze. She could tell he finally heard her voice, and he looked up with an amazed expression, his blue eyes that she grew to love widened in shock. “I like your voice a lot.” He gaped at it, his mind unable to register that it was indeed her voice he was listening to.
“Winter! I can hear you! Finally,” he let out a content sigh as he laid down in front of her. “I was curious how your voice would sound. It’s just as pretty as the snow falling when it gets cold.” That night, they fell asleep, excited for what the next day would bring them.
“Good morning, Summer!” Winter hollered in glee. He was still fast asleep, and he only began to stir after she tapped on the glass wall a few times. She found him endearing in the morning, when he was still unable to properly wake up. He rubbed the sleep out of his eyes, before turning to her with a lopsided smile.
“Good morning, Winter.” They went back to their routine, this time being able to relish the feeling of being heard. For the first time that Winter could remember, someone was finally listening to her. She clung onto every word Summer would say, and was recharged with hope to one day be united with him.
It took another 185 sun rises and sunsets before a large enough hole was made for Winter to crawl through, her tiny frame barely making it. As she stood up, the first thing she realized was that it was done. She was finally standing in front of Summer. She had seen him with the glass wall in between, but in person she could feel her heart flutter. He was much taller than she had expected, to the point where her head was tilted backwards just to look at his eyes. She wanted to embrace him, but somehow she was scared.
He took the first step towards her, his long arms extended, and she ducked in. She wanted to know if his hands were as warm as they felt across the glass, if his embrace would be as loving as she had imagined it to be. As she allowed her arms to wrap around him, she finally felt home.
“I love you,” she blurted out. He let go quietly, his eyes fixated on her face. She could not see him clearly, and she wondered if it was her vision failing out of excitement. She realized that it was not; it was that they were vaporizing at the touch. She flinched, taking a step back.
“I love you too,” he said, his eyes showing his longing to reach her. “We waited so long for this, but fire and ice don’t mix well.” She felt her eyes water, and struggled to contain the tears. It did not work, and they began to leak, tiny snowflakes fluttering out, only to melt in his presence. And they stood there, watching each other. The ache to reach each other was strong, but the uncertainty between them was stronger. Finally, it broke, and they ran forward, hugging each other one last time before they became one cloud together, eventually swept away by the spring breeze.