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Surprisingly, the mornings hold chill in the air, so when I wake there is little heat to bother me with. I sigh and throw back the covers, ignoring all the things of yesterday, simply discarded. I unwrap my arms from around my legs that were in turn pulled to my chest, untying myself. I believe that things have to work out eventually and I was willing to wait that long. That is what I keep repeating to myself.
Lurching out of bed and down the hall, into the kitchen, where I grab a half an apple, the other half I ate yesterday for breakfast, I try to unbury my head. The sky is gray, and the clouds extend over the mountains, a heavy curtain across the sky, promising cool temperatures. My mood lifts and I hurriedly eat my breakfast, then back to the bathroom, brushing my teeth and hair and then letting the cold water soak my hands for a few moments. Then back to the bedroom, for one moment relishing the cold from the fan and then dressing quickly in a shorts sleeve and a knee length, flowing skirt. Determination flows through my fingertips, making everything work better. The door opens smoothly, rather than the normal struggle.
I walk back and grab my keys and out the door I go. I make it down to the end of my block before I realize that I have no idea where to search or even if I am at the right city. I feel myself once again being diverted, letting myself find reasons why I couldn’t, shouldn’t, or wouldn’t try. I see myself on this same corner, looking for reasons not to in three years, in ten years and in twenty.
So I gather myself up, making sure not to drop anything and walk off the curb and into the street. I hadn’t, however, looked for cars and so the loud beep and sudden force pushing me sideways was enough to completely disorient me. My legs crumble on me and I fly to my right. My head connects with the concrete, pain spreading, flowing from that spot, making my vision go first white and then dark. I hear a car door slam and rapid footsteps.
“Oops.” Is the last thing I hear, uttered by a girlish, low voice.
When I wake I am lying, rather uncomfortably on a couch. Someone is prodding me, pushing something cold against my head. I open my eyes with difficulty, trying to push away the smoky fog that is insistent on covering my eyes over with its web. I see a face. Of course, that description is rather inaccurate because what was in front of me couldn’t be described as a face at all but rather a work of art, an angel that had woken up and walked straight out of a painting. I bat the girl’s tiny hand away as she presses the ice pack on to my head. She sighs in relief.
“God, I thought I had killed you. I don’t think he would like that very much, not now.” He voice is surprisingly gravely, strange coming from such a perfect face. Her hair is white and shining, her huge eyes green, slanting upwards, feline. Her features are small and perfect. A tiny, slightly upturned nose under a wide, cupids bow mouth. The girl is so unspeakably lovely, breathtakingly gorgeous.
“I am Chloe” The name didn’t quite fit her. Something like “Hello, I am perfect, what’s your name?” would have been extremely more fitting. It is slightly strange that she doesn’t ask mine.
“There was a stop sign you know.” My voice is hard to find, every word a war, trying to make sound.
“I know. I don’t see it. Jesus, it isn’t such a big deal.” Her face drops half into shadow as she says this, her voice gaining a slightly miffed tone. “And it didn’t work anyway.” She mumbles.
“What?” I say, sharply. But she shakes her head innocently and goes back to pouting.
I try to say something in my defense like “Sorry I am makings such a big deal. After all you only hit me with your car.” But the only thing that can surface is a blip of a moan, slipping through my lip’s cage faster than I can catch it.
“Do you want to go to the hospital?” She asks, more loudly. She makes this sound like an unreasonable request, against the rules. I can barely groan.
The black washes once again over my eyes but I don’t lose consciousness, just sight. I wonder how I even got here? Chloe could not have moved me. She was tall but far to thin, a waif. There was not way she could lift me, even as small as I was becoming. She sighs and searches for something, her fair hair twinkling over my face then picks something up. I hear a small click followed by several buttons being pushed and a phone ringing.
“Why won’t she just....” She trails off her as the phone continues to ring.
“S***. He always forgets his phone.” She sighs and clicks her phone shut.
Chloe gets up and crosses the room to the source of the ringing. She begins to make another call. I started to fear that I was losing consciousness again, felt the sound fading away, slipping through dark waters, unable to find the surface and rather enjoying the sensation of falling, celestial footsteps left behind. She stands over me, her hair once again tickling me and she starts mumbling and gently touching my curious aches and pains, my head last. The pain drifts away separately now, the burning stopping at last. Cold returns to me as uncomfortable comfort.
However it seemed that I was not losing consciousness because in no more than a breath I was laying, deposited in a heap on concrete with the feeling of falling side ways.
I look around and see that I am lying on the curb of where I had just been hit. No sign of a car, no mysterious Chloe. I felt fine, except for a few bruises and cuts. I could have sworn that I had broken my legs but here I was, in a heap on the sidewalk, feeling almost nothing. I wondered if Chloe even was real. Closing my eyes, I lean back, looking up at the sky and marveling at how very deserted the street is. No cars or people. Mid afternoon storms had chased away most people and the sky looked particularly moisture filled today, but instead of ducking for cover I look at the furious sky.
The sun’s position is the only proof I have that time had passed between my accident, Chloe and losing consciousness. The day is nearly gone. This is the only proof that I had spent the day passed out on Chloe’s couch. I sigh. The first raindrop hits my cheek, tasting like watermelon and sunshine as it slides down my face to my lips. I don’t have the energy to get up. I dart my tongue out for more, liking their taste.
Sun is filtering through the clouds, making everything look old fashioned and golden, remnants of a memory rather than real. The way you remember old childhood memories, clearly but somehow aged, like you had forgotten what it was like to see things when you were small. The rain comes faster now, the sun still shining though, making cold rain down on my face. I hear footsteps, running, coming towards me. I don’t turn my face but rather relish the feeling of the gold rain on my face and the sight of the glorious sky. The footsteps sound strange. They sound unusual, faster, almost a whir. I am finally persuaded to tilt my head in their direction and I see him. His black hair, almost transparent through the rain and sun. He wears a strange expression of panic and anger, fighting between collapse and screams. He runs faster and he grows closer quicker than I can comprehend. He is at my side in an illogically rapid time. I have no expression on my face but I know how odd I must look, awkwardly lying in the middle of the sidewalk, each my legs pointing in opposite directions.
He kneels down and he hesitantly picks up my left arm and presses two fingers to the inside of my wrist and counts. With every pulse beat he seems to calm, seems to loosen the wrinkles in his brow with every rhythm. I watch, silent as he checks that I am still living and pumping blood. It looks like he could be crying but the gold rain masks everything, flowing over so emotion is washed from his face, catching light and twisting his features into every feeling: anger sadness, happiness and relief, changing as fast as the shadows.
He was gorgeous. The light reflected off high, angled cheekbones, a thin nose, and perfect green eyes, familiar in size, shape and color. They were exact copies of Chloe’s eyes. In fact, his face was an equally, if not a more beautiful, masculine version of Chloe’s face. His hair however is her opposite, cropped at the neck, straight, and night sky black.
“Are you hurt?” He asks in a voice almost metallic, lovely and inhuman, like wind on ice rather than something manufactured by a living person.
I continue to stare, uncomprehending. Was I all right? Finally I realize the need to speak.
“No, I good, I mean I am good.” I feel warm, the heat flowing into my veins from where he touches me, lovely rather than oppressive. I feel fine, human, well. No, better than well. My cold is gone as I see his green eyes, burning away my constant chill. He removes his fingers from my wrist and the warmth decreases leaving me feeling only slightly feverish. He offers me his hand and as I take it the heat returns. I breathe deeply, taking in the smell of the rain that I had yet to notice, making the sunlight brighter. I rejoice in the heat that I had never had. He lets go quickly, stepping back, a wary look in his eyes.
“You are fine?” His voice is the exact same sound of afternoon laughter, that almost amused and relieved sound that means the day has gone well. I hadn’t known those days.
“Yes, thank you.” And I was, strangely, getting hit by a car and then being rained on didn’t seem bad at all, it seemed lucky, fateful.
“Let me escort you to your home. Where is it?” He says this looking over his shoulder, down the street, at a car coming down very fast down the street.
“Just down the block and there is no need. Really, I am fine.” He just takes my waist and wraps his arm around it, securing me to him and walking fast, keeping me from stumbling.
As the car drives by, a white slash of hair twists out the window and a laugh twitters out, a scorching sound. I catch sight of Chloe face, a smug smile twisting her features. His arm tightens briefly around my waist and he pauses, looking intensely at the car as it flies by and then at me, his arms burning into mine, ceasing my pulse momentarily. He looks away again, and drags me on, slower. He doesn’t loosen his grip and I smile deliriously at the heat and comfort. The beautiful boy deposits me at last to my door, after I mumbled something about the second floor and my room number. He stands and waits to make sure I have my key, arms folded, watching my every move. But for what? When at last my door opens and I stumble in he quickly pulls the door shut and in the time that it took my to yank the door open again he is gone, disappeared. The ray of light that I was basking in was suddenly gone.
The hallway is empty again. And the coldness is returning like a chronic sickness, thought to have been beaten but sliding easily once more into place. I must have weakened in the short presence of comfort because it almost feels painful, tendrils of cold everywhere. Not sure how to manage it I shut the door again, shifting the dead bolt into place and leaning against the wall, sliding down and hunching over, desperate to keep some heat, grappling at the last reserves of his, the unknown angel’s, heat. The boy whose name I don’t know, who made the rain gold and warmed me. That heat weakened me, made me vulnerable to the crushing power of my chill, a wave that I can’t ride, a storm I can’t weather. So I slump forward and let the cold have me, wishing for the numb that was my life before I tasted other things.
It was dark before I re emerged, pulling myself together. I woke to the knowledge that another day had passed and that I was another day to nowhere.