To the night, to the trees

I am eighteen.

It’s summer.

I have just finished a closing shift and am walking home because I have no patience to sit around and wait for the night bus.

My legs are tired after eight hours on my feet, but walking feels good; I am exorcising the ache from my limbs.

The sidewalk is shaded by old elms that whisper to each other in the late-night breeze.

The moonlight is splintered by these long-armed giants, so my path is guided by the soft glow of the streetlamps.

It always feels so much more romantic than I think it should.

I take off my tie, and unbutton the top of my blouse.

Roll up my pants.

I like the feel of the light breeze along my collarbones, my bare wrists.

And I think of a boy.

I imagine him saying my name.

When I get home I change into clothes as light as air.

My bedroom is still hot from the now-lost sunshine; the memory of its heat has settled, and nestled itself in every nook.

A phantom warmth.

I open the windows as far as they will reach. I take a deep breath, and smell the sweet scent of night.

My sister is away for the weekend, so I am alone.

In the kitchen I look at the photos taped to the fridge; it’s like my family has been blown far and away by Aeolus’ winds, and my heart tweaks.

I make peppermint tea, and sit in the quiet of the living room. My cat Sophie perched at the window sill, her copper eyes brilliant, but still.

She too is listening to the whispering trees.

I want to pick up the phone and talk.

I would like to talk to the boy.

Feel his hand on mine.

Time passes.

My tea cools, and my eyelids start to droop.

I leave my mug, half-drunk on the floor.

As I walk about to my bedroom I realize I have once again forgotten to water the plants.

Tomorrow, I think.

My room is cool, and smells of silence.

I close the window, but not entirely. A sliver of moonlight shines through my curtains – a bolt of lightning etched into the centre of my bed.

Under the blankets I let out a small sigh.

Tomorrow I will eat cherries for breakfast, I whisper.

To the boy.

To the night.

To the trees.