I couldn’t help it. My lower lip trembled, so I bit it to stop that revealing motion, and to prevent myself from – what? What next? Sobbing aloud? Shrieking?
We were parted. Separated. Torn from each other. My heart hurt. It was all too abrupt. I wouldn’t do this; couldn’t live this way.
I remembered the places we went, together. Foreign lands, marketplaces and bazaars crowded with strangely-dressed people and unintelligible words muttered or shouted, the entrancing smell of exotic spices on the hot breezes … unseen bells tinkling and merchants hurriedly unfurling yet another rug in front of a customer while other shoppers jostled and pushed when necessary to get through the human blockade. Brass pots glinting in the sunlight, silk scarves tossed in careless heaps of radiant colors and the food vendors all but pushing some delicacy into my hands.
Then bitter cold; we struggled through snow piled in sullen drifts while the wind clawed at our faces and forced us to keep our heads down as we trudged, blindly trusting the barely-marked path we were on did indeed lead to shelter. I gasped for breath; a wild sound in the twilight matched its notes against the ferocity of the wind – and a wolf was in full cry. I shuddered and tried to walk faster; my boots weighed down with a heavy burden of ice. Could a limb be wrested from a half-dead tree and set afire with the few matches I had in an inner pocket? Would an improvised torch stop such a cunning adversary? What choice did I have?
Suddenly a shopping bag slammed the backs of my knees and a murmured apology brought me back to where I was standing in front of a bookstore window. I’d been gazing, openly coveting rows upon rows of new books, lavishly displayed in all their printed promises of hidden treasures. Dreaming of plots unknown and characters not yet met. Lovely, crisp new books; the smell of ink and heavy paper. Word upon word.
But I had no time to read now. None. And so, it was – farewell. Goodbye, my lost love. Goodbye.