Friday, 21 February 2014

The fantasy

The sun sets swiftly. It has been a long time since it dared shine for multiple consecutive hours and having done so defiantly all day, it flees below the horizon and will doubtless shroud itself behind the safety of cloud cover once again tomorrow.

It's so cold. Even at midday, the wind was sharp and the air full of the laggy damp that sinks through your skin and settles in your bones. Now it is bitter. Chill upon chill settling around each living thing; the warm blooded eking out their precious heat while the cold blooded simply fall into a doze after the excitement of the day.

The water laps lazily against the walls of the canal and disgruntled fishermen begin to pack up as the ducks, geese and moorhens return to their nesting spots, terrifying the fish as they do so. Somewhere lurks a fox, its tail fluffed to its fullest, hovering in the hopes that the coming dark will drive the humans indoors once again so he can retrieve food from the dustbins.

She sits alone, as the world sinks into darkness and the warmth fades out of her. She does not shiver or huddle deeper into the thick warmth of the coat she wears, she simply gazes outwards while something in her eyes indicates to anyone who would care to look that she isn't really here.

She isn't listening to the birds as they squabble intermittently about the traffic on their commute; she is offering a drink to a man she admires.

She doesn't see the water rings, mocking the frustrated anglers with signs of fish that are beyond their reach; she is laughing up into the eyes of someone special.

She doesn't feel the cold or the damp; she is wrapped in his warm embrace.

Her expression isn't vacant; instead the barest quivers in the muscles around her face indicate expressions of emotions so deep, intense and real - joy, excitement, demure teasing, even love - they each glimmer then vanish as she moves to the next chapter of her romance. For someone who looks close enough, all these things are there.

For someone who looks deeper, what is even clearer is the fear. The reason she sits on a dark night, outside, where no one else would care to go. The fear is why she is alone right now, the fear is why she doesn't tell anyone.

It's not right, you see. If you're going to be happy, it has to be because of real things. She knows you can't laugh at a joke that no-one ever tells. You can't flirt without someone there to answer back. She knows that if anyone sees her laughing and smiling, happy in her own mind, all alone... she knows, you see. 

She isn't mad. She isn't drunk. She isn't anything to be afraid of.

She is happy in her moments of fantasy and she is celebrating inside her own heart the way her life could be if she were something else. And when she is finished, she will go home and live her life equally happily. 

But she mustn't be caught. No one can ever know.

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