Yesterday, frost covered the cars parked along the narrow road. Where before they were dusty and derelict waiting somewhat sullenly for day, now, they glittered as if under diamond wraps. Expectant and ready.
My breath smokes as I walk and my footsteps sound louder in the dark. Every step more dramatic, emphatic, an entrance on an echoing stage. In the evening, passersby are less relaxed, everyone is on their way, on a mission. The cafes have retreated, tables that once sprawled across the pavement are stacked and chained. The groups huddled around heaters, shifting feet, collars up and shoulders hunched, turned inward, hoarding their energy, holding on. The streets, like the trees, bare structures now, only the last leaves clinging, holding on to patterns from a season past.
A passing car shifts the dry leaves, the dust, and lost wrappers. I look carefully but although the pattern is new the story is the same.
The cluster of smokers by the tavern door turn as if expecting something, someone else, then turn back with I told you so shrugs before they silently shoulder through the door as one. As if retreating, as if waiting and disappointed once more. Ready and there, and see, I told you so, she never came.
Soon, I think, the winter winds and rain will come.
Soon, calls the dry earth, with a soundless sigh.
Even when we don’t know what we wait for, we turn and hope to see her there. Ready, without knowing, we call for you. Call and listen for an answer to the question, for the question we’re afraid to ask.