The sun was about to set. If you could see past the blinding streetlights, it would be possible to make out the blue hue – dawn’s cloak awaiting the emerging stars. From where she stood however, they never shone. Their lights never quite managed to squeeze through the skyscrapers. All her attempts at squinting and concentrating were thwarted by the noises of the passing traffic – the busses, cars, rickshaws, and unforgiving pedestrians, some of whom never passed up the chance to grimace when she sought their help.
The years had made her resilient. It seems as though the winter cold didn’t pinch as hard as it did the first time. The summers would have been lovely but the increase in faces to check ensured that she never got to bask in the day’s glory: that was all for a life she had left behind long ago – they were the shards of person she half remembered. Those were the days when her face glowed, the tips of her fingers felt like a rainbow, and her sole like silk. Her hopes were then built on the dream she carried within, a dream that she lost as quickly as it emerged.
She no longer stood like she used to. Her legs had grown weary from the earlier days when the lampposts applauded her determination. After a million faces, she was assured that the same people walked in those streets, and would only get up when she thought she saw someone new coming. They were like a cascade of blurs that let her know how much of the day had passed by how quickly they walked. Morning and evening were too similar at times and she found that she had slept through some of the grey days and woken up at night.
She ate when the night commanded that the streets be scarce. Crumbs usually; pieces of whatever she had been able to gather while at her post. There were half eaten sandwiches, cold chips, and occasionally, when someone had mistaken her for a beggar and dropped a coin or two, coffee. She had become accustomed to the consistent hum of hunger and in her own way had managed to harness its persistence. But like most things from her past, food had lost it’s appeal; its colors and tastes were as distant as the dream she had all but lost.
She can still remember his little fingers, clasped over her index and middle. His scarf, wrapped around her neck, still carried his scent and with it the months when they shared a heart replayed: they had come here to get him a new one for the coming winter. Constantly she replays the minutes between him letting go and her waking up. They told her he was gone, and that he had taken two of her summers with him.
She knew he wasn’t: the street that took him would, in its own time and with its own summers, bring him back.