“You are crazy…”
His tone was more worried than blaming. He had been standing there for a while, watching over her from a couple of steps back. She was sitting on the lake’s shore, hiding under her large fur cloak. So very still and silent, she had been waiting there for hours already, waiting patiently, but waiting for what? He couldn’t tell.
He had tried to pull the details of her mysterious sit-in by the glacial waters when he had first found her there, but in vain. The only explanations he had gotten were riddle-like, and confusing to the best.
Feeling totally helpless, all he could do for now was to seek the regular cloud of her breath in the freezing winter air. Flowing from her fur-lined hood, to her right or to her left, depending on the breeze, it was the only sign she hadn’t succumbed to hypothermia… yet.
She was wild, he thought to himself. Wild, unpredictable and stubborn. Possibly crazy too. But he loved her dearly nonetheless. She was an uncut diamond his patient passion was slowly polishing.
He had dealt with many of her absurd obsessions. One day, she had woken up with the certainty she was to learn the language or humming birds. Another time, she had wrapped her arms around the largest oak tree in the forest, convinced it had some wisdom it needed to pass on to her… Each folly eventually wearing off as the hours went by. And she’d eventually run back home, with eyes shinier than he had ever seen them, right into his welcoming arms.
But this time, he was still clueless as for the reason of her retreat by the waters.
Walking a couple of steps closer, to peek at the silhouette of her pointy nose and curled lips, he noticed a detail that suddenly distressed him. Out of the debatable warmth of her fur mantle, her bare feet were dipping in the lake’s freezing waters.
Oh Love, what are you doing there? You’ll freeze to death… This is madness!
In an almost slow-motioned way, she turned her face to him, with a sad look at his obvious lack of understanding. He hated to confront her, but the danger far surpassed his will to let her bond with nature once again.
Worry not, my Darling, she murmured. He could almost read the words in the mist of crisp air escaping her lips… It doesn’t even hurt anymore… The coldness was biting at first, but it is just kind of numb now… Look, the Lake is really welcoming me, frazil is hugging my ankles now!
The idea seemed to excite her. She wouldn’t let go easily, he knew it too well.
Watching the ice indeed forming around the whitened flesh of her bare legs, his thoughts stormed to find the way to outsmart her back home. He had to find the only reason good enough to change her unbending mind.
I can see that, Dearest… But I come from the house. The Fire also required your presence, but it wouldn’t tell me why. And you know how Fire will die if we don’t give it proper care… The Lake will wait for you, I have no fear… But the Fire….
Oh! The look in her eyes switched from excitement to shock. The Fire….
She swiftly pulled her feet from the water. He rushed by her side, taking out his mittens to warm her stiffened skin. Helping her putting her winter boots back on, he reassured her softly.
Yes, Love, let’s save the Fire for today… You know how you like the licking feeling of its flames, right?
Stretching one arm around her shoulders, and slipping the other under her knees, he lifted the frail cloaked silhouette from the ground. And pressing his lips on her cold forehead, he walked back to the house, letting out a sigh of relief…