Please don’t stand me up…
The whispered words floated out of her pink lips, wrapped in cotton candy-like fog. The air was crisp, but the coldness didn’t affect her. It was the doubt that made her hands shake uncontrolably. She twisted and bended her fingers through her thick mittens, watching the sun going down on the horizon.
Was he watching her from afar? Very unlikely, since there were no buildings to hide in or behind, anywhere in sight. Still, she worried that this was just a test to see if she would show up. She considered walking up the trail leading back home, but her feet didn’t feel like moving just yet.
Winter had chased all the leafs away, but the previous night’s snow had stuck to the tall tree branches. Their shadows were now stretching around her own, like an intricate web on the immaculate field. She felt trapped. She knew she could escape on her own, but she wished to be saved…
Had she understood well, or had the baker just fooled her? If only she had a writen letter to hold in her hands, proving he had really set this meeting. But there was only this strange, cryptic message to rely on. Maybe he wasn’t standing her up after all. Maybe she had just missinterpreted the words.
Yes. It had been so long since he had disappeared from the village, that she was prompt to see a glimpse of hope in the littlest of details.
A tear ran down her cheek, leaving a frozen trail on her skin. She wasn’t angry, nor really sad. But disappointment was just as painful. She brushed her woolen mitten across her face, there would be plenty of time to cry later, while feeding logs in her stone fireplace. The flames wouldn’t warm her soul, but they would keep her little house enlighened through the night.
She had to leave now, before the darkness set in the forest. She couldn’t take the chance to get lost on her way back to the village.
Still lost in her thoughts, she hadn’t heard the crunching of the snow behind her. She was stunned to discover a tall shadow lying next to hers on the field’s snow. Spinning around, she held her breath when she saw a silhouette she recognized all too well.
She wanted to talk but her lips were sealed. Her whole body was shaken with nervous tremors as he walked the couple of feet still separating them. Bending forward, he wrapped his arms around her frail body, pressing her tightly to his chest.
The weight of the past years’ doubts vanished and her sigh blended with the winter wind swirling around their entwined silhouettes.
In the last rays of the dying day’s sunlight, his soft beard tenderly brushed against her cheek, causing snow to blush…
This short story was inspired by The Bag Lady’s haiku posted here. Its last line just screamed to be writen in another tale. So I did it. Thank you for the inspiration, Cheryl! xx