It was the first day of December and she could feel it in her bones. Winter had been seeping in the marrow of things, coming in the morning frost and chill, climbing up window panes and tapping on the glass. Mist hung in the air like sorrow; it is hard to see clearly in dewed light, all blanketed and wet wooly—there is a sleepiness to moisture hanging in the air like breath.
“Yeah, I’m bad at the crutch,” she said.
Winter in the yard lent a quietude to the scene found in the solemnity of graveyards. This was the pious quiet of nature. Birds chirped industry, squirrels dropped leafy appendages, woodpeckers rat-a-tat-tatted wood like toy soldiers, branches bowed under the weight of dew, dripping sleep with the wet of dawn. Mushrooms were growing in perfect symmetry, thriving in the damp, growing where others would drown. The grey half-light reflected green like a million emeralds on fire with themselves.
It was the filter. The part that held the whole bit together. The part you took hold of and didn’t burn your hand. It was a courtesy. She wished she was good at the crutch.
Deer chewed and cautiously stared. Hers was a sound alien to their ears, almost as if they could tell she mainly walked on sidewalks, on concrete, and soaked in fluorescents at work all day. They bolted and she wanted to bolt with them. Her heart ran in blind fury with them over verdant green, kicking up loose soil and leaves—perhaps it would find a nice place to hide in woody solace.
The crutch came out in his mouth and he tossed it aside. “I can never get the crutch right,” she said and smiled, sheepishly. He laughed; took a drag anyway. She hoped he wouldn’t get burned. She wished she was better at the crutch.
**art by Ana Teresa Barboza