What if you were the one?
She sat on the couch; legs curled beneath her and gripped the paperback. The lavender fleece sprawled about and dangled over the ledge, protecting her from the cool air of early autumn. The sun had set. Shadows watched over her with only the flames in the fireplace to keep her company. Arabella stared at the words on the page, lost in the trance of imagination. The story had whisked her away, to another time and another place, where the possibility of love lingered like the heat from a fire on the edge of darkness.
The beam of headlights swept across the room and jolted her from her pensiveness. Arabella turned her attention to the window, now filled with the black of night. She stood, walked around the couch and approached the glass. She hid behind the drawn curtains and peered out into the obscurity.
The moon had taken command of the sky. Stars emerged in the distance. The same lights that illuminated the neighborhood every night had flickered to life. Casting luminous streaks across street corners and filling windows with hints of gold.
She heard a woman’s voice but could not see her. A car door slammed shut and a teenaged boy laughed. Two dogs barked at one another, the Chihuahua clearly the bolder of the two. The little boy who lived across the street, hopped off his bicycle as he rode into his driveway and walked his bike across the front lawn. He turned and looked at the window where Arabella hid behind the curtain. After a brief moment, he dropped his bike in the grass, and then raced up the steps to the patio before he disappeared through the front door.
The screen door slammed shut, and Arabella once again scanned the neighborhood for any sign of Ramiro’s return.
The coast is clear, she thought to herself.
The clock on the wall indicated she had at least a half-hour of reading time left. She raced back to the couch, pulled the fleece over her, and returned to her place in the book. Thirty minutes of reading akin to a thirty-second kiss when the throes of passion resemble the submissive devotion of love.
She resumed reading and plunged once again into the flood of romantic revelations that might have changed her life, regardless of her circumstance, if she would have believed that they were more than the ravings of a fictional character.
Despite her maniacal love for books, and the people who populated the realm within the pages, she understood that her fictional friends existed only in her imagination, even if they felt more familiar to her than anyone with whom she interacted in her daily life. Not merely because she was an introvert by nature, but because her knowledge of the people she had recently spoken with remained shrouded by the shadows of memory.
Recollections lost—like time during sleep—were mentioned in hopes of helping her remember, but they only felt like a breeze from yesterday that had nothing to do with the present. The paradigm ignited in her a longing for the nostalgic musings that fill the space between heartbeats and the silence between seconds.
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