It was the sound of the thundering freight train at 10pm every night that woke her. She knew that now. At first she thought it was something far beyond the reaches of man calling out to her. Something bigger than her Beast. Something deep in the underbelly of the earth, or soaring above the stars.
When the sound reached her dreaming ears it enveloped her completely. It dragged her by her heavy limbs from deep slumber and into the world of the living. Her eyes focused on the ceiling. Silvery in the light of the moon that always bathed her room on clear nights when the it was in its full form.
He asked her. She said no.
‘Why did you say no?’ her mother had asked, when she ran in sobbing after that fateful day in the garden.
‘I couldn’t lie to him, Mother,’ she told her mother, wringing her hands.
‘It wouldn’t be a lie, dearest.’
‘It would. It would!’
‘Well, who else are you waiting for?’
‘NOBODY!’ and she slammed the kitchen door as she flung herself out, threw herself up the stairs, stamping for emphasis, and then fell onto her bed in defeat. And perhaps some despair.
His face kept rising in front of her eyes when she tried to go to sleep. His face. She loved that face. The way he smiled, always. The secret smile. The boyish smile, when he made one of his numerous jokes or teased and teased and teased everybody who let him. The smile when he was just being himself. The smile he had ready for anybody he saw – and then the smile they reflected back at him. The smile when she spoke, the one she knew was only for her, the one she knew he didn’t even know he put on. He had no idea he smiled like that for her. The smile that she had wiped off his face so cruelly with only six little words.
She wanted to snatch those words back out of the air. Unwhisper them to the wind. Take them back and tuck them away where they belonged.
But where did they come from? They had to have come from somewhere.
Her heart felt sore. Yet the tears would not fall.