chapter four

voices on the street far below will drift beneath the windowpane, and the smell of oranges and cloves will sneak between your floorboards. the coos of growth will echo down the hall, our tiny twosome stretching to make space for new loves and their chairs and traditions and charming stories and immense, tender consideration for our sweet world. in the bright and bitterly cold morning, I'll tiptoe up the winding iron steps to your hideaway, ignoring the clothes strewn about the entrance and thankful for my socked feet. I'll pad across the floor and crawl up the bed, no space existing along the edge for growing bellies or mama's wide hips or even your own slender figure, so grown now that fall has yelped its final hurrah and winter has taken center stage. beside you finally, I'll twirl your silky hair and feel my eyes grow tired staring into the brilliant white of your skylight. and I'll take the plunge, daring to speak first, and ask if you know you were my first true love and will remain my best, most precious jewel for the entirety of my days. I'll say it without question, not so much a question as a declaration, as I've done since the moment I heaved you forward, wrenching and weeping. you will turn into me, reaching a soft and alarmingly grown arm across my belly to pat my back, and then my shoulder, before landing on my face, just as you did in your roundest days of merry toddlerhood. we will pause here, stroking a bit the cheeks of the women we've become, so altered and yet miraculously unchanged, and I'll ask if you'll read to me, before you say a word so I can keep this perfection tied with an unbothered ribbon round it there in the corners of my heart. and so you will, something replete with yearning and stanzas and borne straight out of your heart, and I'll know you entirely. and the sky will break, pouring snow from its folds, and we will stay hidden away as we always intended, succumbing to sleep and our true, earned love.