you think everything just might turn out okay, after all, she said, tucking her legs beneath her as if to take up as little space as possible. you start to believe you might finish on top, now and then; that sometimes, if you just let go and throw your head back, the wind can’t help but find you and toss you gently over her shoulder like a wayward, treasured child she’s chosen to protect.

is that how you’re feeling? he asked tentatively, watching her not watch him, her eyes locked on a far-away promise through the open window. she looked down at her hands and shook her head lightly, her loose hair forming curtains around her pale face.

no, she said, her voice small. not today. not in a world where it can rain like this.