Tramontana

The people stood and watched the tramontana take the world past them, clouds, palm leaves, things from gardens that would not be missed and those that most definitely would.

It was so strong it tore a small girl’s midday shadow clean away from her feet. Black against the whiteness, it went tumbling and turning down the dusty lane until it was lost in the shade of the oak trees. The girl stared wide-eyed at where her shadow had been and turned her face up towards her mother, who patted her head and ruffled her hair and hid her own tears.

“A day it’s born, a day it lives, a day it dies,” someone muttered, “but this is its fourth day and now it’s taking shadows.” There was silence except for the sound of the wind.

There would be another morning

I got up this morning but my shadow stayed in bed. I walked through the sunshine in the front room, turned on the bathroom light – nothing.

Where was she? (I think of her as she.) I lifted the duvet but there was nobody there – just a deep indentation where I had slept alone.

She had to be somewhere – I think I may have said out loud. I turned all the lights out and felt that she was there. I turned them on again.

I closed my eyes and that worked too. I could feel her there, the warm darkness of trust. I kept my eyes tight shut and got back into bed.

There would be another morning, there would be some other light.

Bushel

He hid in full light, a shadow invisible between the beacons. Damp light is easy overlooked and overshone, raw talent takes pressure to spark diamond sharp. With time his eyes became clearer and noticed, but the glow of his words faded in spotlights. The crash of a lightwave foreshadowed flowing; life stories stuttered and ended.

As she walked slowly out of the doctor’s room

As she walked slowly out of the doctor’s room, a shadow shaded across her face. It matched the patch in her chest.

She did not want to tell them the news, share the picture buried deep in her bag. Deep in her heart she knew that she should but she was afraid that their hearts would break. Tomorrow. Tomorrow she would.

For today she would keep her silence, and smile, and nod, and cough quietly into a handkerchief. For today, today, they did not need to know.

But they knew. Of course they knew. They knew it sharply deep inside of them, it cut them sharp and deep inside of them, they felt the broken glass in her breathing in their hearts.

But for today she would not tell them.