Waiting at a set of traffic lights, X turns her back against the wind, facing me with hunched shoulders. Despite her tucking it into her collar, her hair’s blown this way and that before reaching out as if to touch my skin, and when it does, I sniff its scent, and my inner blues diminish as quickly as they came.
‘Close your eyes’ she says.
Doing as she wishes, I shut them tight as she places my hands upon her face causing her to take a sharp intake of breath, but in no time at all, we warm each other up, and the feel of her cheekbones beneath my thumbs makes me feel like a lover. I’m tempted to open my eyes, but as if reading my mind, she shoots me down.
‘No peeping!’ She giggles.
‘I wasn’t gonna’ I lie, and as I felt her smile beneath my hands, I, in turn, smiled too, even though the cold was eating me from the outside in. We were close to home. So close I couldn’t understand why she was delaying our escape from the bitter night. Again, as if reading my thoughts, she put a stop to my silent whinging.
‘Imagine you’re a constellation.’
So she could read minds after all.
‘You know, it’s strange you should…’ but before I could continue, she cut me off.
‘Shush those lips, mister, and tell me what constellation you are.’
I wasn’t hot on constellations, but I remembered a few from my school days, and after thinking it through, I made my choice.
‘I’ll be the fox.’
Giggling as a passing vehicle sped past blaring its horn, I heard her shuffling her shoes, and sure enough, soon felt the warmth of her breath, rising from a mouth that was now inches from my own. My hands were still on her cheeks, but as she moved closer, they dropped to her jaw, and although my eyes were closed, I didn’t need to open them to see the look on her face.
‘Okay. You’re the fox, and I’m… I’m the hare! No, I’ll be the crow!’ And with this, she did a little jig, and as the wind picked up and more vehicles passed, she moved closer still.
‘Can you imagine us up in the sky, playing among the stars? Just the two of us? Can you see us floating around up there with the gods, our animal spirits free of their human chains?’
Opening my eyes, I found her looking at me, her lower lip bitten between chattering teeth.
‘Yes,’ I said, ‘I can see us clearly.’
And as I leaned in and kissed her, I saw the fox and the crow, circling the universe, free of their chains and dancing to a celestial song that passed back and forth between our mouths like secrets only we could taste.