Wiping her nose on my shirt, she took a peek from my arms with the sweetest of grins, and even though the tears were still flowing down her cheeks, she was as beautiful to me as a cherry tree.
“You were a fox,” she said quietly.
“And me a magpie.”
The innocence in her voice was as tender as any song, eclipsed only by her smile.
“So you were” I replied.
Studying my features as the light of the Ferris wheel lit up her face, she placed her bare feet upon my shoes, and as she stood on tip-toe, her fingers played with my straggly beard that was in desperate need of a trim.
“Don’t you dare trim it!” she said as if reading my mind, and in just one sentence, her absence from my life these past several years was gone in the blink of an eye. Stroking my chin, she beamed at me like a sunflower; even the hamster on her shoulder squeaked as if agreeing with my silent sentiment.
“I was drifting for so long,” she said forlornly.
“We both were.”
“I wasn’t happy, and I wasn’t sad, I was floating somewhere in the middle.”
“Like driftwood” I added.
“Like driftwood” she mirrored.
“And then earlier today, I suddenly thought of you. Not that I hadn’t before, but today was different. I visited the train station where you left me, and then the supermarket where we would go after work, and something in me heard you calling, and I’m not sure how it happened, but I changed.”
Twitching her nose, she gazed into the distance as if lost in thought.
“I was a magpie, and I could fly, and although I no longer have wings, it still feels as though I could take to the sky at any moment.”
Hearing her mention our last time at the station caused me to wince.
“You don’t need to apologise,” she said, “the world has turned many times since that day.”
A look passed between us that said more than any string of words ever could.
“Just what did you see in those woods?” I asked.
“Exactly what I needed to” she replied, “the same as it was for you.”
And there she went with that grin again, and when her lips parted to reveal those perfect milk-white teeth, I blinked away the tears and wiped her own with the palms of my hands. Pinching me in the ribs, she gave a snort of laughter at my startled reaction before resting her head on my chest. Something in the air told me it wouldn’t be long before the time was no longer our own. The animals knew it, and so did she, and as I breathed in the scent of her hair, a bolt of electricity danced up and down the length of my spine.