Blush Response

Through the legs of the horses and over the backs of the bumbling badgers, the fox frees himself from the slippery clutches of the muddy rivers wrapping around his feet. Leaping high into the air, it’s as if the laws of gravity don’t apply to him, and like a helium balloon, he rises over the heads of the other animals and even the highest branches of the marching trees, now screaming at the top of their lungs. As the fairground looms and the giant arms of the Ferris wheel reach out like the arms of a loving grandmother to an infant, Gretchen’s heart is alive not only with the beat of nature but with the colours of life she’s for so long only seen in her dreams. Closing her eyes as she rides the fox like the little boy rides the flying goat in The NeverEnding Story, the chatter of lovers from the fairground meets her cold, pink ears, and although she can’t see them, she feels the way they feel so acutely. Such level of intimacy with strangers causes her to blush, and the more she blushes, the more she feels their sense of excitement at what life might have in store for them; the sense of adventure at what it must be like to find someone you wish to share your life with until you return to the stars once more. She doesn’t know for herself what any of these things feel like—it’ll be many years and lovers before she does—and yet the possibility is enough to make her smile a smile she never knew she was capable of.

X and I: A Novel and A Journal for Damned Lovers on Amazon UK

X and I: A Novel and A Journal for Damned Lovers on Amazon US

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