There are only empty branches in winter.


Her breath felt like leaves against my skin. Soft, fragile, natural. My arms folded around her and I held her like she could crumble and I think she was scared for I felt her tremble against me.

The beating of my heart was a gust of wind that threatened to take her away and neither she nor I were sure if she wanted to be gone, or not.

I loosened my grasp to help her to feel like she wasn’t trapped and she fled like a caged bird with the door finally open. I flinched against her sudden disappearance and watched her retreat like she was a prisoner of war finally released. My heart cracked like heated marble.

When she tried to scuttle back to me, my arms were still burnt by the fire she left behind with her hasty desertion and when I tried to hold her again, the weight of her threatened to ignite the flames again.

None of her tears nor her cries of sorrow and regret helped to soothe the pains from her first leaving. I knew my arms could never hold her again and when she knew she would no longer be able to feel safe inside them, she left again.

I cradle her memories to my chest and try to breathe in her fresh scent of the leaves. Winter is the loneliest season and no amount of memories could replace her soft leaves. Though even when her memories fade, my arms will never forget her.


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