"I don't know any others, apart from this one."
Our legs are almost touching. Leaves, pavement, leaves. You're wearing that blue parka again, and today it is as crisp as the ripples of air between my fingers.
I asked if you knew mine. I did not expect that you would be as short with me as you were then, and your words struck me with their dispassion.
"I said already. I don't know any others, apart from this one."
So not even me. That was strange, because I knew what your hands were doing in your pockets. You were winding the loose threads around your fingers and breaking them with the force of your tugging. Slowly. I wondered if you noticed it too, that you would do this when you were irritated.
You do it often.
So I followed your eyes, onto the grey pavement. I wondered what you were thinking. I wondered if you were thinking at all. I smiled a little and tried to be wry. It was working, and now your eyes were narrowed as you faced me, your stare as hard as your words.
"If I closed my eyes, if I walked away, if I unsaw you, what would be the difference?"
For the first time, I was at a loss, and against the dead-end of your question all I could think of was how your hands were writhing, snapping those threads. Even without seeing them, I knew how they were moving; your palms folded and your fingers tense with urgency. If there was none, I thought that it was odd that you took my silence for agreement.
Cross, uncross, after which your feet were pointing to mine. You had an interesting way of sitting. On this bench, in this cold, your neck and your shoulders sloped gently to meet with the curvature of your spine. I looked up, across the road, and made a remark about the trees. You agreed, and we talked at length about them. You had a nice smile, and spoke with your hands. You liked trees. You were fascinated with their self-similarity.
"You're shivering. Why don't you go home?"
Perhaps I should have, but I shook my head.
"Well, I'm going to go. Maybe if I'm alone, I can stop pretending."
"That I'm not."
I opened my mouth a moment before you got up from the bench, so that I was balking at your legs, face-to-face with your knees.
"Maybe I'll see you around."
In that sudden rush of air as you straightened, I lost what I meant to say. I looked up at your retreating back, trying to remember, until you disappeared.
You avoided my eyes as you turned to leave, so I could only look at my palms and tell them that they were everything to me.