Isabelle could hardly breathe. The grey woman disappeared, abruptly no-where to be seen within the warming stone arch. She slowly gained awareness of the bustling University life around her, returning from the cold iciness the grey woman had seemingly brought with her. She could feel the chilling cold in her bones, yet the sun began to shine daringly in to catch her cheekbones.
She stumbled clumsily out back toward the University’s greens, and found herself flopping down unceremoniously onto a little dark brown bench, with twisted iron handles, and a small bronze plaque, announcing that a Professor Gates would be sorely missed by his wife and three children.
A kindly looking man, with a chequered green and brown golfing blazer, worn navy cords and a tuft of wild untamed grey wiry hair, appeared before Isabelle, looking down at her with a pitying smile.
“Are you quite alright my dear?” The man asked softly.
“Uh? Yeah … yeah. Yeah I’m fine, thank you sir, I’m just - it’s just - just one of those days I guess,” Isabelle spewed with a ineffectively detached air, her heart still pounding from the woman's cold hard grasp on her mind and body.
“Oh I see.” He said, a little too understandingly for Isabelle’s liking.
He gave her a little smile, then gestured to the space beside her. “May I, my dear?”
“Oh, of course.” She said weakly, brushing her dark waves out of her eyes and pushing over a little, unable to pay full attention to the man, her mind racing with what had just happened, or what she had imagined had just happened.
“I remember having days like the one I’m guessing you’re having. I remember what it’s like to feel confused, lost, alone, and like you don’t understand what’s happening to you or why it’s happening.
“But, keep that little chin of yours up, and things will soon be sunshine bright before you know it my child.”
And with that, he gave her a sympathetic pat on the arm, and left as swiftly as he had appeared.
Oh just what she needed; a professor of some ridiculous department offering her advice on ‘finding herself’ and ‘the pressures of University study’. She gave a sigh and forced herself up from the little bench, and swung her bag back onto her arm, her slightly above the knee skirt swishing out from around her hips.
She couldn’t process what had happened with that grey woman, it was too surreal, too out of this world, too - just too much.
So it was all she could do, to make her way back to her shared flat, and collapse onto her bed, where she fell into a deep and heavy sleep, irrespective to the fact that it was early afternoon and she had a lecture on Renaissance Perspective to be at, taking notes diligently and trying to absorb her professor’s emanating wisdom.
No. Instead, she slept.