Candles flickering in the moonlight,
the reed whistles a tune on the northeasterly wind.
A single candle lit now.
A violin plays,
waiting for the reed.
A violin plays,
waiting for the reed.
It was nearing the end of December. Christmas was over, and the new years celebration was only a couple days away. I didn't feel much like celebrating, though. My friends had all gone back home for the holiday, and I was stuck, left at school to breathe the arctic air while others sat in front of a fireplace, with hot chocolate in an oversized mug and forgotten mistletoe hanging over the entrance.
Don't get me wrong, I love my friends, they mean the world to me... but I am envious. My family, well, it's one hell of a mess. My father went to Chicago for work, and he only comes home about once a year. My mother and sister, Claire, went to Seattle. Claire went their because her boyfriend was some bigshot at an IT company, but he wouldn't have a clue what to do if his own computer broke. My mother, well, she said that she "had to keep an eye on them." She's 27, Mom. You stopped adding branches to your nest years ago.
I'm sure I picked up the laundry. Unfortunately some nitwit spilled his red wine on my shirt last night, so I had decided to take it to the cleaners. Anyway. Forget about all that. The point is my family was nowhere to be seen. For Christmas I managed what I could. I bought a turkey breast, some carrots, and potatoes, and baked it all in a vat of chicken stalk and olive oil, with a package of premade gravy ready to cover whatever came out of the oven. It was fine, really.
I was left to wander campus one afternoon, after I dropped my laundry off. Although it was still Christmas break, I wanted to head over to the library so I could finish off my psychology homework, and then get that symbol dictionary for English. It was stuffed somewhere on the stacks on the 10th floor of the library, the top floor. The book was hardly that grand, barely larger then my fist, but it was as valuable as ever and I needed it again.
Psychology was a breeze: "The social exchange theory argues that two people build a relationship only emerges when it benefits each person in an 'economic' means. Discuss." I wrote that there needs to be proportional reciprocation in relationships. Like an accountant doing the books, social exchange operated on debits and credits. I take someone out for lunch, they cover my coffee. I won't get into it. I wanted to say that the reciprocation would eventually become robotic, but I wanted to save that for an essay.
After getting the book I needed from the library, I decided to walk down the path back to the dorms. It was made to look like a path of cobblestones and was lined with spruce and sugar maple. One sugar maple even had a pail attached to it, ready to catch the sap when it would flow in February. The rest of the sugar maples were all too young for sap production, as the path had only been laid recently. The one with the pail on it was at least 120 years old, I figured. It was so important to the students that the path actually went around it, and there was a bench placed underneath its branches. In the summer, sitting under its branches is so relaxing, with the western wind blowing the floral scents across from the garden and botany lab.
Just then, a cardinal called. I looked around to see if I could spot it, but I couldn't find it. When I went to face the path once more, a girl stood not even ten feet across from me. She was wearing a taupe flannel jacket, and white mittens. We locked eyes for just a moment... but something changed, it was like my face had relaxed. She wasn't just another stranger. We began to smile at one another. Wait, why was I doing that? Could she be--?