"Your hair," I told Max as I stroked it. "Is very long."
"I know," he said, and sighed. "I haven't had it cut for two years."
"Hmm... two years," I echoed his sigh.
I sat on the grass with Max's head in my lap. We had walked for eight and a half hours, and then Max had gone into one of his out-of-body experiences. This one had been by far the worst out of all of them. His breathing had been cut off very suddenly, and he had looked absolutely terrified. I had talked to him about nothing for ten whole minutes to no avail, and he had been trying desperately to stay in this world my clinging onto the closest thing in it as hard as he could, which happened to be me. My wrist was no sporting a light bruise which was gradually turning a darker shade of purple. Finally, after failing to get him fully conscious by talking to him, I had kissed him just to see if it would work. It did.
Now he was just getting over yet another bout of tears. I could tell he had given up all hope of things getting back to normal, and he told me that he was only trying now because I was still determined.
"I'm sorry, Sara," he said. "I really am. I just... I can't take it. I'm just-" he choked on his words and started to hyperventilate.
"No, no, calm down," I muttered, lightly touching his face.
He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. "How do you do it?" He asked as he exhaled.
"Not panic. If the situation was reversed, I wouldn't know what to do. But you can just deal with it like it's normal."
"Well, maybe I just know how 'cause this sort of thing happens to me so often," I suggested as he pressed his lips to the palm of my hand. Then he seemed to get an idea and spread out my fingers.
"Sara," he said. "You're not left handed."
"I know I'm not," I frowned.
"So why are you stroking my face with your left hand?"
I shifted uncomfortably, but wouldn't let me move, so I showed him the wrist that he had accidentally injured. He touched the bruising gently and I couldn't help but flinch away from the pain. Max sat up an looked at me like I'd gone crazy.
"Doesn't that bother you?" He demanded.
"No, not really," I said. It wasn't the complete truth, but it was as close as Max was going to get.
He narrowed his eyes. "Does nothing I do get to you?"
"Yes, actually, some things you do get to me," I said, and placed that little warm ice heart in his hands. It had shrunk again.
He stared at it for a while, then said, "Yes. Yes, I can see how that would get to you." Then he looked up at me. "Is that really how far I have to go to get to you?"
I shrugged. "Well, it didn't even get to me too much, 'cause I still don't think it works properly."
"So how far do I have to go to get to you," Max asked, and then grinned when he realized that he'd just quoted one of my most favourite songs.
"Many the miles," I sang. "Many the miles."