She walks down the forest path, like a lost girl in a fairytale, ivy and feathers forming a ragged crown in her hair. Yesterday, she was making tea in a kitchen in Paris, and then without even having to click her heels together, today she finds herself moving like a ghost between ash-colored trees. She holds her bare arms up in front of her while she walks, and reads again the words she has written in black ink on her wrists: réalité on the left, printemps on the right.
Reality and spring.
What her reality is, she has no idea.
It is autumn, and spring is many months and many breaths away.
Today it is a crown in the forest, yesterday pouring boiling water into two white porcelain cups encircled in pale blue flowers, and the day before that? She has wisps of a memory, like peering through a morning fog, of herself in a Spanish field, warmed by the sun, wearing only a pale yellow skirt and a white camisole, of a young man there, whispering to her, “no creo, no creo,” and she is a reflection of herself, switched in mind and heart with her mirrored self.
She remembers one day in the summer when she was a girl, outside the town where she lived. There, a high building with walls curved like a breadbox, rusted propellers and pieces of engines strewn about, abandoned artifacts from a past that saw a different future than had come to pass. Inside, the boy with the wool scarf, who didn’t speak more than a dozen words to her, not even after she kissed him on his dusty lips and braided his black and twisted hair around her fingers, and let him put his cold and dry hand beneath her white sweater and raise bumps high on her skin. She tasted his spice on her tongue, closing her eyes, and when she opened them again, she was somewhere else, wrapped in sheets the color of strawberries, washed in the glow of white Christmas lights hanging from the bare wooden walls, a man with red hair who was not the boy in the bed beside her.
Tea leaves yesterday, today a whisper in the forest, tomorrow’s skin shadowed into stained glass by moonlight and candles filtered through a white lace shirt while a man still wet from the sea puts his gentle rough hands on her restless curves.