“I know you’re aching, but there’s greatness brewing inside of your suffering, ya know,” she said with a flick of her cigarette as they rounded the bend in the road toward their first stop.
“Only the great have the courage to reach the depths of hell,” she replied, darting her eyes at his through the smoke, now billowing a veil between them.
“I’m not surviving this,” he grunted.
Suddenly intrigued, he asked as the corner of his lips turned upward and his eyes began to smile, “How do you know that?”
“Because, you’re one of the stubborn ones that live to talk about it.” She extinguished her cigarette, exhaling as they pulled in, “Takes one to know one.”
With a wink, she opened her door and stepped on solid ground. The wind whipped her hair over her eyes and stole the breath from her lungs, blocking him from view and keeping her from uttering another word.
It wasn’t full. Not yet. Almost as a forewarning, the crescent moon grew as it slipped behind the birch trees off in the distance.
As his words billowed through the atmosphere, encircling her, she took another drag and let the sheet that draped her body slide to the floor, revealing nothing but black lace and skin that seemed to dance in the moonlight reflecting off the freshly fallen snow.
“God, last night was almost as beautiful as you are right now,” he sighed as he inhaled the scene before him.
“Making Love is always best when we’re caught between sanity and a dream. I swear, music was made out of it,” her tongue simmered back as she exhaled slowly.
Despite the hotel’s fine for smoking in the rooms, she opened up the window and stood motionless before the bitter wind, letting the smoke drift around them. There was no one in sight, other than a lone trucker asleep in his bunk across the parking lot and her lover buried beneath the pillows in the bed behind her.
The night before, two hours short of her destination, she gave in to a full-night’s rest after traveling for two days on one hour of sleep. Pure exhaustion and elation took over; something she could only express through tears after witnessing the expanse of beauty in which she roamed, in those that came before him and for those yet to come.
She begged the front desk for a room. Seeing her distress, the front manager offered his best and handed over the key, “Darling, I hope you rest well tonight.”
Relieved, she stripped down and collapsed in a mountain of down feathers and blankets that seemed to flirt with her skin. No driving. No music. No racing thoughts. No coffee. No talking. Just tears of relief as she sank further into his arms and fell deeper into their dream.
A wicked gust snapped her out of her gaze fixed on the chase between the setting moon and rising sun that morning. She spun around to ask him in a panic as the crisp-white sheet tangled at her feet like a veil, holding her body captive where she stood, frozen, “Where are you?”
Chills rose from the depths of her mind to the root of her soul as reality set in. His side of the bed remained untouched, as hers lay unkempt and wrangled in the nightmare in which she found herself that moment.
The room was empty.
Not a sound could be heard but the crackle of snow sifting through the panes of glass.
As if a ghost, I slowly turned back toward the window with longing and grief rising in my throat, mirroring the language of a lone wolf …
Silently calling out to nothing other than a trick of the mind.