August 14th 2015
They stood in the crisp morning air, their clouds of breath colliding and dancing away with each other. It felt as if the whole world was sleeping, and they were the only two of mankind left to witness its beauty. The sky – bright white, almost fluorescent – hugged the horizon line like a glowing halo, the clouds dense and low and dazzling. She felt like she was breathing through new lungs; the boulders that had been clinging to her shoulders had been lifted, her throat no longer tightened when her turbid mind began to wander. She closed her eyes and heaved a satisfied sigh as the bitter air nibbled at her nose and pinched her finger tips. The field below them was completely empty, apart from a large willow tree that proudly sported a rope swing, and one lonely yurt. The plume of smoke rising from its makeshift chimney was being carried across the acres of land in a long, smooth line; no gust of wind to disrupt its travels, no fracture in its perfect poignancy.
They sat on that hill for what seemed like hours, talking about anything that came to them, be it relevant or irrelevant. At points they just sat in silence, appreciating each other’s company and allowing the six A.M. bird calls to accentuate the dearth of conversation. They watched the sun rise, listened to those birds sing their good mornings to one another, breathed the fresh country air and witnessed that perfect plume of smoke as it continued its adventure all the way across the land, as far as they could see, uninterrupted and unscathed. She imagined being as light as the cold air that embraced her, and letting the trail of smoke carry her with it on its journey. She fantasised about not having a care in the world, about drifting over the furthest tree she could see and allowing herself to travel wherever the wind took her. She’d start fresh.
As he began to make his way back to the campsite, she trailed behind him, smiling at the ground below her feet and giving mental thanks for the evening they’d shared. She wanted to tell him how much it had meant to her. He’d known what to say and when to say it yet he’d also known when it was appropriate to just listen. To just be there, a rock for her to cling to when she felt like she was drowning; a life jacket to hug her when she felt she could no longer swim away. He’d allowed her the time she’d needed to elucidate her disorderly thoughts and offered her the warm space that she’d needed – far more than powdery pills and plastic capsules – to empty her mind.