Kaan walked the path, covered in damp leaves. The trees stood out in sharp relief against the white sky. The clouds rolled and expanded out, climbing down the mountains. The branches were empty, scraggly veins written on the firmament.
The woods smelled of wet earth. It had rained that morning. Droplets budded where leaves had once shaken in the cold, autumn wind.
The trees were thinning. Through the gnarled trunks, Kaan could see the old house, shingles hanging lopsided, roof full of holes. No one had been to the gray structure in years.
She stopped in the woods. Coming off the path, she could see the door leaning, barely on its hinges. Dead foliage filled the front lawn. Dry grass curled into the dust. The mailbox stood askew in the wet, sunken ground. Kaan didn’t go in yet. She thought of Aspen.
Why did you leave me?
She could almost see her here: Aspen in a lacy, white dress, holding a frilly parasol aloft, twirling it – lifting one dainty, black Jimmy Choo-clad foot in the air, smelling of hard candy.
They had run the book store together, with its low ceilings and leaky bathroom faucet. After work, Kaan would charge off on her Harley, and Aspen would yell at her to slow down, camel skin pea coat swirling around perfect legs, calves sculpted by months of spinning classes.
Kaan sat down on the low wooden steps, half rotted through. Love is a haunted house standing in your heart, Kaan thought. She lit a Newport and had to really drag on it to get the fire going. She lay down on the forgotten porch, cigarette smoke spiraling up idly, some getting in her nostrils – the rest, catching the next breeze into the stratosphere.
She found herself crying, chest heaving helplessly on the frigid boards, far away, in some forest in Maine. I miss you. Why won’t you come back? Not even her black leather jacket protected her from the cold, the thunderous, rushing wind galloping through the woods, blowing through her heart.
Blue Foundation – “Eyes on Fire”