Walking with his warm hand in mine, his thumb rubbing my own, and bare feet. We alternated squeezing the others palm soothingly, enjoying the touch between us. We wandered with no vigor, no place we’d rather be, stealing coy glances at each other and yet avoiding eye contact, snapping our gazes to the path shyly when caught staring. Because of this, my stubborn long hair would slip from behind my ear relentlessly. My throat stung at the thought of letting go of his hand and uncovering my eyes, for fear he wouldn’t grab it back.
Instead, I used my non dominant hand to attempt getting my hair behind my ears. It left strands of hair stray and awkwardly curled around my ear; reminding me of his sloppy attempts to clear my face of dark red while lying on top each other in that caved-in chair, which sat patiently in the corner of that dimly lit smokey cabin, heated alone by the small wood fire stove where we would be content in each others company, murmuring to one another until we fell asleep tangled up in each other’s arms, lounging like sloths fleeing the cold.
A woodpecker in the distance, of which the location I couldn’t pinpoint, matched the pounding of my heart against my rib cage as we revealed our most inward feelings. My feet slipped over vibrant, sharp rocks that pressed into the skin like needles. I stared down at the overgrown forest floor to focus on avoiding them, even though I wanted so desperately just to watch his every move.
We moved on for a shorter time then I’d like, arriving at the “purple forest” of birch trees with a mesmerizing lavender luster on the smooth, white and black speckled bark. I didn’t agree to go just for the forest he’d rambled on about, still, I had to admit it was breathtaking. I could see the color reflect on his glasses. I must have been making a face because when he looked at me, I heard him chuckle, covering his mouth with his hand and the sound made me numb.