The winter air seeps into the cracks of my bones, the seams of my skin. There are a million places where my body has broken and reformed. A million times that I remember with each gust of wind.
Despite the temperature I have my coat open, my hands on the rail. Showing weakness isn’t an option. My heart would stop beating, my lungs would stop breathing before I shivered even once. Any hint of weakness was stamped out of me a long time ago.
The man who approaches me looks left and right. God, he’s a sitting duck if anyone wanted to shoot him. The very picture of weakness. His cheeks are ruddy, eyes red. His puffy coat must provide decent warmth, but still he rubs his hands together in his cheap knit gloves.
He comes to stand beside me, looking out over the water. “Some weather,” he says.
A sitting duck, but he’s under my protection now.
On the other side of this river is a college teaming with bright-eyed kids. Brightly colored banners decorate the staid green lawn. This far away I can’t read them, but I can guess what they say. Welcome to Orientation. Join the math club. Sign up for this sorority.
“Some weather,” I say, because I’m as much of a sitting duck as he is.
At least when it comes to this girl.
“I saw the dorm room,” the man offers. “Kind of small, but I guess that’s the way of it. Got her moved in okay. She didn’t have much stuff.”
“You’ll send her extra money,” I say softly.
Knit gloves rub together. “Right. Of course. And I’ll be doing some work for you, then?”