I can’t quite remember what it was about that story -- the crimson flash of the cloak, maybe, or the quiver of the lilacs as she scooped them from the soil, or the moon-stricken whistle of wolf padding through brush far beneath the darkening storm. But I do remember those dry summer nights, all paper and flushed watercolor and firm lines of ink. I remember how the flashlight trembled heavy between my fingertips -- how beams of light sprawled across the rolling covers when I lowered it to turn the page. Through the spun-silver curtain, the moon smiled down on us (the book and I, the two of us), its bright breath coursing on the wind.
I was there, in my bed, and yet it isn’t the bed that I remember, but a land doused in lamplight, swift and in concrete, with a population of one. Me, red with the cloak, sweet with the lilacs, moonlight-stricken with the wolf. Night by night, I wore the corners soft, the paper thin -- folded back the cover and breathed secrets to the spine. Even then, there was something in the words that I couldn’t help but love.