Paper-cloud hopeful she was, drawing in a breath to clear herself a blue sky. But the coughing came again, and I had to clutch at her, and give her some of my hope too, until she stopped. I lowered her onto the damp grass, and we just sat there. I can’t remember when her smile first became that weak; like she’d forgotten the mechanics of it. Now she could only manage the first half, and her big eyes had to check with you if that was okay.
I put a parasol in the garden after that so she could still sit outside. Stay warm and dry under all those sheets of rain. I think she was waiting for spring to come, waiting just to see it, the first daffodils.
I’d told her not to sit out too long. She felt as cold as winter air. Like she’d held that breath in so long it had filled every limb. And her cheeks not even wrinkled.
It was me then that resolved to wait for spring, right there with her little body in my arms, crushing her yellow jacket, and pressing her face to my chest.
But the waiting was done.