I hurried up the steps, clawing with dirty nails while sweat seeped into my eyes. “Please be there,” I whispered. A door barred my way, groaning as I forced it open, and there she was, sitting by the window, calmly staring out at a warm spring day. She turned to me, and suddenly I remembered all the dirt and blood that caked my clothes. How could I soil such a pure sight?
But she beckoned me forward, ignoring the grime that coated her sleeves as she cradled my head. Her smell filled my nostrils, returning memories I thought I’d lost; of kneading berries into dough, when only juice and flour colored her face.
Part of me yearned to look up once more, but I refused, fearing it might break whatever spell held us here, her fingers weaving through my hair. But gradually her hands slowed, and she tilted me up, and I knew. It was time.