Midyear exams were finally over, and the exultation that ensued had died down. We sat upon freshly cut grass in the Alexandra gardens, soaking up warmth from the day's last rays before the sun submerged beneath a sea of clouds and the monolithic structures of the city skyline. Neither of us spoke; it was a time of reflection and words seemed improper, a time when we indulged in quiet thought.
We were so close to the city, yet felt isolated. That is the magic of this place, a natural retreat in the heart of a bustling city. The oaks and the palms seemed to form an impenetrable barrier, safeguarding the park's borders against life's mayhems and dilemmas.
Indeed, the clearing upon which we sat seemed to be a fortress against time itself. We were not being wildly swept away, for a moment we had leapt from a powerful current and were observing it pass by.
Cars and people were not heard nor seen, only appearing as blurs of colour against the vibrant greens and oranges of the peaceful scene. The soothing melody of rustling leaves messaged the pains out of our battle weary minds.
A cool, gentle breeze swept across the clearing, carrying away what seemed like the final vestiges of warmth from an autumn past. The sun finally succumbed to the strengthening cold; its radiant power drained and withdrew into its cloudy lair to fight another day. The serenity of the park seemed to die with it. The warm, cheerful beauty of the sunlit park withered, and Alexandra seemed to plunge to an icy death. My skin started to prickle, not only form the needle-like grass tickling my bare feet, but because of the nippy dew that had begun to settle. Tiny droplets of icy water descending ominously like a blanket of coldness writhing and winding its way around us. The frostiness swept inside me, chilling my nose and lungs; invading the warm cavities of my body. I drew up my knees, helplessly trying to force out the cold.
Then, I felt warmness cuddle up against me. Glancing sideways my gaze was met by two deep, contemplative eyes, squinting to fight off the chilling evening air. I took a cold hand in mine, and drew closer.
I shared my warmth and she, hers. A blanket seemed to envelop us, its snugness fortifying us against the biting cold. I had never been so close to her; such an intimate distance seemed to disarm her of her bedazzling looks.
The shoulder length hair that usually cascaded down to her shoulders was ruffled and messy. I began seeing the imperfections I had previously been blind to. The tiny hairs on her face erect, desperately trying to lock in the warmth. A chipped tooth, a slight blemish in the skin, the increasingly reddening cheeks. Closer still.
The rhythm of disgruntled trees was replaced by her slow shallow breathing and the crispy smell of cut grass was replaced by the pleasantness of fading perfume. I glanced at her lips, unspoilt by lipstick and slightly cracked, white in the cold. Yet she was still beautiful. In fact she was more beautiful. Instead of the cold lifeless beauty that usually surrounded her, she radiated kindness and affection like a glowing fire. The coldness of the impending winter was forgotten - warmth began welling within me fighting away the frost.
Our lips met.