Copyright © Isabelle Santiago, 2011

All Rights Reserved.


HE DIDN’T REALIZE UNTIL TOO LATE THAT HE’D MEMORIZED THE RHYTHM OF HER FOOTSTEPS. A hurried shuffle as she dragged her heels across the palace floors. Toward the end he craved the mundane sound more than food. More than air.

She used to whisper to him through the thin rice paper of the room dividers, telling him of the effervescent sunshine or the falling of the leaves. At times, she told the stories in such vivid detail, he could actually feel the cold sting of a snowball in the face, or smell the sweet, floral aroma of the plumeria bush in the garden.

He never told her he could see these things through his bedroom window for fear that she would stop. Her descriptions of the flower’s silken petals, the colors soft, like something in a dream- they often took him to a place long forgotten.

He’d close his eyes and try to remember a time when there was more to life than the cold, hard feel of gold beneath his fingertips.

He missed warmth. He missed texture. He missed the simple caress of someone else’s hand.

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