2am came much faster than she thought it would. As if time ever does what we want.

Even though Corbin was the one that called me, she always seemed nervous when she moved into the alley, clinging to the oyster colored bricks of the building where I live. I watch her briskly walking down the sidewalk from my room, disappearing under the black veils stretched between streetlamps and materializing again beneath their pale, yellow miens. When she gets close enough, I go outside and wait there in the dark.

I could tell that Corbin hadn’t slept in days by the way she pulled her shoulders up around her neck, crossed her arms like she might shiver. Her hair fell around her face in tense, gauzy strands. Her eyes are either closed or looking down at her arms as they blue below the moon.
“It’s warm tonight, isn’t it?” she asks.

I hand her the little, crumpled sack, just like I always do. And like every other time before, she payed and left in a different direction from where she’d come, rejecting any light that tries to fall over her.

Corbin never called before midnight. She waits until the sun is at its deepest, then my phone rings. “Can we meet at two?” she asks, and she never says how much she wants. I just have to assume.

She slipped across the street as quiet as the snow that used to fall when she was young, into an unlit park where beneath the moonlight the dying grass looks green again.

Corbin opened up the paper bag and felt the smaller plastic one inside it. Pressing it between her thumb and finger, she felt the subtle grains displace, she feels the sound of mild sand compressed beneath her feet like at the beach. Only the trees watch her when she melts away and sleeps.

I stayed up until dawn arrived, and light begins to cut a path through the horizon, watching from my window as Corbin woke and wandered empty from the withered park. Already the heat is coming strong.

Before Corbin moved completely out of sight, I wonder where she always goes, try briefly to remember when I learned her name, my lovely little blackbird, always early, always in haste to fly away.

#melbourne #australia

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