It was not raining… for once. We came out into a dry morning. The clouds hung low in the sky, heavy and foreboding. But the rain had stopped.
Maybe we would manage to get back to our beds this time without getting soaked. Everything was wet; everything that wasn’t wet was damp. That which was no longer wet or damp had rotted away.
I smiled – for a moment – as I remembered Jed saying something about the rain in this country. Then I remembered Jed was no longer with us, and then I remembered how he’d died and I stopped smiling.
The woman saw my smile disappear and she ducked down under my arm. She gathered some wood and kindling out of the box we used to keep the wood dry. She was still struggling into her clothes – such that they were – as she hurried to light the fire.
For a moment, I wished I knew her language so I could ask her name. I’d heard her crying in the night, last night, as she lay with her back to me, her naked skin damp against mine. I’d thought about asking why she cried, then remembered she could not tell me even if she knew what I asked. Then I remembered about the cold, the constant rain and how Jed died. I knew I’d probably die the same way too before too long.
Then I’d wondered why I hadn’t asked myself why I wasn’t crying too.