The wind whistles through my vine ridden windows, and she performs the pantomime of kindling a fire within my hearth. She holds her hands over the cold air and pleasantly smiles as if she can feel the heat from a flame. She is so convincing that, for a moment, I believe I feel it too. Until a chilly breeze blows effortlessly through my broken chimney and makes my walls shiver.
When she leaves the parlor to go upstairs, I brace my staircase. There are so many broken steps that I pray for her not to fall through. Luckily, she walks very lightly. So much so, that she barely stirs the thick pile of dust beneath her feet.
Before she can get to her room, I try to shake my floorboards to startle the mice out from their nests under her bed and inside of it. Since I hardly trust myself not to fall upon her head, I hold back and produce more of a gentle nudge. I end up just waking the mice and creating a momentary irritation for them before they cuddle back up.
Even though I will watch over her all night, I know that I cannot do much to protect her. I can barely pull myself together enough to ward off the rain. Although, it weeps from my wounds like blood, it does not affect her. Oddly, the water puddles on my floorboards underneath her while she stays completely dry.
Silently, she sits at her vanity and braids her hair in preparation for bed. Before everyone abandoned us, they put drapes on all my mirrors, yet she sits at her vanity and stares at her shrouded reflection as if she can see her face.
Truthfully, it does not matter that she does not see herself, nothing changes with her. More years than I can fathom have gone by and she has yet to age. While I have taken a bludgeoning from Father Time, he has left her completely alone, like everyone else. Not even a small wrinkle or gray strand of hair.
The inconsistencies make me wonder if I do not see her as she really is. Perhaps, like me, she is falling apart, and I am just as blind to it as she is. Or worse, maybe she isn’t even real. Perhaps, she is merely an echo of my memory, playing over again and again.
For now, and for whatever reason, she continues to repeat her days within my crumbling walls, and I do my best to stand upright for her. One day, I know I will fall to pieces and she will be left with no home to dwell within. However, whether she dreams of me as I once was, or I remember her as I wish her to be, we are together for the present. Even in the harsh reality of my dilapidating existence, I will joyfully hold her in my embrace until my last splinter disappears into the ground.
Maybe even then, she will continue to dream of me.