“You look so cozy,” my friend says to me with a smile that pixelates on my laptop screen. I smile back, a little too hard. The sleeves on the jumper I’m wearing stretch slightly beyond the length of my arms. Inside them, I fiddle with the cold, silver ring on my finger, pulling it off and pushing it back with my thumb until it slides back and forth with ease. Then I switch fingers. It’s a healthier habit than the other ones, but not as effective. Stillness seeps into the spaces between the movement. Flickers of feeling and memory; the warmth he left in the wool, the way the sleeves fit perfectly on his arms, leaving bare hands that kept patiently at crossword puzzles. My thumb pulls at the ring too quickly and it flings across the room, landing with a prompt metallic clink. The Zoom meeting flashes shut, and I don’t send another link.
Someday the warmth will leave this jumper, I think to myself as bile begins to bubble in my throat. Tread lightly, says another voice in my head. Oscar Wilde’s. In a poem he wrote for his sister when she passed; one I read at my grandfather’s grave a few weeks ago from the collected works he left me. I haven’t been able to read more. But I haven’t put the book back on my shelf. It waits patiently at my bedside, thick with stories. I pull the jumper off gently. Maybe next time.
Pireh Moosa (she/her) is a media student, based in Karachi, who loves reading, writing, and anything musical. In all kinds of writing, Pireh obsesses over capturing the largeness of miniscule moments in time – the feelings, movements, and encounters that leave us changed, in some way. Her work is inspired by the likes of Vandana Singh, Ocean Vuong, Charlotte McConaghy, Rainbow Rowell, and many, many others, all of whom have changed her life. Currently, her published work can be found or is forthcoming in Star 82 Review, Ice Lolly Review, The Aleph Review, Pandemonium Journal, and Blue Marble Review.