"At the touch of love, everyone becomes a poet"

I, Emmy Walker, used to scoff at the thought of romance. I'd go as far as to say I could write my entire lifestory in quotes from offbeat indie films. "I don't believe in love. It's a fairytale." To others, I was a crazed feminist; to myself, I just had my head screwed on straight.


1. 1

I, Emmy Walker, used to scoff at the thought of romance. I'd go as far as to say I could write my entire lifestory in quotes from offbeat indie films. "I don't believe in love. It's a fairytale." To others, I was a crazed feminist; to myself, I just had my head screwed on straight. I'd sigh when my friends gushed about their boyfriends, I'd make a point of averting my eyes when a young couple walked past hand in hand, and I vowed never to be so naïve. What was the point, really? You met someone, you fell for them, you dated, you argued, you kissed and made up, you argued more, you decided to give eachother some space, you grew apart. Whether this process lasted for weeks or months or years, at the age we were, the end always seemed nigh to me. In hindsight, I was probably right - but it's only when stood on the outside looking in that you maintain 20/20 vision. Once enthralled you are left blinded in the spotlight and sporting rose-tinted glasses. 

On the day of the dubious encounter I was awoken not by the first light of the day streaming through my windows, nor the melancholy sound of birds serenading, but instead my sister's snub nose just inches away from mine.

"Emmy! EMMY!"

I groaned and rolled onto my side.

"Emmy, darling. Emmy, dearest. EMMY, WAKE THE HELL UP - IT'S SNOWING! "

In spite of the emotional attachment I had with my bed, it would take more effort than I could muster to lie there and pretend not to care. This was England, not Canada. What may be all too familiar for some, for us is a novelty: that sought after thick white blanket of frozen precipitation. In a few clumsy moments I was at the window, Holly by my side in all her innocence. We looked at the sugar-topped chimneys, the fresh pawprints in the back garden, the crispness of the untouched patches beyond. It didn't take much more than that to have us up and out the door, pyjamas tucked into wellington boots and everything else au naturel.  

There's no other way to describe that morning other than like a sun drenched, vintage effect photograph. Children were out in abundance, laughing and squealing as snowballs melted into the small of their backs and the pockets above their collarbones. I played with Holly and her friends until they got fed up of my 'big girl talk'. I never did have much patience for children. I backed away and crouched slightly uncomfortably with my chin resting on my knees in an igloo someone had moulded from the ground, shivering, but content. 

"Knock knock. May I come in?" an unfamiliar voice queried.

I rolled my eyes. It was a boy, and talk about cliché, sneaking up behind me and saying something like that. I decided in the heat of the moment, however, that having such a cynical viewpoint would do me no favours and, given that my current situation - alone - seemed almost a metaphor for my life as a whole, I was going to have to let someone in. I turned to look at him. He was nothing breathtaking, far from the angel descended from above you might expect to appear at such a mundane moment in my existence. Life isn't a fairytale. There's no denying I liked the look of him, though: tousled auburn hair, pale skin with a smattering of freckles that danced across the bridge of his nose, and dark eyes that were hard to place into a specific colour category. With a nose ever so slightly out of proportion from the rest of his face and an awkwardly skinny build, his flaws were just as obvious as his attributes, and yet I liked them the most. 

"Erm... hey?" he ventured uncertainly.

Good start, Emmy. Dogging someone up, as the saying goes, really makes a good first impression. Better make my reply a little more encouraging.


"Hi. Um. I noticed you were sat in this little ...creation... of yours all by yourself. No one deserves to be alone on snow day! I mean - it only comes around once or twice a year, right? It's like sitting at home on your birthday and blowing all the candles out with no one to cheer you on and having the whole cake to yourself. I am a great lover of cake and even I can see that can't be fun. So. I'm so sorry. I'm gabbling. But... hi."

My reply was genuine this time, the hint of a smile in my voice as I spoke.

"I guess you're right. I'm fine though. Independent, that's me. My little sister's over there anyway, with her friends. I'm just supervising. You know the drill..."

"What, the kooky girl with the haircut?"

I laughed a little too forcefully. Calm down, Emmy. "You could say that."

"Ah, my sister's over there too. Bit of a little-kid-mafia going on by the looks of things. Got a full frontal snowball right in the face just now!" he said, scratching his cheek.

Why was I noticing every movement, analysing his body language so intently?

"That's Holly. Got a damn good aim on her, that girl. Like to think she inherited it from me. God, now I sound like her mum. But you know. The likeness of siblings and all that. Oh dear, I think I've taken a leaf out of your book! Us and our rambling ways. Sit down, if you want. Make yourself at home. As home as home can be in an igloo anyway." 


And so we sat, in that goddamn igloo, if you could even call it that, until the voices died down around us and the snow had been trodden into caramel coloured slush and the sun began to set behind the trees. His name was Callum, and he'd lived on the estate his whole life, something that had apparently passed me by as I'd held my head up high and vowed to maintain my dignity for all those years. If this was losing it, then it felt good. He dreamed of being an engineer, he didn't have many friends at school, he played the drums solo. He had never seen the attraction of sport, he was of Irish decent, he was an anarchist through and through. He wanted to live backwards, he was one of the only people he'd met to enjoy maths, he worshipped Pink Floyd. And me - I was Emmy. Somehow we clicked. Callum and Emmy. Emmy and Callum. 

I hadn't completed abandoned all that I stood for. It was going to take more than one afternoon to bring me round, bring me down off my high horse. But here was a person, a person who understood me, a person I found endlessly fascinating, and not someone I was going to let go of anytime soon. By the time we stood up and stretched our numbed limbs, our curfews had been and gone, and the stars were beginning to emerge one by one from the pool of blue-black ink above.

"Emmy? Can you just dust that bit of mud off my shoulder? I think the little ones brought up half the park when they were making those snowballs." That was the first time I touched him, as brisk of a gesture as it was. The teenage girl side of my brain went into overdrive at that point, little old predictable me. How I hated my estrogen levels. 

I had little time to consider the biology of it all, though, because the next action I could register was his hands around my waist and mine around his neck. I could feel the alcoves of his body, the prominence of his hip bones and their close proximity to mine. Our eyes closed in unison and his lips found mine, slowly, tenderly. They danced together. What began as a waltz evolved into a foxtrot, closely followed by a quickstep and back again. Such feelings cannot possibly be articulated in prose alone.

At the touch of love, everyone becomes a poet.

And I, Emmy Walker, was a new found romantic.

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