The air smelled sweet and intoxicating. Sorrow surged within her. Plum blossoms. Spring was drawing near. These were Mei’s first steps on this path without him. It felt so familiar, and so strange. The same path, the same steps. Yet it all felt new, without his feet leaving a trail in the snow beside hers.
The first of many times he brought her here, it was their first big trip out of town together. They had followed this path up this mountain, though at the time, she was secretly afraid of heights. It was here they’d agreed to spend their lives together. And so they had. But now his life was over, and hers continued on.
Mei came to the edge of the mountain and gazed across the woods below, spattered with signs of life finally showing beneath the last snow. She closed her eyes, and spread her arms wide, opening her chest, and breathed in deep the frosty honeyed scent of the quiet trees. It carried her back to when he had walked her towards this same edge, and gently nudged her ahead of him. Pushing through her fear, Mei had done the same then, closing her eyes and breathing deep, arms stretched out as far as they would reach. When she had turned, laughing, she saw him, down on one knee, small red box in hand. They had spent all that afternoon sitting on the mountainside, surrounded by the emerging plum blossoms and their love for one another.
She opened tear-filled eyes, and sat down where he had once knelt. Her eyes drifted to the small reddish blossoms peeking through the snow at her. They appeared so delicate, but their very presence in the face of winter proved their strength. Mei smiled softly. And there she stayed, all that afternoon.