She stood as close to the glowing brazier as possible, her hands thrust deep into the pockets of her bulky jacket, watching as the vendor shovelled the hot chestnuts into a paper bag. And I watched her.

Our relationship was at that wonderful Can it really be true? stage and I found myself looking at her often, making sure of my good fortune. She was not tall, five foot two in the old measure, and when we embraced her head would rest in the curve of my neck, cradled there by my hand cupping the firm roundness of her skull beneath the glorious hair.

It was her hair that had first attracted my attention, although at this moment there was little to be seen from under the hood of her jacket. Just a curl or two, deep red, hinted at the hidden glory. Her hair was not her only concealed beauty. True, the snug ski pants revealed the curves of calf and thigh, but the chunky fur lined boots hid the fine delicacy of ankle and foot, and the bulky jacket the voluptuous curves of the woolen sweater beneath. She was still gazing into the glowing coals, lost in thought, miles away, and I had a fleeting jealousy of the unknown subjects of her reverie. It did, however, give me the opportunity to look my fill upon my love.

Her large eyes were green, that unique shade that seems to be exclusive to those with red hair, her face more triangular than oval. The tip of her nose was cherry red from the cold, which was somehow endearing, and her lips slightly downturned as though her present daydream held an element of sadness uncharacteristic of her usual vivacity.

The chestnut vendor held out the bag impatiently and I realised that I too had been lost in my thoughts. I paid him quickly and took her arm.

“Come on Chestnuts,” I said, “We can’t stand around the fire all day!”

She smiled up at me with those big green eyes. Sweeping her hood back she shook her hair free, and it flowed like molten copper. We wandered off, back into the real world, sharing chestnuts and kisses.



H.St. V.Beechey Sept. 1993