In the winter of twenty-nineteen, I began thinking about Cody. I had recalled those nights not so far from here, where we once lay together. The trees were bare, stretched out behind our window, and the sky was always so blue. While I thought about it, I could smell that air again, like treacle, through our open window, and it had breathed across layers of dust. And your bed- slightly warm against my back, and my hands were always in yours, and you’d nestle in my neck, too,- and your record player would sit on the cabinet beside us, where you would always play such soft music.
The time is 10:18 in the morning. In the home of Natasha Romanov, a woman sits up in bed. On the cabinet sits a framed photo of a young couple in love: ‘I still can’t believe you said “yes”, my Natalia!’ the handwriting reads, ‘Love always, Alexi’. As she opens the window, a calm morning breeze sighs into the room. The woman catches her reflection in the mirror. The face of Natasha Romanov stares back at her. But this woman is not Natasha Romanov.