Breezy with a hint of a chill the old women in the neighborhood warned about. A slow yet dangerous cold that lulls a teenager into a false sense of security, like a gradually heating pot a frog sits in. She starts shivering slightly.
“I think I’m getting cold,” Claire said on their way to the bus stop.
“I’d give you my coat, but then, I wouldn’t have a coat,” said Stephen her boyfriend of too many months.
“That’s not what I meant,” she laughed as the bus arrived.
“Then, what do you mean?”
“This sweater, does it look normal to you?”
“No, but it never has. Is that a shabby decorated Christmas tree or a weird alligator pretending to be a tree?”
“Uh, Not really sure, but it’s been less warm than it used to be. The flames in the chimney, TV, or whatever that box is, are fading,“ she said pointing to a dull red patch above her navel as they took their seats.
“I’ve got no idea love. Where did you get that thing anyway?”
“My grandma gave it to me. It used to be bright and full of odd life. Now, it’s just a sweater slowly decaying.”
“Haha, like your grandma,” quipped Stephen looking out the window. Claire punched his shoulder hard enough to bounce the other off the glass.
“Don’t say things,” her phone rings cutting her off with a fright. “Never again,” she said poking his temple. “Hey, Ma. How’s it… Ummm uh huh… Wait… Uh huh… Ok… Yeah, I’ll come home tomorrow… Yup… Love you too.”
Pulling at the base of her sweater she watched the colors fade before her eyes; the greens, reds, yellows, blues, purples, even blacks all become grey. A chill ran up her spine.