Wrapped in a smooth velour blanket, her goose bumped skin cool to the touch, she bowed her head and closed her eyes. Her warm breath heated the tent of comforting softness and she imagined a world where opinions weren’t people’s facts, where bias and tiny world-views weren’t the end of the story. She entered the dark alcove she had created and let the garden of paranoia beyond the door of her room slide away.
The air in the cave stayed nippy except for the small window of warmth each time she exhaled. The rhythm created, as her heart slowed and her breathing relaxed, began to lull her nerves and ease her shoulders. Feeling the follicles on her toes bristle, she curled up tighter, pulling her feet back under the blanket to avoid the colder temperatures outside.
Rolling to her side, she let the crackle of the fire develop in her mind. She felt her skin start to relax and warm to the gradually changing temperature. Muscles lightened and her tears dried; she slept.
On the other side awaited the world she knew as home. Simple, unassuming people lived simple, unassuming lives there. She adjusted once, during the night, and caught a glimpse of a rising ash from the fire as it burned from its tiny firefly state into a particle too small to see and flew away. Someone had put more wood on the fire to keep the cave warm through the night. When she woke, the fire was out. A ripple and a splash told her someone was having a bit of fun at the creek bed. She stretched and shed the woven wool cloak that had been draped over her. Grabbing her bucket with soap and sponge, she raced to join them.