A lot of the time, Gretel liked to pretend she was just as happy as she ever had been. Especially when her brother was watching her; she became acutely aware of being monitored, and put on a smile whenever she could, cracking a joke and leaving her art supplies out on purpose. To show him and whoever came looking, that she was just fine. She was handling herself well, she was rekindling old hobbies and staying proactive.
But when her brother and her best friend were both not around to see her, Gretel allowed herself the benefit of a few sad tears.
The night was dimming slowly, turning from bright crimson and orange to warm pinks and purples. The moon pulled itself above the forest treetops, kissing the sun goodnight, and Gretel watched it all happen from her front porch.
It was warmer now in Knighton, but still somewhat chilly at twilight so her fingers clutched a shawl close around her shoulders. She pulled her feet out of her slippers, nudging them aside as she sat in front of her cottage, it’s chimney puffing away high above her head.
"How do you stop wanting something so much?" She asked the stars desperately that began to twinkle above Knighton, her nose red and eyes becoming glossy with tears. She didn’t have to hide it here, with her moment to herself on her front porch.
Gretel wanted to run down the road, slipping on pebbles to get to Andy’s home at the other end of town. She wanted to throw herself to her knees and apologise until her throat ran dry. She wanted him to know that she hadn’t meant all of what she’d said, that she missed him. But part of her wondered that even if she did, would things really return to how they had been? Would he really pay her the attention she wanted? Give her the love she desired?
The questions and sniffing gave her a headache on the matter, of which she was thankful for the sudden distraction of a squeak coming from up ahead by her front gate. Fearing it might be a person she knew, Gretel quickly used the corner of her shawl to wipe at her eyes and she breathed in quickly. No. She had not been crying on this beautiful night.