Material over flesh.
Droplets of sweat surround his lips and cling to his forehead. He’s trembling. Purples and blues paint his knuckles dark like Van Gogh’s Starry Night. The swelling will take hours to go down. White dust speckles his dark wash jeans, giving him the look of a painter or a builder.
How had it come to this?
It was only days ago that they had walked through the forest together. The sun was out, there was a cool breeze. Her hair was down. She smelled like sugar, and had flour on her jeans.
She tells him to be quiet for a moment.
“Listen,” she says, head thrown back, gazing up at the trees. Her hair touches the small of her back. He stops walking.
That's when he hears it, the buzzing. Loud and all around them. Bees, she tells him. All through the fields and the tree tops. They were everywhere but they didn’t pay them any mind. They were nothing to them. Nothing at all. Just two people moving about the world.
“Do you hear them?” she asks.
She looks into his eyes and laughs. He’s calm. Her laugh is like a lullaby.
The dust is making it hard for him to breathe. With his purple hands, he opens the window, letting air in. There’s a cool breeze. One might forget the season if they focused too hard on the current temperature. He closes his eyes and breathes in. In through the nose, out through the mouth. All he can hear is her laughter. He’s calm.
“Dove sei andata?”
 "Where did you go?"