“Will you not come down to join the festival?”
Fanne did not turn from where her hand holding the quill moved across the paper. “Sorry, no.”
There was no sound of Leefer leaving.
Fanne still did not turn. “I would not enjoy it. After greeting a few friends and having a glass of something, I would retreat to a corner and spend the rest of the evening watching. It’s more profitable for me to stay here and work.”
“But – ”
Fanne continued to write.
“But there are folk to talk with and dancing… you like dancing.”
“Perhaps I’m not in the mood.”
“I don’t understand.” There was a quiver in Leefer’s voice that finally made Fanne stop writing and turn her head.
“Listen, Leefer. I like to help people, I want them to prosper. But as a group, I prefer to let them be. I never feel a part of them. At every celebration, some bit of me is always standing away and watching. It is a lonely feeling and I like to avoid it.”
“But they like you – ”
“And often, I like them. but sometimes that is not enough.”
“I don’t understand.”
“It’s not required you should.” Fanne turned back to her paper and re-dipped the quill, began writing once more. She paused as a hand fell gently upon one shoulder.
“Fanne, does that not staying apart feel lonely as well?”
One corner of Fanne’s mouth lifted, though Leefer could not see it. “Yes, sometimes it does. But I would sooner be lonely here than there. And I am used to it.”
“Used to it…” Leefer’s voice trailed away and the hand on her shoulder was removed.
Fanne continued to write as the thick door shut behind her, cutting off the sounds of celebration in the streets. The sudden silence was like a balm. And a burden.