she secretly sleeps with it, as if it is the perfect lover from the movies, their bodies moulded to fit each other. it shifts, though it is hard, but it does not stop her from having it close to her, as close as closeness permits, locked in a sacred union. her body is giving off heat like a furnace – outside it is snowing as if apocalypse dropped by to say hello – and she is burning up from the cold she caught half-a-day ago. the year has been and will continue to be tough. lifespan has lengthened to numbers barely comprehensible to humanity anymore – they might as well as stop celebrating birthdays and start celebrating immortality. social disequilibria follow suit – they now go on for millenia. but it is alright, she reasons to herself, burying her face against the cotton case, feeling the presence of it comforting. there is it. the heat will allow for its transformation. suddenly she panicks. what if it is pressure that needs to be applied, not heat? what if by then, humanity’s perception of value changed?
seized with terror, she clutches her sack of charcoal closer, tighter, waiting for it to shine.