She lifts her shoulders closer to her ears in an attempt to close up any gaps around the scarf. Hands gloveless, they are buried in her pockets among the folded and rolled up bits of paper she resists throwing out because she likes to have something to do with her hands.
“It’s not that cold,” her brother will say. But he’s used to it.
She is on her way to meet him at an outdoor cafe in the shade. They will order hot chocolates because they’re both trying to avoid caffeine so they can focus. In the colder months, the cafe lends out small blankets to its customers — an idea she will praise endlessly, huddling underneath one while her brother shakes his head and his bare arms make her feel even colder.
The path towards the cafe is lined with trees that are shedding their leaves for winter. The ground all around her is red, orange, yellow and brown. It strikes her suddenly that these trees do the opposite of most animals to prepare for the colder months: they shed rather than gain layers. A leaf, she thinks, must use up more energy than it brings. Her brother will know.