From what I understand from the giant’s stilted, sketched account, this is the way it happened: On a late spring day, when we were warm down in the valley but there was still snow up in the mountains, she and her mother went out collecting mountain goats. It’s true that mountain goats are winter-skinny and poor eating that time of year, but it’s the time of year when creatures living on the edge of mountains can’t afford to be fussy about what they eat.
late spring we’re still snow and collecting time to be
She didn’t tell me, but I imagine, that for so long it had been just her and her mother that they didn’t really need to talk to get on with what they were doing. They knew where to go, what to do, who would do what. Maybe they’d been doing it for so long that they forgot to be careful. Maybe it was something that would have happened no matter how careful they were. Maybe her mother was deliberately not careful, because she was tired, because she was sad, because she was cold. Crouching close to the edge of a cliff, reaching her inconceivable arm down to a rocky ledge to scoop up a prized ram, she lost her balance—so the giant, the last giant, speculated. She saw it only from a distance, from her own cliff edge that she was negotiating with a heavy bag of goat, but she still heard it, whenever she heard anything like it—a cry, a crash—or simply when she closed her eyes, or sometimes when she stopped to think about anything. It was the sound, she explained to me, of Alone. It took me a while to figure out that this phrase was not ragged grammar but a simple fact.
so long cold negotiating with alone