This time, it's hazy. Five years ago, when he had come here, the sun was shining and the flowers were blooming. The animals had smiled as he had walked by, and the water had a turquoise-emerald shine to it. Now, the flowers had transformed into weeds, and the animals were nowhere to be seen. The water was a ghostly mist, where the lifeless fish dreamed of the flies that used to be. The trees were old and crooked, as though they were listening for a sound from the mud-stained earth, hoping for a whimper to be heard, so that they could calm their own grief.
She walked through the half-drowned daisies and sat down on a sodden rock. She looked up towards the sky. The clouds were gray, no ray of light squirming through them. The scene was a Renaissance once. The girl with her light golden hair down on her shoulders and the sad landscape that matched her mood were as one soul. They breathed the same breath, they thought the same thoughts, they cried the same tears. But the only thing that they did not do together was laugh.
Long ago, I laughed at something. but what was it?, she wondered. But she didn't want to remember. Then why had she come here? Was she just a tired traveller, or was she someone, just anyone, who had lived here before and who had endured a heart pain and left? Who was she? Did she remember? She didn't want to.
It had been a beautiful day outside, just after a spring shower. The flowers were raising their heads and conversing with the sun. The squirrels were chasing each other and the robins were fighting over a helpless worm that wished he wasn't that important. She had been sitting on the footstool, plucking the chicken and singing "My Heart's in the Highlands". He had come with the wind playing with his hair and whistling an army tune. She had looked up and seen a silhouette climbing the hills and had dropped the chicken and rushed towards the cottage, shouting,
"Mama, mama, there's a stranger coming!"
And her mother had said, very calmly,
"Go and finish plucking the chicken. And when the dogs start barking, shout at 'em and tell 'em to shut up."
The girl stepped outside again and noticed that the man was closer. She could see that he was wearing a kind of tunic made from red cloth. He was carrying a pack of brown, worn leather and, as she sat down again on the stool, he came nearer and asked:
"Is this the only dwelling along the road?"
"Yes, it is. If you are tired, you may stay here for the night. My mother will care for you."
"Thank you. You are very kind."
He had a proper Oxford accent, and one could see that he was from the university. He smiled at her and went to talk to her mother. She was blown away as if something very good had happened, but now it was gone. The way he had looked at her, did it mean anything? Of course not, stop dreaming, and pluck the chicken, she scolded herself. but that scene remained imprinted in her head and she went to sleep dreaming of the man.
Those months that passed had been the happiest of her life. He said that he would come back. He promised. But he never did. She waited and she waited--summers, months, years. And it took her a long time to find out that he had tricked her. At first, it was just a nagging idea, coming through the pink clouds of sunsets. And then, it grew and grew, and she finally had to tell herself the truth. He was never going to come back.
And now her she was, five years later, at the same place. She felt like she had no reason for life. He had taken her heart and tore it apart. She looked towards the cottage. It was a ruined heap and the family cemetery was covered in weeds. She walked slowly towards it. When she arrived to her mother's grave, she dropped a rose, and whispered,
"I cannot see my grave. Where is it?"