AND IN THE AFTERMATH when he is gone, she takes her dogs, goes walking in the nearby Forest…..breathes great lungfuls of ice cold air.

The Forest floor transformed after the last few days of rain…..mosses,  dried brown through the long harsh summer are richly plump and vivid green, and infusing everything, the heavy scent of Eucalyptus, strong, sweet and healing.  She turns her mind to simple things, watches her dogs change from bored domestic creatures into their wolffish origins as walking turns to running, their noses lifting, scenting the air, then loping  wild things…..stopping, scent marking “we’ve been here” they say….”THIS is our territory…..WE have been here,” as they piss and piss again, marking ground, grasses and trees, triumphantly.

“Oh yes” she says quietly, “Oh, Yes…..we have been here, we have lived”  and cannot remember a time before, when she didn’t carry him inside her….the very essence of him.

AND ONCE MORE AT HOME…..Folding clothes, making the bed, removing the pile of books she’s read and read, finding peace in simple things, and soon she’ll pick flowers, fill vases, grace each room with them….because he exists. She lights a daily candle, stares into the flickering flame, speaks his name…..blesses him.

 And remembers that first, unexpected phone call….

“It’s Brian….if I’ve read you wrong, I could lose my job.”

“That won’t happen, but tell me….what did you read?”

“That you are interested in me…. like me”,  there is both laughter and hesitancy in his voice.

“I do. Yes, I AM interested in you…..Very!!!”

“Then will you come and have a drink with me….somewhere private, not local” ( and I can immediately see all the tongues wagging, like some ghastly cartoon)

“Ahhhh, what a good idea”, I say….”name the day.”

“Yesterday ,” he says, and then we both laugh…..the early unsureness easing.

“Yes, I respond….. I feel the same way, yesterday can’t come soon enough.”

Then, emboldened “Or right now, if you can?”

“Just let me take care of a few things….give me two hours, then I’ll be free”, and then laughing, relaxed, he says, “Hurry.”