Dressed in some soft color…pink, was it? He didn’t think he’d ever seen her in such a shade. She glowed in it, and of herself, bathed all around in sunlight.
She was pushing wee Brian on a swing, the both of them laughing.
She looked up suddenly, as if drawn to him by some heavenly force, meeting his eye, recognition sparking in her own. Her lips parted and—
“Malcolm? Will you come here a moment, please?”
Jamie came to himself and leaned his shovel against a nearby tree, blinking away the dream that had haunted him each night these last few weeks.
Each time the ending was different.
Some nights she gasped and ran to him, flinging herself into his arms, brimming with laughter and tears of joy.
Some nights she crumpled to the ground, and it was he who came to her, gathering her to him, lifting her chin up to whisper, “I’m here, mo chridhe…I willna ever leave ye,” before kissing her, soft at first, then deeply.
But on other nights….most nights…the look in her eye wasn’t one of delight. It was horror. Sorrow. Guilt. Decision. “I’m sorry,” the look said, “I’m so, so sorry… I can’t.”
He shuddered with dread of it, and stooped to retrieve the canteen from the ground, taking a long swallow and wiping the sweat from his brow as he walked across the courtyard to answer the summons of his employer.