What is it with your husbands’ eyes, and when did they lose their luster? You wonder, pondering the question as you trudge back across the open fields, with the fringe of the forest edged in silhouette and slowly shrinking behind you.

Was the brightness ever really there, you muse, or did you just project it? Was the intensity you thought you saw in each cornea merely the reflection of your own inner light? Did his eyes simply serve to reflect your hidden hopes and dreams, rather than provide their own, much like a mirage, cruelly convincing.

Hope fading, like the light of this day, at first unnoticeable, imperceptible, but now creeping, eking out, a slow draining of color and heat. A fire dying, the air cooling, biting at your skin. You pull your coat tighter and plunge your hands into your pockets, the unearthed pendant gripped in your fist, your mind curious to know whatever words or promises you might find written on that tiny scroll of sequestered paper.

Walking home alone, absently pondering, a lonesome wondering, asking yourself when did their light first begin to fade and their truth become so trite and dull? The shift, so insidious, surreptitious, their promise fading from your sight and giving rise to a tide of emotional loneliness, both familiar and frightening.

Was what you thought you saw nothing more than what you needed to see? Survival. Instinctive and essential. Something so primitive and subconscious it can turn a desert haze into an oasis and trick the mind to just keep on going.

Fuck. The weight of the truth comes crashing down like a felled tree falling in the forest a few hundred yards behind you. Branches split and crack as they break under the weight of the fall. The earth tearing open, roots ripping as they fail to hold on.

Emotionally weakened by your own vulnerable confession you search for hope, symbolism and strength. Clutching in one hand the tiny glass vial, while in the other, the smooth round contours of your chosen stone. You grip them in your pockets and press on, your muddied boots trudging over the sodden open field, your eyes held to the outline of the houses on the horizon.

Under an empty sky, now bruising purple, the last of the sun dips deeper into the tree line behind you, shadows growing longer, stretching out ahead of you as you hasten to get home before the dark.

Remembering the ruin of the abbey, Bayham, her gables gone. Her arches ruined, yet defiant, her body broken, yet undeniably strong, her beauty weathered, aged and worn, and yet all the more essential.

Traipsing your way home across the open fields, you begin playfully passing the time, arranging thoughts and memories into fantasies most delectable. Recalling the quiet strength behind your lover’s eyes, their energy magnetic, burning all the brighter and unable to conceal his crush.

Your knees weaken with rude thoughts of fornication, imagining the sensation of seeing him, the floor of your kitchen seeming to fall away from under you. “What are you doing here?” you ask, bewildered and excited to see him standing before you.