The myth might wear away, but the truth remains, revealed, remembered.

You reach your hand inside your pocket, thankful to be free of gloves now Spring has sprung, the promise of warmer air, tender against your skin, welcome against your open face and hands.

Your fingers feel for the smooth round pebble, a hard stone, polished. A prehistoric and permanent reminder of our own sacred geology.

Melancholy whispers from within, mourning, grieving, wishing my hand were here with yours. The stone feels cold, yet reassuring, with its innate strength and resilience. It has endured thousands of years, millions in fact, and remains beautiful and true. And why not?

As symbolism goes, this feels real. Breathing in the outside air you recall the ritual or early morning, sipping your tea, propped up in bed, snug beneath the Sunday covers, considering the trees beyond your bedroom window.

Your ears stretching out into the silence, wanting to hear a floorboard creak, the weight of my frame treading carefully out from the room next door.

But no, instead, and while you find the stillness welcoming, you begin to concede, admitting to the silence, a saddening messenger, niggling with nostalgia, giving in to needing, wanting you instead to wake from this dream, to be back on the forest, with the morning light bleeding in, golden, warm and green, seeping in through the slender gaps that surround those heavy cream curtains.

Remembering young lovers, hidden away in our dream cottage. Knots tied in beaded bracelets, threads that never break nor leave our wrists. A romance hand written and hand woven, sewn into our souls, loop stitched, yours, mine, ours, Avalon. Ashdown.

For a moment you stop walking, pausing to survey the horizon, accepting the silhouette of the tree line set against the soft, cloudless sky, patiently waiting for you at the far edge of this open field.

The ground, softened beneath your feet, feels forgiving and accepting of you. The hard of winter, mellowing to Spring, welcoming the warmth and waiting for the clocks to roll forward and for the reach of each day to stretch a little further out into the night.

Your fingers grip the stone, reminding you of my strength, standing beside you, standing firm, like the ruined arches of Bayham’s Abbey, unyielding in their union, a worship of quarried stone, a cat’s cradle of architectural fingers reaching up from the hallowed ground and holding the sky, causing you to tilt your head to the heavens and connecting you with something higher, something that is not you.

You close your eyes and listen to the stream of thoughts flowing through you, choosing to recall your large wooden box, the polished lid, closed and locked. A small brass key, hanging from a thin silver chain, hidden beneath your outer layers, its tiny touch caught between your clavicles.

With your one hand pocketed, still hidden and holding a light grip around your chosen stone, you raise your free hand, fanning your fingers across your chest and pressing your tender touch, finding your pulse, your heart bumping beneath your ribs.

The simple outline of that little brass key pressing into your skin and reminding you of him.