The grass was long, and the broken stems of it scratched the back of her neck and tickled the backs of her knees. It had once been a wheat field, but now golden bushels of wheat grew in camaraderie with wild, thorny flowers and thick blades of grass with miniscule hairs.
She lay with her hands clasped behind her head, elbows to the sky, blonde hair blending into golden stalks with her feet crossed at her ankles. The sunlight was warm, but not brazen. She was a bit thirsty; she felt the tickle of it at the back of her throat, but such was the way of that early summer.
Her dress was maroon and plainly floral, stretching to the middle of her thigh and tying in straps on her shoulders. Her shoes were grey and old; practical slippers for running, falling, and exploring.
She was sure he would come back soon, like he said. The river was not that far away. When the shadow of an overhanging wheat stalk stretched to cross her abdomen, she began to wonder.
What if darkness fell, and still he had not come? What if he had never been there at all? If he had been erased, a figment of her fantasy that she must leave behind but never forget. Would she realize this and return home along the dirt path or catch cold waiting for him, accompanied only by Orion’s belt and her dear Luna? Or would she continue where the dirt path succumbed to the wheat field and walk away from the house?
If he was naught but a dream, then she could create her own dream once more. She would find a new town, a new life, a new name. She would rely on the kindness of strangers but pay them back in ways that she could offer. They would take her in, in the cover of cleansing darkness, and they would be intrigued by her amiable languor. They would come to need her, and she would take them in. she could invent this life for herself, she could make a new––
––she heard crunching underfoot in the grass beyond her vision. Her eyes were closed; she subsisted upon the essence of his approach, the aura of his presence and the warmth in her breast accompanied by the goose bumps on her skin. His shadow fell across her face as he lay down beside her and held her. She opened her eyes.