She held out her hand, and he clasped it in the largeness of his own. His grip was tender but enveloping, and she clung to him with the strength of a rising raptor.

“I never thought to see you here,” she whispered.

As he let go of her hand, which he had gingerly shaken, he said, “Neither did I anticipate your presence.”

“We must be lucky,” she said, a smile lifting her lips and lightening her eyes.

He stepped backward, “I would not say it that way. It is another life for us both these days.”

Shadows seemed to gather grayly, blackly, round her, some clouding her previously radiant face. Her voice quivered, choked, “Ah, then, I will be getting on my way. Fare thee well, and never you stop to worry yourself over the one who dearly loved you on that long misbegotten yesterday. It is now over; as have you, so have I forgotten that love we partook.”

The crimson skirt and ebon cape swirled, like ripples in a pond, around her as she turned and stalked away. His dark eyes followed her until the fog swallowed her form. Then he wondered, was she a specter imagined, or the reality that haunted every passing dream.

© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan

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