A shadow of the woman I’d come to love, she hid in the shade of a willow.
“Don’t be afraid,” I whispered. “I’m home, my love.” Breaths that should have kissed the morning were not there, but home was still home.
The object of my affections cowered further still pulling the willow tendrils about herself in a futile attempt to vanish.
“Don’t you remember me?” I said.
“Please leave me alone.” Her voice, timorous and faint barely carried the short distance between us.
“But we were in love once. You must remember. You have to.”
Anna — for that was her name — released the willow’s tresses and stepped towards the river.
“Be careful,” I warned. But eyes wide, body shaking, Anna shifted closer to the churning waters.
“Please, Anna. I’ve traced my way home along the moonbeam roads from that place beyond places. I’ve navigated eternity and all for you. It took so long, so very long. But I’m home now. I’m home. You must come back. You have to remember.”
“There is no back,” she breathed. “You are not man who I loved. You’re a ghost.”
“But I’m a ghost that loves you!” I implored. “Isn’t that all that matters?”
“Yes,” she replied. Anna hung her head and said, “And that’s why I do this.”
I lunged for her, but too late, my hands passing straight through her lavender cardigan. Incorporeal, I could not save her. But I’d have died all over again if it meant I could.
In a heartbeat she’d vanished swept away by the torrent and I was left distraught.
I screamed without sound, beat the ground without striking earth.
“All for nothing!” I wailed.
“Not nothing, my love,” came a voice of liquid honey. “Not for nothing,” she said again, as a spectral hand took my own.