He couldn’t concentrate on what he ought to have been doing; concentration flushed.

The pull of procrastination was full and hard; he gripped against it, palms and fingers rubbed raw from the tugging. He wished he could have the sense of mystery of a young child, fresh in view. At the most inopportune moments possible, he thought of her, an image floating in his mind’s eye. He imagined that a life full of such spitefulness could only lead to heartache and turmoil and moments of emotion existing as mere schadenfreude, the pleasure increasing at the misfortunes brought on by spite and hatred. He could see that his place in the here and now was nothing more than a spot on the continuum, each day rolling into the next like a snowball rolling down a steep incline, picking up speed and snow as it turns ever faster, the valley calling loudly. He could close his eyes and smell her scent just on the edge of the wave-tossed air gusting off the bay; but it was a mirage, as he knew she was miles away, another river holding her heart.

He felt a yearning, one that had not so much creeped into his psyche as ambushed it in a daring and blazing daylight attack, and he ached for the yearn back. The wind was finally cool and moist and felt like a winter was reaching out to touch more than flesh. He was wrapped in the stillness of the autumn morning, an envelope of peace around him intruded by thoughts of mortality. “Sweetie,” she said, and he felt complete and special, one among many, a soul not lost. We must be thankful, always, for that which we have been given, a life along a river, a life bountiful and full. Met by autumn stillness, he stepped into the sunlight, cloudless blue skies overhead and a dance of tiny ribbons on the river’s surface.