His first visit home was tinged with sadness. He came because of her sadness. He did not say so, but she knew.
She was walking in the garden when she heard the carriage pull up to the house.
Just a caller.
It was the right time for it.
Twilight in October. Days shortening rapidly. The breeze not yet cold enough to usher her indoors. Face lifted to the stars, which shone silently in the clear dusk. Distant clouds pink and purple, the surge of breeze every so often rifling through the changing leaves. Not so brittle, not so soft, so the rustle they made was like sheafs of textured paper being flipped through y invisible hands. What stories would the leaves tell?
Any moment now, her mother would call to her. Would say someone or other had called in, and she was to make herself available.
‘Ahh, Laura. The beauty of dusk does not soothe you tonight,’
She whipped around, and there he was. Taller, if that was possible. So brown. Brown so his green eyes lit up his entire face, and the smile that did not appear on his lips beamed from his eyes.
She did not know what to do or say, so she moved towards him and flung her arms around him, hiding her face so he wouldn’t see her tears.
Furiously blinking them away, she exclaimed, ‘Tom. What are you doing here!?’
‘I was long overdue a visit to my dear mother,’ he said, and when she didn’t let go of him, he added, ‘I came straight out here to find you.’
‘How did you know I would be here?’
She stood back, finally, and her eyes glittered, but her smile took over her whole face.
‘Twilight on a clear day – I would be surprised to find you indoors.’
She sighed again. ‘It makes my heart ache,’ she murmured.
They stood a little whole longer outdoors, as the dusk turned into a clear, shimmering night.