A soft white cloud swirled, then parted, as a slight figure stepped from it's misty center into the stillness of the silent garden. While the thinning vapor lifted and dissipated itself into the freshening breeze, she stood, waiting, listening, as the ordinary evening sounds slowly returned. Long, unbound golden-brown hair snapped across her face in the chilled gust that blew the last of the living mist away. Still, she stood unmoving, until the chirping of the tree frogs and crickets, once again, filled the air around her.

Breathing deeply, she peered into the gloaming, as the twilight blurred into inky darkness lit only by the cold silver moon, cool white stars above, and their reflection in a portion of the small pond which was not covered with the night blooming lotus. The beloved, familiar scent tugged at her heart, and brought a slight smile to curve her lips with memories it pulled from the depths where she had buried them.

Her face tilted upwards, eyes drifting shut, as she drew another deep breath, parted lips savoring the scent of the tropical blooms and thoughts of the past, long suppressed. A crisp breeze brought another scent to touch her senses with a sharper memory. Knowing that she was no longer alone, in the darkness, she turned slowly. Silently gazing into the darkness, she knew he was there, deep in the shadows, watching her.

Illuminated in the moonlight, she arched a brow inquiringly, in his direction, " I see that you have had the dreadful manners to still be lingering on this earth."

He waited a moment, simply looking at her, the true center of his heart. Walking slowly from the darkness into the moon's pale light, he stopped an arms length from her and grinned, "That depends on your point of view, you know."

Looking up into his eyes, a smile of delight curved her lips. "You haven't changed a bit.", she laughed.

Her smile slowly faded as she reached out, placing a palm on his forearm, whispering softly, "Will you come back with me?"

Taking her small hand in his much larger one he squeezed it gently, moving close to stand beside her, quietly saying only, "Tell me."

Revised 26Jan13 © C.G. 2013