through a glass darkly...



The collie flies along the beach at my side: grin lopsided, tongue lolling, his hair and mine flopping in the breeze. Mile after mile we stride along the sea-firmed, glistening sand. I find a stick to throw, he gallops after it and drops it proudly at my feet.

The air smells good - salty and clean. Last night's rain washed the dust away, in more ways than one. It's my first visit since Peter died. It seems a long time since I laughed this much.

Finally, panting, I stand and watch the sea. It's a while since I walked so far, so fast. The dog senses the change in mood and flops to the sand at my side. I hear his little panting breaths, the scratch of claws on sand as he settles down. He looks as though he would be comfortable anywhere - hard sand, cool grass, the warmth of a hearth-rug in front of the fire. I'd like a companion like that, I think.

The tide's on the turn, hurrying in a little more with each passing wave. Spent shells litter the sand, the breeze is chill, clouds gather around the sun. I dig my hands in my pockets and turn for home, ready to call the dog, but there's no sign of him. It's a flat beach with nobody about, and not so much as a tree to hide behind. And across the smooth sand there's no sign of his footprints, only the long lonely line of my own.

* * *

© Fiona Glass
(Originally published by Pill Hill Press.)

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