A cold wind wound down from the north that autumn.

“Stay,” he had said. “You don’t want to be wandering in the woods as winter approaches. That would be foolhardy.”

She did not want to respond, shook her head ever so softly, looked at him again, as if for the first and, surely, for the last time. Her life here had been foolhardy.

In the beginning though, after she had chanced upon the cottage, been taken in, bathed in the blanket of warmth and the layered solitude, the freedom of isolation, of life pared down to its beautiful core, she had thrived.

Daylight always ends. Night shutters descend. Intimacy slowly suffocates.

He had clung to her like damp moss.

The woods had choked out the sun.

The air hung heavy as lead, poisoning the spirit, weighing her down with the weight of her intransigence.

Though her resolve was steadfast, she knew that contradicting him was a waste of energy. Where once, early after her arrival, they had submerged themselves into each other, pressed together like two stray leaves on one cloistered page, time had withered their fresh intensity.

She exited.

“Wait,” she heard.

She felt some vestige of regret, but not enough to turn back.


This “reflection” is in response to this week’s prompt for Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction challenge #8: The avenue of poplars, a somewhat sombre image from the hand of Vincent Van Gogh. I like to think my brief exploration captured a sense of Vincent’s gloom.



Avenue of Poplars