The long day brought him at last to a river. Remnants of daylight filtered through the pine boughs. He sat on a fallen log, possessing neither bottle to refill nor pillow to lie upon.
He closed his eyes. The river sang its melody, peaceful, content. Always before, the music and scent of pine needles freed his heart; now, the great sentinels towered over him like prison bars.
He stood, ignoring weariness, and turned from the river. If his strength lasted, he’d be back by daybreak. She’d be surprised to see him. But nevermore would he find peace among the pines if she could not enjoy it with him.