Prelude 74

She turned the page of her book, scarcely remembering what she had read. Overhead the huge oak trees swayed in the breeze, showing off their new summer hair-dos. In the nearby playground children frolicked without a care in the world, ignorant of the great sorrow in her heart. Elsbeth sighed. She could not go on like this. She missed Tom immensely but life had to go on, she had to go on. She closed the book, gathered her things, and marched off resolutely, unaware that she was being observed by an old man on a nearby park bench.

The man's gaze followed her for a while as she walked along the canal, then returned to his reflections. A sudden gust of wind tugged at his beard, causing him to stir and draw his overcoat close, before getting up and heading off in the opposite direction.