On his last evening, I suggested we take a moonlit walk by the duck pond.
A wild boar bellowed out of the darkness of the mountains when we reached the end of the path. We laughed, waiting for the mournful howl to come again, talking freely and without shame as old friends – of how I reminded him of Papa when I performed an especially long trill with my tongue between my teeth. He told me this and so much more, before we collided trying to avoid the branches of a tree.
I confessed that he, my dear Jakob, used to visit me in dreams dressed in a scarlet coat with gold buttons and white silk stockings and with buckles on his shoes. He laughed again and called me his little Schätzl and assured me, as if I did not know already, that it was indeed a dream.
I stumbled when my shoe slipped in wet, fallen leaves but he steadied me with his arm and I felt the child within me turn. We saw each other fully by moonlight and I could hear the wind that came from the rise and fall of our breathing as we stepped apart. The moon shivered on the surface of the lake and we returned to the house, reluctant to let go of the past. N.