The sound of water filled her head, the rain pouring in torrents and the roar of the millrace. Her feet trod water, and the path before her eyes was a leaden blur. Still she ploughed on, head bent beneath the black umbrella where the raindrops beat out a heavy rhythm. It has been a green paradise, the garden around the water mill, a tame jungle of flowering shrubs and trees, sweet with scents and birdsong. No longer. The mill abandoned, the land sold and garden dug over, nothing was left but ruins. And the river.
He wanted a new life, adventure, the city, he said. She would have gone with him. She would have found the nerve if he had helped her. But he had had no time to waste. Impatient always, he wanted everything now, on the instant. So he took what he wanted and left behind what was of no use. She was no more able to say no than yes. Even now, with the burden she carried, she could not make up her mind.
The river roared until she could no longer hear her thoughts, no longer hear the tiny voice in her belly pleading for something she did not want to give.
She stood on the shaky wooden bridge, staring into the turbulent water and made her first and last decision.