10 December


I cannot bear to write about the state of the garden. Leaves shredded, branches torn, vines tangled and uprooted. Pots upended or so waterlogged that the plants are close to drowned. I will let you imagine the rest. I came up knowing it would be bad, but it was far, far worse than I imagined. The protective covers that were meant to ameliorate the worst of it had been entirely ripped away, such was the force of the wind.

There was a moment when  all I could hear was his voice: hope will prevail, he would say. I tried to repeat it out loud, but the words wouldn’t come. It seemed to me then, as it possibly never had before (which is ridiculous given all that has happened) that hope would not prevail. That despair was the best and only possible recourse.

And then, as I wandered, using only my torch — the outside light was another victim of the storm — I found a message from my correspondent.  CBF, it read. We will make it Clean, Beautiful, and Safe. Another hopeful mantra. She (and I have no evidence of this, but I think of her as a girl) had gathered  some fallen flowers and placed them to float in a bowl of water together with small candles. They were still alight, she could not have been gone long.

And so it seems I am a fool after all. I did what both you and he would expect me to do; I put things to right. As far as I could, that is; it is hard to effect repairs in the dark.


the Ghost Knight



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