The alarm broke through the silent house, stirring him awake. He sighed and rolled over, forcing himself upright. ‘Today’s the day,’ he spoke to his dog slumbering on the floor beside his bed. ‘You ready Jake?’ There was a steady thumping of the dog’s tail as the old man shuffled himself towards the bathroom, pausing to scratch Jake’s head. He looked at himself in the mirror, barely recognising the man staring back at him. Sighing, he splashed cold water on his face and changed quickly. He grabbed his bag he had packed the night before and headed for the door, whistling for Jake on the way.
The moon was still high in the early dawn sky, reflecting in the gentle waves lapping the shoreline. He ambled his way down to the water edge; Jake happily padding beside him. He stopped. Closed his eyes. And lifted his face up to the morning sky, feeling the warm air caress his cheek and whisper in his ear. When he opened his eyes, he saw her. Ankle deep in water and smiling back at him. Jake circling her with happy, playful movements. ‘It took you awhile,’ she said. ‘I know.’ He smiled. She laughed and threw her head back, arms outstretched, holding onto those magical moments that hung between night and day. He watched her dancing in the shallows, mesmerised, trying to commit every detail to his fading memory. ‘You know where to find me Nate. You always have.’ He took a breath. And another. And reached into his backpack searching for his most precious of treasures. He gently walked into the water and bent down. Jake burrowed his warm head under his arm.
‘Goodbye my girl,’ he whispered while emptying her ashes into the sea. ‘Become the stars and the night sky and I’ll always know where to find you.’ He stood up. She was gone into the morning light. Dawn broke, rippling rays of painted light across the sky and through the water. ‘Love never dies,’ he murmured.