The blue sky arched high, and the yellow of forsythias dotted the hedged fields. Mark had trekked for hours.
When he paused near a hut at the side of the lane, an old man came out and said, “Going far?”
Mark leaned on the shepherd’s crook he’d brought with him. “I think so.”
Though the old man offered no food, his presence was comforting. Revived, Mark journeyed on.
He passed children skipping rope under the eye of a young woman teacher. They squealed and yelled out phony protests.
There were clouds now, but picturesque, not ominous. It was colder, though.
His mother spoke. “Mark, if I could do it over again, I’d do it differently.”
He thought about it. “I wouldn’t want you to. I can’t imagine being anyone else, and that’s good enough for me.”
He stood still, listening for the source of her voice. “Ma, I wish you’d stay.”
The lane dipped and the hedges grew taller. He kept going.
(Excerpted from one of my novels in progress)