I kept thinking he would be there. I kept thinking that if I paused along the path, he might be sitting up in that big house wondering why I was late. And when I came to the door, he would open it with one of those familiar smiles and laugh and ask what took me so long.
I kept thinking that he would be as before, towering above me like chestnuts that lined the lane, his arms spread wide and strong. I just kept thinking. But when I approached, the sun was setting on the hill, but no lights were coming on in the house. It was dark, the ghost shell of what it used to be, I was sure. I had never been there, but David had described it as a place of such life and character that to be dusty and dark could not be normal.
My feet crunched on the leaves and debris strewn on the terrace, parts of the building left half finished when the workers abandoned these jobs for glory in war. A twig snapped, and with a rustle in the eaves, an owl made its escape into the night. I wished I could follow it.
“David?” I called. There was no answer but my pounding heart. Still, irrationally, I expected there to be. I pushed open the door, hoping to see him emerge from another room with that smile on his face and a drink in his hand. He didn’t. This time my voice was a whisper when I asked, “David?”
From room to room I went, running at first then stumbling, then all but crawling. “David? David, David, David,” I kept repeating, but I knew there would never be a reply. I knew it, but I did not know it. I did not know it at all.
It was then I realized - of course he wasn’t in the house. Of course - he couldn’t be! A house couldn’t hold a young spirit such as he. He would be off, out in the woods adventuring like we had done before. He would be off living life. It was getting dark; surely he would be close, not far from the village, not far from his home.
On these threads of thought that supported the whole of my body, I pulled myself up and made my way to the door. I could feel David near, and I was going to find him.
I would find him.