A dark band of clouds rose from the ocean, cut by the rush-hour horizon of flashing taillights that eerily left no engine roar or blaring of horns, just like that early evening seasons ago, when I thought she left.
Every few moments, a soft breath of air would gently rattle the reeds, and the absolute calm in between the pulses made me feel like I was someplace I’d never been before, just like that early evening seasons ago, when I thought she left.
Except this time, the soft breath of air was the first life of summer, instead of a eulogy for both autumn and my friend.
I was leaving for Idaho the next morning. She used to love the ranch here, where she could run without restraint through creeks and cottonwoods and canyons of sagebrush littered with wildflowers.
I asked her if she wanted to come with us.
A massive gust roared down the canyon and emptied into the lagoon, leveling the reeds in a rush to the ocean.
Just like that early evening I thought she left.
That time, she raced me on the wind through a sunset-drenched California sky, all the way back to the house.
This time, she rested quietly next to Emma, as dawn turned to dusk, all the way back to Idaho.