His life had changed in the four months, twenty-two days, seven hours and sixteen minutes since she had last seen the back of his head as he walked away, his gait proud, her eyes moist, his fists clenched, her head hurting, his shirt crumpled, her hair billowing, he hesitating, she hoping, he trying not to turn, she willing him to look back one final time, his mind swirling with the thought that he could never go back if he did not turn around right then as she took out her phone, dialed, and collapsed in a heap, lifeless.

The sun descends behind a swirl of cumulus clouds. Mosquitoes make their way towards me. Their evening nibble. Mud droplets bounce off my shoes. Onto my bare calves.

I am irritated.

The dogs bark. A staccato. Then an almighty din. I speak to them. Softly. I slow down, nudging them towards the pavement.

He zips past. Between me and the dogs. A frenzy of bells and barking. I look up. Startled. Furious.

He rides on. Turns. About twelve. Fear writ large on his face. “I’m sorry! I’m really scared of dogs!”

I smile. What’s some mud on my calves?