The road to the Sea of Trees was damp, the sky above grey. They both shivered beneath scarves and jackets. She had told him she would accompany him only so far, her words like the crack of a broken branch.
He had thought they’d make conversation as they went, though he could not fathom how that might start. The further they progressed, the more her face matched the sky.
That’s all, she said finally. It ends here for me.
The forest awaited, but as he watched her retreat toward her life, his regrets gathered around his feet like leaves.