I didn't look at him. It was our pact after all.
I could feel the air ghosting across my skin as he sat down, hear his breath mingling with the leafy rustle of wind in the trees. His nervous movement jostled my chair. It was both a comfort and a torment to know I could reach out and touch him sitting there so close to me.
But it wasn't to be.
As always, he didn't speak but my ramblings brought a smile to his face. I couldn't see it, but felt it in my bones as the chairs creaked, the brook babbled nearby, the birdsong created a joyous chaos overhead.
I told him about what had happened since we'd last met, how the world grew insane at times, how people changed and were forever the same. How much I missed him.
He shifted at that, the groan of chairs heavy with remorse, and I knew I should stop, keep the topics light and funny, perhaps call him ridiculous names as I had in past lives, anything to keep him there.
But the more I wanted to turn, to touch, to hear his voice, the further he retreated.
It wasn't in our pact.
I choked back the sobs rattling in my throat, wiped away any tears that managed to escape, tried to lighten the conversation in a desperate attempt to turn back the clock to earlier happier times.
It was too late. Our hour was up.
And he had already gone.