by Sue Johnson
It was a night like this when Megan disappeared ten years ago. The path and the skeletal trees looked as if they’d been dipped in sugar frosting. White mist rose and swirled like ghosts across the water meadows. I stood at one end of the bridge and gazed down at the black river and the silver coin moon that, from this angle, had drowned in the fathomless water. The frozen air smelled of wood-smoke.
I gazed up at the old-fashioned streetlight that was intended to light my way. The bulb had blown. The moon had gone behind a cloud, and the other side of the bridge had been swallowed up by the creeping mist. I hesitated before moving forward. My grandmother said you should never cross a bridge if you couldn’t see the other side. You could be transported to the otherworld.
The mist carried the smell of violets – the perfume Megan always wore. I thought I heard an echo of her voice in the river’s music, caught a brief glimpse of her slim figure in the pink dress she was wearing the day she vanished. I stepped forward, calling her name. Icy fingers gripped mine when I reached the middle of the bridge, pulled me into an eternal embrace. I didn’t struggle. My life was nothing without her. There would be no going back.