I've waited here for days now... or is it weeks? She wasn't a dream. She's been here before, seen me, talked to me.
She picked up my hat when it blew off my head, and she gave it back, perching it at a wild angle which made us laugh.
I asked her her name, but she didn't seem to hear. She just stared, smiling that beautiful smile, almost looking through me, it seemed.
And when she left, it was with a laugh and a wave, a kiss on my cheek, though I wondered if it had been clean enough.
So I wait. The goat nibbles its way across the grass slowly, looking up from time to time, but not really noticing me. It pulls at my trousers, my jacket sometimes, as if they might be good to eat, and I try to shoo it away. Perhaps she'll make it go right away when she comes back.
I look at the sky again, and the misty vista of the fields around me. It's one of those evenings; hazy, warm, bright and silent. It was like that when I saw her last.
And I wait.
Then, in the pale distance, I see a figure coming this way. It's in no hurry, but it seems to have a bounce in its step, a lightness. I wait, expectantly, wishing I could wash my cheek, just in case...
It's her. I knew she'd be back. She waves, and I try to wave, too. And as she comes ever closer, I can see the smile on her face, hear that she's already talking to me, though I can't make out the words.
With only a short distance between us, she runs, arriving in front of me with a laugh that brightens the morning still more. She takes off my hat, throws it high in the air, and plonks it back on my head after she's had to run off to retrieve it.
Then a change comes about her. She sits cross-legged on the grass, facing me, a seriousness now on her features. She asks how I am, but does not wait for an answer. She talks. Looking into my eyes, she talks, her voice level, matter-of-fact, but seeming as if that's something of an effort for her.
She talks about herself for a while. Her difficulties with her parents. She has no brothers or sisters. She has few friends. I am the one she can most easily talk to. That makes me feel good!
Then she talks of a boy, a young man. Of a shoe broken as she falls off a kerb. Of how he picked her up. His charm, sense of humour; his hat, sitting crookedly on his head.
And she told me how she had felt while she was with him, how her heart sang and her spirits soared. He was like no other boy she'd met before. He made her laugh, made her feel so at ease with him. Other boys simply annoyed her, bored her, frightened her. She wanted to spend time with him - lots of time. She wanted to get to know him well, very well.
And then it was all over. He'd had to go. He kissed her hand, hoped she'd be all right getting home without shoes on.
She has no shoes on today; she didn't have, the first time I saw her.
Then he was gone. No name, no way to contact him. No arrangement to meet again. He left, turning once to wave.
There are tears in her eyes. Her voice is no longer steady. She stops talking, and looks down, wiping a cheek with the back of her hand.
And she sits there for a long time. The goat grazes noisily, but leaves us alone. She's crying, and so am I.
When she has to leave, she gets up quickly, with determination, wipes her eyes one more time, then comes to me with a sad smile. She leans forward and kisses my cheek again.
“Thank you, scarecrow. I'm sorry to offload on you like that.” Her voice trembles and she stops to take control again. “If only it were you, eh? If only you could be the man of my dreams.”
She looks into my eyes for what seems like a long time.
“I'll be back. Thank you for listening. Thank you so much.”
And with that, she turns and walks away quickly. She doesn't look back, but disappears into the thickening mist, leaving me with the goat.
It strolls over and starts to chew at my jacket.