These wide-open spaces, they make her feel alive and at one with all things, and yet she can’t quite shake the lingering hand of death. It trails her like the ghost of some family pet that hangs around not knowing it’s long since dead. Picking an ice-cream from a van parked by the side of the road, she walks over to a bench and sits down. Miles and miles of fields stretch before her. With the sun in full bloom, she licks the vanilla scoop and closes her eyes. Memories flicker and spark, but she pushes them to one side and rids her head of pretty much everything. She can hear birdsong and the distant hum of traffic. She can make out the cries of children flying their kites, and life plays out much the same as it always has, and much the same as it always will. There are cities that sing, and towns that sink. There are lovers that shine for a while, and lovers that slip between the cracks. She’s known them all, and although to have lived and loved makes her smile, somehow it never seems enough. Opening her eyes and taking another lick of her ice cream, she spots some dog chasing a butterfly. It jumps up in the air and snaps its mouth. The butterfly’s too good for it, though. Darting this way and that, it hovers a few feet above the dog’s head before disappearing into some bushes. The dog looks puzzled and can’t quite understand what’s happened. Glancing in her direction, it wags its tail and she motions for it to come over. Hurtling forwards, it jumps up and plants its paws in her lap all eyes on her sugary treat. Looking around, she makes sure its owners are none the wiser. When it seems as if the coast is clear, she offers the dog a lick of her vanilla scoop, and just like that, it slobbers and chomps the thing out of sight. Licking her fingers as a way of saying thanks, it turns and launches back from where it came leaving her with a warmth in her heart she does her best to preserve like pressed flowers within the pages of a book.