The Lonely Sunset
She hadn't been back to Dorset since leaving there, but the images remained fresh in her mind. Once again, she tasted the salt of the sea air as she and Father stood arm in arm, watching the waves splash against the shore. Ahead of them, a coat of red tinged the horizon, promising a warm start in the morning. Another day was drawing to a close. What would the next day bring?
Father was quiet, sighing. He sighed often these days; so often, she wondered if he regretted joining the group.
He stirred. 'Your friend's here.'
A red setter dashed towards them, skidding in the sand. The dog pushed his moist nose into her hand and regarded her with large sad eyes, as though he knew and understood her loneliness. She stroked the setters head and buried her face in his damp fur.
Her friend. The dog was sighing, like Father.
She massaged his soft ears and wished they could go back to Ottery St Mary, to the house with the apple tree and the pond and the swing in the garden. The three of them had been happy there.
She didn't like Dorset, the community Mother and Father had joined, the group ups who'd made her give up all her worldly toys. She longed for her friends from the old school in Ottery. She missed the surrounding country, the nice villagers who'd always stopped to smile at her. Mother had promised she would make new friends, but the children in her class didn't like her. She was an outsider from the group.
If only she could run away.
If only she could take the dog with her.
If only they could all go back to the old house with the dog.
The setter gave her a final glance and whined before sprinting to his master, who patted his head.
'Okay', Father said, waving at the setter's master. 'Time to go. Your mother will be waiting.'