There! Even in the muted midsummer sun, he could see her through the thickets as if she were a light of her own. Though his voice was so hoarse it was no longer audible, he’d cry out if she’d move closer to the river; subdue his worry whenever he caught a glimpse of her light deep within the shadows of the woods. He moved with her as best he could, blundering to the east, pausing, and then staggering west down river as she wandered blindly in her obvious misery. She disappeared into the woods again. He kept on the move.
Denis had fought to accept the truth. Catherine could not see or hear anymore; and that was a truth he could no longer deny. But why had her mental capacities collapsed at all? He was fine, and he nearly drank the entire river while he crossed! She stayed behind. He was torn to shreds from a dozen lashings against the river’s bed, but he was fine. Did she drink something the night before that sent her mind adrift? She made them tea, from milkweed – to calm both their worries. Did Catherine make herself ill?
Denis pushed himself up, took foot along the banks to find another clearing in the thickets across the thin river. The thickets were greener and darker than they were a few hours ago. Tried to call out again, but his voice was gone –maybe damage done for good. He was beaten to a pulp. Numb. Denis no longer felt the soreness of his body. Why feel anything at all? He was overcome by the desire to see his wife again. She mattered more; her comfort. Her sanity. He stepped through the skeletal roots of sycamores washed out by a hundred floods, pierced the fallen trees without awareness of having stepped over them. His eyes and thoughts were not on the river, but were fixed on the bank across it; searching, praying for his Catherine. Whether the bank gave way to stony bed or weedy crag, he didn’t care to take note of where he stepped at all. Only the river's bank on the other side kept him moving. Only the thickets he searched to find the light that was his Catherine. Only she kept him on the move down the river and then back up river with an eye on the other bank and searching for windows in the green – a hideous dark, blackish green -- of the thickets. No rest will ever come until he --