I sit by the lake, almost serene, lost in the beauty reflected there. The arches, spires and flags so clear, so perfect, that you could almost be looking at the glorious monastery itself rather than a mere echo in water.
The image changes in an instant and perfection is eclipsed. They walk towards me in the picture, the man holding the child by the hand, the child skipping alongside, exuding life and joy. I watch, transfixed, as they approach.
A swan alights on the lake and the vision fractures into a million pieces. As the water stills, the building gradually swims into focus but the man and child are gone. Torn from my wishful fantasy by the swan’s ripples as swiftly and surely as they were ripped from my life by the inferno that engulfed our home.
I sit by the lake, my fragile peace crushed now. Waiting, wanting, pining, yearning. Surely I will glimpse them again if I linger long enough, if I pray hard enough, or perhaps I will shatter the mirror as I go to join them.