After the war, he stayed in Yorkshire. For a while, he toured about, staying at inns and tipping ale, up until the day he met the shepherd.
“So I see you made it,” said the shepherd, which had seemed an odd thing to say at the time.
They’d passed a few days, or maybe it was weeks, at the shepherd’s cottage, just talking. He’d told the shepherd about Emily, and the boy back home, and how he knew he should return, but for some reason just couldn’t.
The shepherd understood. “You can stay here,” he said. “Watch the flock.”
And so the man did, and the days passed to years, and the years to decades, until the day he saw her: Emily, walking up the path. He hurried down to meet her. She was every bit the beauty he’d left behind that day on the dock.
“What are you doing here?”