He stepped carefully around the fallen branches, slowly placing his work boots evenly on the leaves. One quiet step after another; merging with the stillness of one new dawn after another. Would today be the day?
Finally! The notes danced through the forest. Faint, high-pitched…small. He had glimpsed her once. No more than two feet tall and so pale that she seemed to glow in the early morning light. She had carried a basket over her arm and he thought she was picking berries but couldn’t be sure.
Her song filled his ears as he stood motionless, knowing she must be close. He strained to decipher her words, to no avail. He knelt to open his lunchbox. The metal hinges creaked and halted her song. He held his breath, hoping she was still there. He placed a wrapped package on a nearby rock. “For you,” he said quietly. “Waffle in sweet milk.”
He turned toward the main road and didn’t look back. He imagined her unwrapping the waffle and smiled all the way to work.