Doran left on a rainy day. Inauspicious weather for travel. It was an unwelcome departure besides, but he needed to flee. He could not be held down, would not be held down, least of all by a woman.
Dolores shed tears long after the clouds parted.
Seasons came and went. Footfalls trod down grass as far as two legs could carry a man, his shadows cast long into the country by a setting sun.
For a long time the roads were fresh, no twain the same, but the road is no companion, just a path, sometimes a direction; often a lonely chore. Steps grew leaden. The earth was hard beneath his feet. Stooped with itinerant work and sun aged before his years he came face to face with inevitability. Peripateticism is a young man's game. The school had passed him by.
The sum of years is not easy to quantify. A better exercise to count stars or separate grains of sand in search of the finest. Doran was left with memories. Some sweet. Some bitter. Like cups of tea he was never sure which before the first sip. Then they came hot and quick and he damn near drowned in every one, more pickled each time by the tannin and fortunes that never came to him.
Doran found things. A charm bangle he'd been given. A way she used to smile when looking at him dishabille in the halfmoon light. A lock of hair that resembled hers or was hers depending on how far in the bottle he was. Paltry things, maybe, but lost things he'd reclaimed.
When he was deep in his cups he'd remember her fondly. Dolores of the fair hair. Dolores by the sea. He claimed he'd returned once, and she'd be taken by consumption. Or the child that she was to bear him. Or by a miserly landlord. Or that she hadn't waited. In the haze of a fifth he'd claim that he'd always been a tidy sum from making a decent woman of her. He was cheated. He was unlucky.
Then, in some gutter that he'd made up for himself, he'd cry for hours on wistful nights so that the tears were indistinguishable from rain.