It was definitely Sonya. I should have looked away in horror but something basic drew me to stare at her. I recognised the winter coat she had worn to the office that morning. From where I stood I had to lean forward and look down but it was clearly her. Her handbag, old-fashioned with it’s snap clasp in bright unconvincing brass was a dead giveaway. I had no idea that her hair was so long. She always wore it in a tight bun, pinned to oblivion against her veiny skull. But it was actually quite beautiful; the way it spread out now from her wrinkled forehead and lay like cloth in the clear water. She must have been floating just below the surface because she moved slowly with the eddies of the current. Apparently, she had got hooked on something because she stayed right there below me as all the day streamed under the arch below the old stone bridge.
If it had been the week before, all the debris from the floods would have obscured her. I remembered seeing bits of rubbish and branches pass under me when I went to see how high the floodwater had come. It was a murky flow then. But the landscape had settled down and the river had purged itself of the mud and flotsam, and the sun reflected off Sonya’s handbag as I was stunned into silence and stillness.