Every year on that same night, Amelia Pond goes out to the garden and sits down to wait.
Unlike that first night, she doesn't pack a suitcase with clothes or her favorite toys and she doesn't wait the entire night. She just pulls up the biggest rock she can carry - over the years they get bigger and easier to carry, but that first one she could barely drag on the ground without getting her nightgown muddy and risking her aunt's wrath - and sits there for five minutes.
Just five. The five that he promised her when he closed the door of his big blue box and left her alone.
Five minutes out of every year, she waits for something to happen.
When she began it, she still had hopes he might return to that very spot on that very night. Her raggedy doctor fulfilling the promise he'd made. But after a fashion, it really became more of a ritual. Something she did, rather like brushing your teeth. She sat in the garden and observed the passing of another year in the house with the crack in her wall.
The year she turned nineteen, she decided she wasn't doing it any more. It had been twelve bloody years and there had been no sign of the raggedy doctor. It was possible that she had invented him after all, possible he was the figment of a lonely child's imagination. Amy didn't think herself prone to such fancies, but then again, he'd had to come from somewhere.
She sat on her rock, waited her five minutes and said good-bye to the childish notion of a mysterious hero who could save her. Those were the stuff of faerie tales she was an adult now. An adult in a modern world.
A few months later, when she clocked a burglar over the head with her cricket bat, she knew right away there was something familiar about him. Something staring her so boldly in the face that she could do nothing but deny it. At least until her raggedy doctor woke up.