A short story today that will mean, as a whole, very little to most. Perhaps, at best, it is a reflection of that which is happening around me and, within that, something to be told that cannot be any other way…
There is a place called by some, the fence. It stands between two worlds, not as a barrier between them, but rather a place where two lives touch, share, smile, and then continue onwards.
The fence is a place where things are shared, some good, some bad, some neither and then, in a way, both. There are stories told about the day, how things went, how those that are loved are doing. In all of those moments there comes a point where each, in their own way, finds a little comfort in seeing that there is another that thinks about them, is concerned, worries, and just wishes for better things to be… as they should.
On this day one side of the fence is quiet. The home across the way is shuttered, a note on the door telling of those that dwell there being away for a time. They are on an adventure, to see the world, to find time away, together, and in being so, find a moment of simply being instead of just doing.
They are… traveling.
On the other side of the fence stands another home where two souls live their lives as best they can. They both are trying the best they can, for their family, their friends, and, as is their way, in the very last, for themselves.
The door opens and she steps out the door, turning to look over towards the fence, a little bit lost inside for a moment. She smiles in that direction, knowing that her friends on the other side of the fence, over there beyond the Koi pond, are well, are together, and most of all, are being watched over in the Goddess’ name.
She brushes her fingertips over her lips in thought, wondering how things came to where they are now. She thinks about all of the things she has done, and all of the things that she has not. So many thing she regrets, over so many years.
The paper is held between two fingers, the words written upon the page she has read not once, but so many times since it arrived. A calling to her, one that she cannot ignore. One that she never wanted to have appear as it had. She thinks about simply refusing, knowing that the result of doing so would be devastating for herself, her Eternal, and more.
She looks at the date upon the page, if she could curse, she would, but that wouldn’t be her way. No, she sighs, some tears come, and she goes back inside of their home once more.
Time passes, and then the door opens once more.
She steps out the door again, long red jacket weighing upon her shoulders, her demeanour not quite so bright, not quite as she usually appears to be. She holds a small case in one hand, bumping it against her thigh in thought as she reconsiders one more time.
He steps out the door and hugs her, she leaning into his embrace. She tells him that she doesn’t want to go, to have to cause so much disappointment. She begins to explain, or tries to, but the tears start to come, she loses her voice and the thoughts trail away.
He turns to face her, touching her chin. He tells her that it will be alright, that he will make it be that way. There will come another time, another place, another moment. There will. She looks towards the fence, towards the other house, the other lives and nods, if only half believing that all will be fine.
For a time she goes over all of the things that she had prepared, to ask that he make sure that everything would be perfect, that not one thing would go wrong. Most of all, her voice wavers at the point where she tries to say something that she needs to, but the words cannot come out, they refuse to allow her to give voice to them.
She should be home. She should be there, on the day, in the moment. The universe has seen to it that she cannot be. She must be… traveling.
She hugs him, once more, then turns and begins her own journey. She travels alone, for duty, not for pleasure. She does so because there is no other choice in the matter, at least none that she can take.
Arriving at the station, she sits on the platform waiting for her train to arrive, to take her from her home to a place she won’t see, for her thoughts will be elsewhere. They will be with her Eternal, when he meets with her Heart and his Beloved.
The train arrives in a cloud of steam, coming to a halt, the doors opening. The conductor offers his hand, she accepts graciously, for that is her way after all. It takes some time for her to find her place, to put her things away and to settle into her seat.
She looks out the window, seeing her reflection in the glass as she looks at the station, the platform almost empty, the steam from the trains wafting along the way. The doors close, there is the sound of the whistle as the train begins to move, sending her along her travels to where she must be, not where she wants to be.
It happens somewhere along the tracks, regularly, the train she is traveling in passes another going in the opposite direction. She pays no attention to them, her thoughts keeping her from looking out the window.
It is the middle of the night, she isn’t sleeping like the rest of the passengers. She still sits in that spot, her thoughts stilled in the night, finally looking out the window. There is nothing to be seen, the night blankets all, as it does this tine of the year.
Then, out of the darkness, she notices a small fence that has appeared between the track she is on and the one that runs in the opposite direction. She stares at the fence for the longest time, it is the only thing in the dark that she can see. There is the sound of the train’s whistle sounding, the first time since she started her journey. It rouses her and she sits up and looks out the window with more focus now.
The fence is… odd. It comes to her after a few moments that is it not moving. The train moves, the sensation is there, but the fence just holds in place. There is a light that appears from one side, it seems that another train is going to pass by and, for once, she looks towards its arrival.
The front of that train flashes by in a blur, the cars that travel with it just as quickly going by.
And then, for an instant…
She looks out the window to see the other train, one car lit, the rest all dark. Through her window she can see into that other car, over the fence that separates them and then it comes to her. That fence is one she knows intimately.
She recognizes the figures on the other side of the fence. She touches her hand to the glass, the tears come and she cannot stop them. She whispers their names, hoping they will forgive her for being so foolish, so wrong, so stupid.
Their eyes meet, for an instant, and then…
…time continues onwards.
The train disappears, the fence blinks away and she is left alone, with her thoughts, prayers, and most of all, the ache within her. The tears are her only companion as she travels.
He stands at the station waiting, a gift held in one hand, flowers in the other. He stands on the platform as the train arrives at the scheduled time. The steam wafts around him as he waits for them to arrive. He has checked to be sure that all is well, that all that she wanted things to be where just as she wanted them to be.
They appear from one of the cars, he recognizing them, but they not knowing him. He approaches, smiling, shifting his gift to the hand holding the flowers. He embraces them both, giving her flowers, he the gift.
There is an uncomfortable moment as he begins to explain that she cannot be there as well, that duty called.
They nod, explaining that they know she is traveling.
But they also explain, truly, they know that she is with them all even so.