It was a long, familiar walk back to that place. In the darkness, it took longer than I had remembered, but its comforting embrace somehow made it a haunting pleasure; with which every step I was closer- closer to an another end and another beginning. Not a new one- not by any means- but it would be different, somehow. Even if only in the details, things were going to change again; into an unfamiliar semblance of pain that I hoped would rouse my interest in this perpetual series of tight-chested shallow breaths that many call Life.
I savored the echoing crunch of the dry sycamore leaves and thorns underfoot, until I came to that wonderful clearing and the crunching turned to the grating of gravel. I paused in my stride as the scent of Rosemary jarred me from my sensory trance into an array of vivid color and memory, flooding in and suffocating me with their unnamedly bittersweet gestures in my mind.
I soon found myself standing underneath the arc of the Tunnel, staring into an even darker abyss on a frigid, moonless night.
I looked up and could see her there-lounging cattily above the entrance, arms stretched up, cradling her head against its stone. I heard her calling to me to climb up just a little higher; but I knew how she would always keep climbing until we both got to the top of that mountain. I simply stood in the gravel and stared back, until she wasn’t there.
Because she never was.
I never was-
and we hadn’t been for ages.
I’ve always wondered what she would think if she knew where I ended up after these seeming centuries. I wondered if she even still thought of me.
What mystically tortuous things memories can be. Are they supposed to be enjoyable? For the most part, I’ve yet to manage to see them in such a light.
I drew my attention back and felt the Tunnel’s winds pushing at me. I couldn’t help but jump up and allow myself to be pulled a couple feet back by the winds. I smiled weakly. At least the laws of physics were still generally the same. But even those have their fair share of inconvenient exceptions.
I sat down against the wall and glanced at the dim light of the phones display, 11:01 pm. The next train wasn’t due through here until sometime after 3am. Which meant I had roughly four hours to sit with my thoughts and commit to being sure about this.
I was sure not to look up again.
Lost in my own little world as ever, I was mindlessly fidgeting; tracing back and forth over the ridges veining my arms. That was one thing that never seemed to change; The scars always seemed to find their way back. Dealt in different ways, under varying circumstances- but always ending up in the same places, In roughly the same forms. Painting my arms, legs, chest- like an inescapable teacher of a lesson I simply never could manage to grasp. But I’d outgrown the foolish notion of escaping their torments. No number of lifetimes ever could do that. They’ll always find you again, usually in the most personally excruciating method possible. Yet perhaps scars could also render it possible to still recognize the people that one had met a very, very long time ago. I had always hoped they would recognize me as well, but so far such things have turned out to be fanciful at best.
I never could manage in all my time to conclude about God, or the one “Universe”, karma, or any of that methodology. All I could ever figure out is that there’s something- or likely someone much bigger than me and us. I don’t know how or what details of my fleeting life he cares about- but all aside, I just hope and pray that He can see through my eyes at least every once in a while.
Not too long passed before I realized I had drifted off into some sleep-like hypnosis of contemplation, when I was awoken by the shrill piercing of the train’s call. I scrambled to my feet, listened and placed my hands to the tracks. It must have been less than a quarter minute away.
Standing up, I stepped to the side of the Tunnel’s opening. I took a slowly calculated, deep breath in. I held it for a moment; focusing on the shaking wall beneath my fingertips, the clicking tracks, and the cleansing chill of this night. I exhaled and stepped out onto the tracks.