I stood there for another moment, having cut around at still a small distance. It was quickly evident that the woman did not, or could not see me at all. I took a few steps straight toward her this time, startled to have suddenly prompted a cloud of small blackbirds to spring up from in the grass, where they had been hidden from my view; they together flew off into the shroud of black and grey. Of unknown consequence, I somehow intrinsically knew there to be 40 of them.
I resumed forward until I stood a cubit from the woman, who remained nearly motionless- though I could perceive the rising and falling of her breath. She sat cross-legged, with a loosely curled palm resting face up on her leg; in which precariously lain was a vial. She allowed it to roll from her palm and rest on the muddy earth. With a step closer, now at her immediate side, it was an exceedingly small glass vial of which gave me a distinct sense of deja vu with only the remnant of a few crimson drops left within.
I stopped to marvel after the thought, to realize that everything here seemed so much more real and clear than anything I remember seeing or feeling before. In an inexplicably otherworldly form, it was if I had never really noticed rain so consciously, or the wind had never swept through me with such bristling clarity. Everything my eye beheld was as though its definition had been fine tuned, every outline as though really seeing for the first time. The clouds were so immediate and heavy that I was sure if I were closer I could have felt them. I still couldn’t bring a single other thing to mind of what I had known before or if I had ever been here previously.
I sat down in the same manner across from the woman and studied her face. Her expression appeared downcast and her eyes as to communicate something inconsolably sorrowful; but I could not tell her tears from the rain. I took notice of a gnarled scar tracing from the left side of her neck, down over her collarbone, and out of sight.
An unknown time passed as I sat in this place, attempting to commit to memory every line and drop of precipitation in this mysteriously serene place.
A single desert locust jumped out from the dead grasses onto the hem of my pants. I reflexively flicked it away and looked back up.
I wondered how long this would last, or how long I could stay before something would demand my notice. The woman, whom I conjectured to be of her early 30’s, remained seated where she had been, moving only so slightly every so often to straighten her back, look around the field, close her eyes, or take a concertedly deep breath.
It seemed as if another hour had slipped by and all I could bring to mind was to continually remind myself that this wasn’t real, that I was seeing it from somewhere else, far away- though it did not seem so, and I could remember nothing else.
She cross her hands up over her shoulders and rested her face in her arms, eyes flashing up at the sky with a quiet sigh. In that flicker I was again impressed with the undeniable feeling of deja vu, and failed to recall any context by which I could allay such.
There was then a small, silent voice in my head- and every tiny detail came simultaneously flooding back into my remembrance with the same vivid color.
I remembered that this was a vision- though a definite part of me felt that it may have been real- that the man who spoke in riddles had precipitated. It was the flash of her eyes which instantaneously caused that unconscious part of me to again see her looking down at me from atop the train tunnel ledge; calling to me to begin the climb again.
She looked so different that I hadn’t recognized what was right in front of me for those hours- but I allowed myself to entertain that possibly it was her.
I heard a crow calling in the distance. It called of a peculiar voice, which looking around was nowhere to be found.
I had thought a thousand times before throughout the ages that I had caught sight of the face of familiarity in the crowd; I had many times met eyes of affinity, or a foreign voice so intrinsically amicable, but never would permit myself to believe in the silly tales of fantastically wishful fates. Had she died and lived in the number and manners as I had? Was this the past, present, that yet to pass, or a projection of the uncontrolled, loneliest fragment of my imagination? My throat began to tighten, my jaw tensed, and a the same wave of tormented grief washed over me; bringing with it a single tear from my eyes. I had always spent my time running from the past- I couldn’t live there anymore. I couldn’t sleepwalk through the today’s any longer. Everything she and those years brought with them- that they undyingly carried of meaning- was dead, was it not?
I was dead.
I looked back at her, with new eyes to discern. I remembered how the sun had always found her copper tresses, but she would always find the most torrential deluge. I remembered the scars that decorated her chest; I could see that they had extended their grip about her. I remembered when we had once thought that something in the universe was finally on our side and the tentatively silly Magic that kept us always looking for it.
Yet that was all before;
I again surveyed the scarred vine running alongside her neck.
Before the climb; before the journey called, before the world; the life, the loss, burden, death, age, and preceding the violent awakening to a reality of an imminently wearing, withering attrition. If she had been able to see me- of which I still was uncertain if she was still even out there, anywhere- I would likely feel this same crushing, mournful shame at my now dwindling world- to the degradation of the very soul I remembered being. I revisited wondering of where or who she had herself ended up becoming.
I wanted to try to enjoy the moment, but my mind never had been easily subdued in regards to the loss of everything I ever had, or thought I loved. This was just an illusion- an illusion of Time’s, wasn’t it? Time had taken more than just love from me- Time had taken all of me; of something seemingly irretrievable through the countless years I had strived to put the shards back together, in hopes of things ever being even close to the same. Yet I had done everything In my power to try to save the pieces-