Churning

Rest will come soon.

It’s the only thing that keeps me going. Makes me able to take the next step, or any step at all, for that matter.

Soon.

The wind is chilly today. Biting from the back of its own throat. Gnawing at my sleeves, at my boots. Covering over my coat.

It burns my nose. Stings my eyes.

Good.

It just means that I’m still making it. That I’m not there yet.

I’m still alive.

He stood with me, overlooking the bluff. The waves lapped easily at the shore, steadily. Receding, just to touch home again. Like it knew, with absolute certainty, that the shore would always be there.

“It’s nice here, don’t you think?” I asked.

He nodded, face huddled into his scarf. Doing his best to shield himself from the wind’s nips.

“I like it a lot,” he replied.

We were silent for a while. Both of us tired. Worn. Travelers that have overstayed their welcome, everywhere they go.

Weary was just a scratching of the surface. Tired didn’t really do it justice.

We were gone.

Gone.

Me more so than him.

This was my journey, after all.

He’d only tagged along. Kindly strapped himself in for this ride.

I don’t know why.

It’d probably have been better for him if he hadn’t.

Howling, the wind shifted me. Pushed against my body. I let it drift me slightly. Drift so that I was leaning into him, my head on his shoulder.

It’s almost time.

I could feel it.

The drums, and the waves, and the wind.

They’re calling.

But I don’t want to go.

Not yet.

I wanted to stay just a moment more. Just a little bit longer. I wanted to hear him speak, hear the way his words tumble through the hollows of my ears.

I want to stay with him.

But I can’t.

“Can we pretend, just this once, that nothing else matters?” I asked quietly, my voice carried by the wind. “Just for this moment, can I pretend that this is okay? That there’s no responsibility? No tasks to complete? Can I pretend that it’ll be alright?”

He knows.

Knows this is such a heavy burden. Such a wretched duty that I have. A harrowing task that must be completed.

He knows.

“Yes,” he whispered.

And then he drew me in.

Held me.

Hugged me.

Told me that he’ll miss me. Though he didn’t say he loves me.

That’s alright.

If it’s not returned, that’s alright. Even if it was, I couldn’t accept it anyway.

Because…

“It’s time.”

I don’t remember saying it, but I must have. It couldn’t have been anyone else.

I pushed him away. Forced him back.

And from the cliffside, the ancient hollow that takes in order to give, I vanished.

I vanish.

Gone.

The last steps taken. The last breaths exhaled. My last day lived to the fullest of my ability.

The ancients have taken me back.

Taken me from the ragged earth.

But sacrifices aren’t brought out so they can work.

At least there’s that.

I can finally rest.

 

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