Written by Ourali
This work was last updated October 1, 2016
Every day I would sit in my chair at our table and reminisce as the suns floated down the sky towards the horizon. Everything would be awash with golden light, and it would be quiet save for the noises of the farm animals outside in the back. I would stare at the letters she had sent me, rereading every carefully scripted word like I was dying of thirst and her words were my water. The tales she spoke of were terrible, but the fact that she was writing me letters at all meant that she was alright.
It was the beginning of an unusually long summer when she took the first steps down the beaten path in front of our farm towards the hidden dangers in faraway lands. Laden with only a small travel pack and the clothes on her back, she waved to me and gave me the most encouraging radiant smile I had ever seen. I didn’t cry as she disappeared behind the hill, nor any day since she left. She would come back, I know she will, but the wait was painful. I missed her voice, her laugh, her scent, but I knew that it was for the greater good that she had gone.
And so, when my work for the day was done and I could allow myself to work on other things, I took a moment to sit and think and remember. My senses were sharper than hers, but she possessed the greater memory, so it was important that I took the time to remember the times before she had gone. Even if I knew she would return, the rational part in my mind always said, “What if?”, and I couldn’t allow myself to forget any part of her.
On the day where I could first see the distant forest begin to turn a bright orange, I knew that the summer was finally coming to a close. My hope wasn’t lost, though.
My routine never changed, and soon the suns were beginning to set once more as I sat in my chair and ran my fingers over the worn papers. Something felt different, though. My heart was beating faster and a little ball of happiness sat in my throat. When I reached the last page, my hands were nearly shaking, and suddenly I knew. My heart had known before I had. I knew. I knew.
At once I was out of my house, running down the steps of our porch and around the house towards the back. The animals all looked up when I ran past but didn’t pay me any more mind. As the ground began to climb up the hill that lay behind our house, I gathered up my skirts into my hands and trudged up as fast as I could. When I was nearly towards the top, I looked back down towards our farm and the extending plains towards the north. I could see other farms in the distance, too, and the village that lay just a bit further. My heart told me to keep going, and it felt like an eternity as I climbed the last few steps to the top.
Immediately the vastness of the Plains hit me, as they always did when I came to the top. Tall grass extended all the way to the horizon, dotted with various farming communities along the trading route that snaked all the way south next to the forest. It was awash with a golden glow, like everything was at this time, and no cloud hung in the sky as I gazed.
My eyes were drawn towards a moving figure on the road that looped around the hill towards our farm. She walked with a slight limp but seemed in perfect health otherwise. Her hair flowed half-way down her back, loose and shiny in the light breeze. She wore the same clothes she had left with, and carried with her the same bag. It was her. She had come home.
Once again I was running. I didn’t care about the burning in my legs from my climb, I just sprinted as quickly as I could towards her, screaming her name. Oh, her name was so sweet on my tongue, like her smile when she looked up and saw me. She dropped her bag and began running towards me, laughing and crying. She could run faster than me, unencumbered by the same skirts that blocked me, so when we inevitably crashed into one another I fell backwards with her on top of me. I held her close, pushing my nose into her soft hair and inhaling deeply, whispering her name over and over. After a few moments, I realized my eyes and cheeks were wet as well, and I just held on tighter. She held onto me with the same embrace, feeling the same relief that was coursing through every one of my veins.
She was home. I didn’t know for how long, nor if it was forever, but I didn’t care. She was back.
She was home, and with her, I was finally home too.