From childhood’s hour I have not been as others were;
I have not seen as others saw;
I could not bring my passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken my sorrow;
I could not awaken my heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.
~Edgar Allen Poe
Suddenly, you were just there. In an unexpected place and time. Surrounded by the familiarity of friends and everything else that I had come to know, I first saw you. Why it was nothing more than a fleeting glance, a small smile and a polite tip of the head before you went on your way and I, mine, I have never known. Perhaps that is the greatest yet most beautiful mystery of it all.
Running across the plaza as fast as she can while taking care at the same time to not slip on the rain soaked tiles, Piper hurried to get to the meeting place where she could see her friends were already gathered. All but her by the looks of it. She was late and she hated the fact already that she’d spent a little too long fussing with her hair and shining her boots, even though with these long dress skirts she was wearing who was going to see them? She cursed under her breath and self consciously slowed down a little, smoothing her skirts and trying to brush the stray hair from her forehead as she saw one of the girls waving her over and shouting.
“Piper, over here!”
Mustering up the biggest smile she could manage while trying to look calm and happy to be there, Piper raised her hand and waved back enthusiastically. Internally she was a mess, but externally she hoped that she didn’t look as disheveled as she felt. She came to a stop beside one of the other women, garbed in exactly the same dress as she wore and took a deep breath as she nodded and smiled around at the fairly sizeable group that was already standing around, waiting on her. The one day, this one time where she had actually been handed any responsibility for this group and she had arrived late. The company head was already standing up front, his wife beside him, and the tall imposing looking man beckoned her forward with a not so discreet wave of his hand and she nodded once, her cheeks turning pink as she quickly pushed through the small crowd, all eyes on her, or so it felt like.
These gatherings were not a new thing. Indeed, this was one of the many that she had been present for since she had joined the ranks herself. She now stood beside the leaders and smiled down kindly at the two new members waiting on their induction, plain clothed and looking nervous, remembering exactly how that had felt. It didn’t seem so long ago that she had been standing there herself, in their place. The only thing different about this time was that the location was different, and there were a lot more gathered around for this particular ceremony than there had been when it had been her turn. She was thankful for that much, at least. Piper wasn’t good with people as it was, let alone crowds of them and even now, as she stood in front of them all, it was at a different point in time and these people weren’t strangers as they had been then, in the beginning, when they had first found her.
She startled for just a moment when the tall Au Ra man shouldered her gently and whispered, while handing her a neatly folded bundle of uniforms intended for the people in front of her.
“Your hat, where is it?”
She fished around in her coat pocket for the red beret she’d almost forgotten about and fixed it on her head quickly, tucking a loose hair away under the forehead band and then straightened her shoulders, clearing her throat at the same time.
All eyes on her, she made the appropriate speech before stepping forward to officially welcome the newest among them, handing them their uniforms before stepping back to her spot in front with a polite bow of her head, glad in part that it was over as raucous cheering and clapping erupted around her.
Oddly, although these occasions were usually full of laughter and good feelings all around, the woman could only but think of making an exit out of the crowd to take a breather. She couldn’t place a finger on why exactly. Maybe it was just the sheer exhaustion borne from so much interaction with so many of these people in recent times or the fact that she was just plain tired, but standing around making small talk with everyone was the furthest thing from her mind.
“Excuse me for a few minutes, “she murmured to the other leaders on either side of her but didn’t wait for a response before she moved through the crowd, scanning ahead for somewhere to sit or stand to regain some personal space. Nodding politely and smiling, she didn’t stop moving until she had cleared a path through the others, with nowhere particular in mind. But she halted for a moment once clear of her friends when she saw him.
Suddenly, he was just there and she saw him, for the first time. There was a new face, a stranger whose eyes immediately met hers and she found herself unable to look away. He looked at her from underneath the brim of the tall hat he wore and there was a curious familiarity there that caused time to almost stand still for a moment, and were she not so transfixed she would have realized that she was staring. That was until he smiled and that was when she smiled back, a slight flush turning her cheeks pink as she dropped her gaze to her feet, wringing her hands together in front of her for a moment, not sure what to do next. A sudden ray of late sunlight broke through the grey clouds overhead and caused her to look up for a few seconds, breaking a potentially awkward moment and when she looked back again, he was gone.
Stifling a momentary and probably ridiculous feeling of disappointment, Piper looked towards the edge of the plaza, suddenly needing more than ever to sit and take a moment, her legs heavy and feeling oddly disconnected. She didn’t even look really to even see the man again before she almost ran right into him, sitting on the very bench she was headed towards and once again she faltered, stopping and meeting his eyes again. Dumbly nodding at the space beside him as if asking for permission to sit, he simply nodded, the hint of a smile turning his lips upwards and she did just that, her eyes again transfixed on him.
Later, back in the comfort of her inn room as she sat in front of the fire, her thoughts were very much on that afternoon and of him, that man who was still nameless to her. Did it matter though, really? Why so much analysis and over thinking over such a simple and chance meeting that was really nothing beyond a few small words and a smile or two? Important or not, she still couldn’t shake the way she had felt each time his eyes had met hers and the curious yet familiar feeling that they had already known each other before that moment. But that was ridiculous, wasn’t it? She wouldn’t entertain such thoughts of fantasy. He was just and had been a stranger to her, after all, nothing more.
Yet as she lay her head on her pillow a little later and closed her eyes tight, willing sleep to come, even then, as her body and mind began to fall into unconsciousness, his eyes still lingered. She had to see him again.
Because looking at you, talking to you, hearing you laugh, these are all my favorite things. I only hope I can keep making you as happy as you are now, because without us, nothing else makes sense anymore.
I have struggled for days now to try to place the magnitude of how I feel for you into vows and promises. It is too immense, too overwhelming, that words are just not simply enough. So let me instead go back to the beginning to where it all started.
A story, if you like.
A story of a boy and a girl who both felt out of place in a world that simply had no place for them. Two people whose ideas and thoughts and emotions were so hugely complex, yet so simple, that they both believed they could not or would not find another living soul who had the ability to understand them.
And then they found each other.
And in a place between reality and dreams they created together a world all of their own where they could come together and all of their troubles, their histories and their preconceptions could and would just melt away. The walls which they had spent a life time building around themselves were then torn down and new walls were put up around this special place that belonged to just them, and that Fortress was solid and impenetrable. Inside there was nothing but compassion, warmth, safety and pure and true love.
And if that were the end of the story? The boy and the girl would live happily ever after. As all good stories go.
But the story doesn’t end there. It begins here.
All we need to do now is remember the promises that we have already made to one another, long before this moment and we can make so many more stories, together, for the rest of our days. However many we have left, there will never be enough. I am not certain of anything, but I am certain of this. Right now? We are exactly where we are meant to be. I love you.
I’ve had too many idle hours tonight to do not much else but think. I don’t generally like to necessarily dwell on past things, but there are certain times when things come up and I’m pretty comfortable with allowing the thought process to take it’s path these days, reflect on it (whatever it maybe be), give it the attention it wants and then it goes on it’s way again. Things don’t sting even half as much as they used to. Memories and scenarios replay in my mind now as if I am watching through someones eyes other than my own. It’s very much a case of being on the outside looking in.
You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this, and the truth is that I’m not certain where this ends. But only that it will end; for now, at least. I just had an out of the ordinary thing…
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