Oh Weary Traveler (Flash Fiction)

(It’s late and I’m tired, but I need to word dump. It’s been too long. Please excuse the typos)

Oh weary traveler, how far you’ve gone and far you’ve yet to go. Your path is windy and long toward the pass. The clouds close in around you and soak the cold into your clothes, your bones. Your strong steed grinds down beneath your weight, and you can feel it losing strength. But press on you must, you must. There are those who wait for you on the other side. Their bellies are growing small and their fears greater by the hour. Your absence sustains longer and longer. The doubts you dare not utter with your breath seep from your bones and radiate from your flesh. Your eyes are heavy with lack of faith. Your ability to cross the pass is waning.

The face of your son fades from your mind like your own name fades from his lips. He works to avoid imitations of you and hates himself when stumbling across them. Oh weary traveler, how your offspring have taken the role of protecting their mother from you. Only they see the tears she cries when you’re away. Only they know what it is to suffer such an empty home, your absent heart, your distracted mind. You see him, his eyes are in the clouds that now press down upon you, that swallow your surroundings. As you continue upward, the mist grows colder and freezes to the wool blanket wrapped around your side. The loamy earth beneath your horse hardens and freezes. Puffs of hot air bursts from its nostrils. Why is it you travel so far? Your own wife crocheted a small sign to remind you that home is where the heart is, yet you’ve worked so hard to leave home far behind.

Oh weary traveler, have you not yet learned? You cannot outrun your doubts. You cannot leave them behind. They are your shadow, your person, your demeanor. Like a split down a mighty stone, they are forever. Sleeping among the thorns and wild things will not erase the pain. Suffering will not bring forth good things deserved. Yet you push on, you push on.

There will come a time when you find your own door shut to you, closed off. You know it. You seek it. It’s the punishment you’ve placed upon yourself and the only one you’ve deemed to be fit. So go now and climb your pass. Leave them behind. Prosecute yourself into the cold and the dark and distance of the emotional void. Suffer unto yourself guilt that is of your own, only your own. You’ve given yourself the punishment, now make yourself worthy by continuing to commit the crime. Oh weary traveler, your days are at an end, by the curse of time will forever be on your side.

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