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Oh, great. I thought to myself as I watched the landscape unfurl outside the train window. Not a rain cloud in sight.

I sighed and leaned my back against the double-seat. The forecast last night said a definite chance of rain, and that was confirmed by this morning’s forecast. The sky that stretched forward from the train was as blue as you’d ever see for the English countryside. That’s the last time I’ll watch a news channel just to see the cute anchor. 

My raincoat hung unbuttoned from my body and it made me laugh. Last time the weather was wrong I had neglected to bring a raincoat in a storm that could only be described as one notch shy of an Indian monsoon. I shook my head thinking of my clutching poles to walk against the wind, and the following two weeks I spent sick in the hotel. Head pounding, nose so clogged a plumber couldn’t fix, and the chills like when you watch a sex-scene for the first time. Only without the excitement, really, the opposite of excitement. 

The train rolled past a tiny village in the middle of a crop field. The houses were small, but built steady to withstand the tests of time, and potentially drought. And just as I was starting to figure out the story of how it was founded, the train was on to a new scene. A pond with shaggy cows lounging about, munching on the bright green grass and happily swatting at flies on their flanks. The pond was misshapen and ugly, but the dots of flowers blooming in the meadow beside it made it look almost decent. 

Soon after we passed the pond by, the train started to slow. Ahead of the tracks I could see another town, larger than the village, with a platform running through the middle. I waited until the train stopped completely to gather by belongings, unlike some of my fellow passengers. A short little woman tapped her foot impatiently as she held a bag in her hand dangling by her knees. She stood beside her seat and took half a step forward every time the train braked. 

I stepped onto the platform and slung my umbrella through the straps of my tote as I balanced it on top of my shoulder. The pavement stretched in front of the platform and small tendrils of residential roads slithered away. The clop of my rain boots echoed in the quiet of the town. I passed boutiques, a bakery, a church, and about a dozen pubs as I walked to the edge of town. Here, the pavement turned to cobblestone. I waited for a cab, a long wait when the sun was beating down on your heavy raincoat, and snatched the first one that came into view. 

We traveled down the road as the houses became more and more spread apart. They occurred farther from the road and were surrounded by hefty stone barriers. I admired the ability of people to delicately balance rocks on top of one another as the cabby hurried along down the road. Soon, it turned to dirt. Very dry dirt, I may add. There was a dust cloud training us like an airplane. 

He kept taking random turns down roads, and with no GPS I wondered how he knew his way. But eventually he pulled off to the side just before a crossroads. 

“Well, this be it, little Lady.” He said with a smile. “Just take a left and follow the path through the trees.” 

I paid him, with a generous tip I may add, joked about the weather, and exited the cab. He spun around in a dirt-squeal of tires and was off again. I shrugged the coat off my shoulders and slung it across my shoulder. One half of the trip down. 

The road split to the left and narrowed into a trail. There were dog prints and bike prints on the ground that led into the trees. Roots of trees stuck out, aiding my footing as the trail slightly steepened with each step. The leaves that brushed my face were that deep green they get when they get plenty of rain. Unlike today. 

Soon, I had reached the ridge. The landscape was cut in two in front of me. One side was dense trees, the other was rich farmland. I continued along the path that separated the two. It was well worn and flowed with every dip and curve of the land. There was a stone wall that ran alongside the path, keeping the trees as bay. 

I passed small huts and farm equipment on your way, suddenly wishing I had brought a hat to shade my eyes against the slanted sun. All I brought was this useless coat with a hood like Robin’s. The boots were sliding on my feet, creating blisters that if I was a gambling gal would bet on them bursting before I got back to the hotel in London. 

I stopped as I topped a short hill. The landscaped plateaued to my right, where the trail didn’t lead. It spread out in an unworked field becoming overgrown with saplings and wildflowers. There was another line of trees at the end of the field. And that’s where I am to go. It stood in front of the line of trees. If you didn’t know what it was your eyes would pass over it uncaringly. But this is what I had come for. When I left my hotel this morning, or Asia five weeks ago, even my house three months ago, I knew it would be here. But I would never have guessed its beauty. 

I surveyed the field before and concluded my best path was, well, forward. There were no trails through the tall grass, no paths that led to its entrance. I took my first step off the dirt path and felt a raindrop burst open on my shoulder. A smile like a jackal crossed my face as I swung my umbrella opened and walked on. 

June 21, 2020 23:57

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1 comment

12:57 Jul 09, 2020

I love the relatables in your story, like "chills like when you watch a sex-scene for the first time" and "just as I was starting to figure out the story of how it was founded, the train was on to a new scene".


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