The Pilgrimage of All Souls

So I stood and walked a while, I looked back and I saw myself younger, in the summer at my uncle’s house. I saw myself playing two-man cricket with my cousin, I felt the heat and smelt the humid air. I heard the dogs bark, the birds sing and faint rustle of leaves and grass as a gentle breeze blew past. I looked back and I saw myself laugh and shout at a well hit shot. I had no worries, I was happy.

I looked back and I saw myself grow. I saw myself at school on the hill, I had a book in hand and looked to the valley below. I could see the lake in the distance that called to me. I imagined dragons , fought wizards and saved damsels and rode into the sun. I took myself places because I didn’t want to be where I was. I saw myself on the hill, above my school, hidden in the trees, away from everything else because I was alone, I wanted to be alone because I thought they just didn’t get it. I looked back, I saw myself beginning to don armor because the world wasn’t as bright as I thought it was. I saw a young man, not yet broken but already brittle. I was lonely

I looked back and I saw myself at a friend’s birthday. I saw myself find love for the first time. It was just as easy as sitting opposite her at the table and everything changed. I saw myself and I saw joy. I saw the doubts creep in, the darkness eat me away till the light wasn’t there anymore and I closed my eyes. When I opened then again, she was gone. I looked back and I had lost something I didn’t yet understand but I yearned for it. I was heartsick.

I looked back, and a saw a man who’d seen what of the world he could see. I saw a still young man, world-weary, a bit battered, still not yet broken but with scars that might yet fade with time. I wished to give him a shoulder and prop him up but I knew there was nothing I could do. He wasn’t near the end, wasn’t even where I was, he was beyond my help. I saw the man look back, a wistful smile as he looked and saw where he had come from. He look forwards, looked right past me, drifted for a moment, shook it off and continued walking. He had places to go still.

I looked back and he wasn’t there anymore, I stood instead, in his place where his feet had stood. My boot print right above his in the shifting sands, a stick in my hand and a faint memory of where I was meant to be. So I looked up and into the distance and remembered. So I began to walk, I was him, I still had places to go and people to meet and maybe just maybe, reach journey’s end.

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