They Ride a Train

One moment he is alone, slumbering in the train-car that has been his prison for longer than he can say; the next, a lady in a red dress sits beside him on the velvet cushion in the gloom. She looks familiar, yet he cannot place her. He can barely place himself, one with so much lost in this longest ride. His name, his memory, his past lives, what remains of the self when these are mislaid?

                Who is she? Where did she come from? How long I've been alone, oh so long… so long…

                She laughs at his discomfort, sighs sadly at his confusion and fear. He remains just as handsome as in her dreams, as he was the last time she saw him alive. Dressed and ready to go to war, before he disappeared into the great machine named Death. But her heart aches, so long this moment had been delayed, so long she endured when she wished it were otherwise. But now she is here, they are reunited. He will remember.

                "You are who you've always been." The lady speaks, plucking worries from his head like grapes from a vine. "I've missed you."

                "Who's that? Who have I been?" The man cannot help it. He should be unnerved by this strange passenger, yet all he feels is warmth. His feet tingle. When he sees her, he knows somehow that they should be dancing. That his feet would lead them into paradise, a world of ballrooms and chandeliers lit with gold.

                "The one. You were… you are the one. Even when you were gone, I knew there could never be another. And so I waited."

                The train passes over a barren desert. Any trace of ocean, of drops reflecting the life they shared long behind them. And yet he begins to recall. Echoes still, ghosts of a life long behind him. A dance, a kiss, a love that would last even beyond death. The warmth spreads throughout his body and he smiles.

                "I'm glad you waited, my love. I'm glad you're here with me at last."

The train rattles on, hanging in the black under a starless sky. Despite the dark, he can see clearly around them for miles, accustomed as he is to the constant nothingness.

I love you. Her lips do not move, but in her eyes he can hear her thoughts.

I love you too. I was nothing without you. A wisp, a reflection, fractured lives in an endless sea. Now I feel whole.

"Good," She speaks aloud, returning his grin with one of her own. One laced with passion. "Then you are beginning to remember. Perhaps here, at the end, we may start anew."