Day 64 – The End of the Road

Word count: 823

Tanya had always imagined the end of the road would be lined with freshly flowering rose bushes, red and yellow and leaves of darkest green. The sky would be shimmering in the heat of a hot summer’s day. Not a cloud would be in sight, save a slight gathering mist far off into the horizon. Maybe there had not been any rain for months and the grass fields encompassing the road would be as brittle as burnt twigs. A gentle but warm wind would blow through the dry leaves of the surrounding trees and a light rustling would cast aside any unrestrained fears and memories of past regrets.

There would be a nearby little hamlet. Two or three houses and a stables. They would all know each other and in the winter all their fires would be lit with a raging flame to curse the haunting cold nights from their doorsteps. But for now they would be basking in the heat from the summer’s relentless sun and they would know not of the bitter winds that might come to pass should this season ever end. Tanya imagined a little abandoned cottage with overgrown ivy and unkempt garden submerged beneath a wild entanglement of weeds, bushes and the scattered colour of many flowers. The cottage would be just behind a copse of trees and it would be invisible to travelers who were unaware of its existence.

Tanya, for the past many months, would smile to herself as she played the scene in her head, like a film that only she could watch. Her weary feet, though in constant agony for several months, would finally feel no pain; her dehydrated throat would suddenly feel quenched and her deep hunger would at last be replenished. At the end of the road she would feel no fatigue for her journey would finally be over. All her energies would at long last be recharged and her spirits would be soaring among the birds, high in the sky and riding the thermals with a deft freedom.

This was not the end of the road Tanya had dreamed of. Not only were the bitter skies above threatening rain, but the dead leafless and solitary tree swayed in a chilling wind that would relent for no man. The dusty road was a gravel mess with a spattering of muddy puddles. There was not a single living soul for a thousand miles in any direction. The only living creatures were the vultures ahead, spiraling downwards as they tasted fate upon their tongues. And as her worn out, bloodied feet carried her waning body the last measly steps towards the bitter end, her knees buckled and she fell in to the floor in a bewildering state of agony and disenchantment. Where were the pretty bluebirds that would serenade her into victory; where was that smiling sun and the shining hope; where was that sign that so clearly marked the end of the road?

Blurred vision and every breath a struggle, Tanya – bleeding hands pierced by the sharp gravel – shook her head in disbelief. After all that had been promised, after all that she had hoped and dreamed of for months upon months, this was the last expectation she had on her mind.

Despite the threat of rain; despite the lack of life; despite the cold realisation that the end was not the happy and optimistic outcome she had longed for, there was something else that her imagination and indeed directions had betrayed her about. Looking up she could not quite believe her eyes. The end of the promised road was – in her dreams – a dusty trail that tapered off into a forest, with a sign symbolising the struggle she had battled through. She took a few deep breaths and closed her eyes, perhaps they were deceiving her?

Lies, however, they did not tell for the end of the road was indeed not the end. It was not a gentle bridal path that disappeared into the summery afternoon. Stretching off to the high and treacherous mountains to her right; meandering through the swamps and marshlands to her left and, ahead, winding through the valley towards the ocean the road did go. In all four directions it disappeared not into insignificance, but into the prominence of yet another long and hardened journey. And it was in those precious moments of lying in the pathetic state she was in that Tanya did realise the significance of the journey and the end. They were not the same being; they were not of the same species. One merely served to move the other along and neither were as much of the dream as the other for as long as the road does weave its wicked and woeful path through the wonders of this world, it will never stop and it will never end as journeys are but a transient state between what lies behind… and what lies ahead.

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~ by S.G. Mark on December 10, 2011.

One Response to “Day 64 – The End of the Road”

  1. That was a well worded ending.

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