Rusty held his breath then cleared his throat with a series of grunts in preparation for a speech I could take with me through the door. In truth, I was happy to sit by his side a while longer, for company such as his was a rare find, and in this furry skin I’d found a state of being that suited me down to the ground. He and I both knew my journey wasn’t about to end just yet, however. Yawning then sneezing, he licked his lips and squinted as the light pouring from the door caressed our wide-eyed faces.
“It’s tempting, isn’t it?” he asked.
“What is?” I replied, knowing full well the meaning of his question.
With the animals dancing about us, it struck me how right he was. It wouldn’t be hard at all to stick around. I was far from home, and I doubted if anyone knew I was even gone, yet as much as this place spoke to my soul in ways most places didn’t, I knew it wasn’t my time to let go.
“Tempting, yes, but as you said, my journey lies ahead. In many ways, I wish it didn’t. Perhaps one day, when I’m ready, I’ll make a return. For now, though, it’s about making amends with the time I have left—time I have left with her.”
“Wise words indeed,” said Rusty, “I’ve enjoyed your company very much. It’s been quite a trip.”
“You can say that again” I sighed.
Watching the snow disappear into the light, the trees continued their strange callings.
“I’m sure our paths cross again. In fact, I know they do.” he said, “I’ve caught glimpses of what will be through the other doors. I’ve seen so many things, and know my friend, that what you seek is real. There’s more to this life then what others would have you believe, all you have to do is trust the feelings you keep inside. They’ve brought you here, and they’ll lead you to her. Only you can decide where they take you after that.”
“But you’ve seen, haven’t you?” I asked.
“Yes,” Rusty replied.
“And,” he said with a grin, “It’s everything you ever wished for.”