"We all have the weekend free, right?"
Kaianie walked Acorn back to her home. The plan was set; they'd be heading out tomorrow. Troth would spend the morning stocking up on groceries and utilities for the ship, and they'd have a road-trip to christen his creation. Kaianie was the only one with work she needed to get done, but it was nothing that couldn't be accomplished in space.
The mood was somber, and the gentle breeze through the still night felt as if it existed only to directly contrast the situation. Acorn's brain faded from a vast scramble of questions to a deep sense of emptiness. Kaianie's internalization of the situation was still in its early stages, yet she primarily felt concern.
The rain had stopped, but the puddles soaked their feet. The coldness of each step kept Kaianie grounded in the moment, and she realized this was her opportunity to understand the implications of exactly what they were about to embark on.
"It's not exactly how I imagined I'd be spending my weekend"
Acorn cracked a small smile, choosing to engage in the moment.
"Oh, there's not much to tell. Chasing after an actual dream-boy across uninhabited space is a little different from my usual routine."
"Hmmm... sounds like you just don't know how to enjoy life."
Kaianie chuckled to herself, relieving the moment of some of its weight.
"What do you think we're going to find on the other end of this?"
"Well, knowing traditional compasses, probably a big magnet."
"Okay, well then, what do you hope we'll find?"
Acorn went silent. It was a question that she'd been asking ever since the bracelet was found, yet not one she'd been able to take time to realize an answer for. But she also knew that was a lie.
She'd been asking herself this question long before the bracelet.
"An answer. Something that makes sense, I guess."
The response was as vague as it was poignant. The situation was currently nonsensical, and any resolution would be above and beyond Acorn's expectations. But Kaianie knew it went deeper than that.
"You know; whatever we find out there,
we'll all find it together.
And if it's nothing, then we'll all have a story to tell in the years to come."
Acorn gave Kaianie a flat smile. She knew Kai was attempting to reassure or comfort her, but at the end of the day, she could be pretty bad at it.
They were close to Acorn's cluster, and closed the rest of the distance in silence. Acorn thanked Kaianie for walking with her, and they both exchanged 'goodnight's. Acorn walked into her abode and flopped on her bed, hoping sleep would find her in a reasonable amount of time. Kaianie turned around to leave,
She instead sat on the stairs, taking time to stare out at the city. It was a rare moment of absolute still, as the entire area had fallen to the call of the night. The distant structures clung to the remnants of the business of the day, as the last conscious souls filtered in and out. The twinkling of the buildings faded into the twinkling of the stars, appearing to Kaianie as if the night sky was produced by an endless continuation of the life in front of her, and she was simply at one point along an infinite number.
If she had more time, she would have captured the moment forever on canvas.
Yet, as it was, she needed sleep to prepare for the unknowable events the morning could bring.
And so, with one final sigh, she began the journey home.
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"Time Off Prosper" © Josiah Kangas - 2021