John’s Carain rounded the last bend under the laced canopy of mature oak, each a testament to the vision of his great grandfather who saw the majestic admirals only in the fleeting mists of prescience, a gift to future generations, a touch through time between blood destined never to break bread or share wine. With the flourish of a magician’s surprise, from the dance of shadows, stone and mortar materialized, dressed in the warm intention of Rubion and Triste, Kulmyk’s twin suns. The view, the suddenness, the stark contrast between shadow and light, between what was imagined and what was seen, rendered visitors mute.

Home, mused John. Somewhere between himself and the grand estate before his limpid eyes, was a second home, the home he carried in the ever changing currents of his pallium. That home, he thought, was forever warm and filled with love and laughter, peace and joy; that home swirled with the smells of faith and substance, of morning brews and evening sauces, rich as big hat ranchers on the edge of the open range; that home warmed his heart in the cold reaches of space, comforted his mind in the distance of time; that home, he knew, was home more often, and perhaps, he feared, more real.

Doors opened simultaneously. Caitlin smiled, and for a few fleeting seconds, John saw only the pure moment unencumbered with the burden of future moments. Her arms opened wide like a peacock spreading train and none the less stunning. Words were cast aside as unnecessary as clothes on their wedding night. Lips melted from two into one, warmth replaced absence and the simple comb of fingers through hair, pulling and grasping, spoke in a language universally understood. Lifting Caitlin off the ground, John pirouetted in step with their childlike laughter. The universe, for this moment, ceased to exist.

Categories: Story, John Discovery, Caitlin