As the flames ebb and night has fully taken hold of the day, we retire for the evening. I again feel as an intruder to their world. Their cottage is not structured for visitors; though small and cozy I believe it has been many a year since they have received overnight guests. As I watch, a proper-looking bed is quickly assembled for me next to the hearth. The next crack of thunder sends a shiver down my spine as I begin to feel the dampness of the storm invading. The fire will be a welcome friend this night.
As I lay I take in my surroundings and think back on this night. My thoughts see their life through different eyes than I once did. Their lives are entwined like no one I have come across in my life. Their home is filled with love, but I sense there is something missing, something my eyes have not revealed. I comb each foot of their world; nothing. Now it is time to sleep, time for a renewal of my own. As the fire warms my back and my eyes slide down for the final time, my thoughts awaken me.
Family. I sit straight up in my bed and look about. They are a family of two. Absent are any signs of children or grandchildren. My heart sinks as I feel their loneliness. Yet, perhaps it is my own absence of family that tugs at my soul. I lay again and listen to the sounds of night intrude. The storm that sweeps in from the east across open plains lashes its full fury upon the mountains surrounding us. I think back to the first night he spent in the mountains and the soggy beginnings of his new adventure. What will my next night bring?
This fire gently holds me in its warmth as my thoughts carry me into my dreams.