So it all was reduced to a little table in a suburban cafe. My drink a strawberry soda, his a cold lemon tea. My sight locked inside the bubbling soda, nervous as a little schoolgirl, not daring to talk, afraid of making a mistake and embarrasing myself.
I was fighting myself to get out of such a pathetic mood. I researched for almost five years just to find him. I spent thousands traveling from country to country. I even had to struggle for my life... twice. I should say something, but what could I say or do?
"Joanna," the silence shattered in my face and I could even feel the shards cutting deep into my skin as I felt his eyes on me. "I know the feeling you have right now. It always happens."
Yeah, always. Pointing out the fact that even after all my efforts I wasn't the first one.
I could say nothing. My eyes looked up and watched his face. He still looked like a normal man, but deep inside there was that something that prevented me from reacting as I should.
"I know everything I need about you. You spent a lot of time, money and who knows what else trying to find one of us; ignoring common sense and the normal limits that most rational people would put on themselves to prevent chasing impossible things." He said in such a caring voice that I felt as if we had been togheter for a lifetime, always loving each other. "I also know that all you want is to know if your family was taken by one of us. Your search is not for fame, richess or power, just a notion to recover the good old nights of nice sleep." He paused, as if expecing at least a nod on my part.
I tasted my soda and my eyes escaped his face to get pinned on his hands.
"Well," he continued, "unfortunately, I can't help you. There's no way to know if your family was taken or not. We should cross the barriers between worlds to investigate and the outer realms are so big that such a task would take several human lives and even then bring no result."
"But why?" I was able to speak, finally. My heart was pumping fast at the feeling of all hopes getting lost. "Don't you have oracles and powers of your own to find sympathetic traces? I mean, I have some belongins that could help us, the wedding dress of my mother, toys of my brother, my father's--"
"Sympathetic tracking and similar practices require fresh traces. The objects you mention haven't been touched by your family in years, not to mention that any object to be used needs to be really special and unique for the original owner. Your mother's wedding dress, for instance, was worn once, and even if she loved that dress, there's no much to be felt from it. If instead you'd be talking of the everyday dress she made out if the hide of an animal she killed and that she used for the last five years, well, that's something."
Once again I had no words.
"And our powers... they can be used only in the other side. In this world we are as normal as anybody else." He added.
We said nothing more as the drinks were slowly sipped until they were over. He paid and left his char. I watched his back as he walked to the door, knowing that after that day I wouldn't be able to find him again, and of course, that my family was forever lost.
Then he turned to me, the caring voice warming my skin and rumbling my senses, extending his hand to me.
"What are you waiting for, Joanna? We have a lot of realms to present to yourself and I must share my immortality with you if we are to spend so many years in this quest."
I stood and walked to him. His hand, strong and soft, wrapped mine. I couldn't even ask why, but I didn't need it.
"Only because you don't want what everybody else, remember that because that truth is what bonds us."
And so, our adventure started.
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