Passenger – The Last Unicorn

They’d gravitated towards each other, each feeling the other’s pull in the crowded room, and at first glance they had seen something of themselves in the other. Loss. Pain. Inconsolable, and yet longing for some kind of consolation.

Their eyes had met, and they had shared a sad smile, seeing the truth in each other in that first glance. And so they had begun to talk.


The room was simple, unassuming. A table, chairs. The bed. Anonymous. Mutual consent had brought them here, an understanding they shared and an ache they each felt, and they stood before each other, close enough to touch and yet separated by miles.

“This isn’t…”

He couldn’t find the words. He feared to cause her pain, even as he knew that he could not, would not, and he feared being hurt himself. He shook his head, frustrated at his stupidity and his arrogance. She placed her hand on his cheek and held his gaze with bright blue eyes. Eyes he might have drowned in, he thought, if not for…

“You love who you love,” she said. “And so do I.”

He nodded, and her hand slid round to the back of his neck, and she pulled him toward her, their lips meeting in a kiss, cautious but urgent.


They twined about each other in the darkness of the room, their embrace eager, needful. There was no holding back in the darkness, no need to lie, for the truth was plain for both of them. Their shapes were imperfect together, neither feeling the connection, the seamless, perfect joining that they had both known and lost. But there was a connection, a joining, and as their bodies rose to meet each other in the shadows of that anonymous room, they found release and a kind of comfort.


The room was still hidden by the night when she woke, too conscious of the unfamiliar breathing pattern beside her, the incorrect comfort of the arms that held her. She lay in the darkness, comparing and remembering, despite herself. When he pulled away from her in his sleep, curling in on himself, she had not resisted.


Eventually the light of morning bled slowly into the room, filtering through the ill-fitting curtains to trace out the shapes of the table, the chairs, the large bed. Their two bodies curled inward, side by side; together, but alone again. Solitary once more as the morning chased away the shadows and illuminated the truth.

She watched his face slowly emerge from the darkness, listened as the rhythm of his breathing shifted as he, too, drew toward waking. He was handsome enough, she thought, but he wasn’t…

He woke, his body shifting slightly as he drew in a deep breath. His eyes opened slowly, and met hers. They looked at each other in the faint light and shadows, an understanding between them. After long minutes, she spoke quietly.

“What’s her name?”

“Who?” The question was unnecessary, and they both knew it. Her eyes stayed focused on his, and he shrugged, smiling. “Sorry.”

He turned away from her then, shifting onto his back and lifting his shoulders, swinging his legs out of the bed, the wooden floor cold on his soles. He rose, moving across the room to the window, and she watched his tall, slightly too thin frame. He looked out at the town, which was slowly coming to life as the morning sun rose higher over the horizon. He thought he heard the ocean, the faint whisper of crashing waves, but that was impossible, of course. The ocean was half a world away from here. The sky was lightening slowly, and for a while he stood, watching the blue shifting shades towards bright daylight. He still felt her eyes on him, and he sighed, pressing his forehead against the cool glass of the window and closing his eyes.

“Amalthea,” he murmured, and then he turned back to the woman, a sad smile on his face. “Her name is Amalthea.”

She stepped towards him, hand held out in entreaty, and he moved to her, arms enclosing her. In the shadowy room they stood, entwined in an embrace that brought both comfort and pain.

They neither of them had who they wanted. But for now, at least, they had each other.


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