Tristan headed for the eastern edge of the small town.
Casually, lightly, and easily, he glided across the stone paving of the street.
He meandered in, out, and around clusters of townsfolk. He swung around two merchants engaged in a heated argument near an overturned cart.
He smiled, when a young girl with a basket of fresh smelling rolls caught his ear with a shrill, “Mister!” and a tug on his pant leg. He politely declined the sweet-smelling bread, gave her a coin that he retrieved from his pocket, gently patted the top of her head of matted hair, and continued his leisurely stroll.
He navigated the familiar streets, and alleys, confidently, his feet carrying him towards his destination with little input needed from his head.
In his mind, he tried to determine why he had ever come to the town in the first place. The question nagged at him as he moved toward the edge of the little town, but he wasn’t able to recall what had brought him there.
He was passing a small shop, when his attention was caught by the flickering of sunlight off of a small, silver, object, located at the back of a wooden table, its top covered with a velvety, purple cloth. The table was at the edge of the shade, just under the fabric canopy extending from the storefront. He stopped, turned, and walked towards the display.
He picked up, and examined the object.
Suddenly, he felt an unexplainable heaviness settle upon him.
It was no surprise that the item had caught the attention of the sun. It was a hair clip, made of brilliant, polished, silver. There was a seashell atop the clasp, with a pearl at its center. He knew that he had seen something like this before, if not this very item, but all the important particulars, that would have explained these feelings of familiarity, were escaping him.
From within the shop, he heard a faint gasp.
In his periphery, he noticed a raven-haired woman. She didn’t approach him, she didn’t back away, she stayed motionless, and watched him from the rear of the shop.
Uncomfortable with the weighty sensations that he was experiencing, and feeling the tug of his impending travels guiding his attention away from the hair clip, and the motionless woman, he rubbed the metal of the object between his fingers, then quickly placed it back on the table.
He turned his back on the shop, and moved from under the canopy.
Instantly, as if shedding a lead cloak, he felt lighter.
Tristan put himself back on the path towards the edge of town.
However long he had been in this place, was too long. He had survived the procedure, once again, and now, he needed to heal. He knew his destination. He would not be deterred.
Tristan was going home.