A Short Story (unedited)
I left home three years ago to look for it. I packed my old backpack with a few random things- a raincoat, a water bottle, some cash I had saved up- I wasn’t sure what I would need on this journey, and I didn’t care. I told my family I was leaving, which I shouldn’t have done. They told me to stay. They told me to lie in the grass on a sunny day and look towards the horizon- that’s where I would find it. I tried that. I didn’t see anything. I thought maybe I was blind. Everyone else had found it, why couldn’t I?
I left on a Tuesday, not sure where I was going. I just knew I needed to find it, and I had to believe in its existence. That was the only thing I knew to hold on to- what I was looking for was out there, waiting to be found by me. Maybe I was in the wrong place before. My theory was that if I found the right place, it would be easier to find.
I traveled down some unmarked path for what felt like years, but it was just months. It seemed like many people had been down this path before, but no one was on it now. The weather was warm and I didn’t need my raincoat. I slept under trees and kept cool in the breeze. The sun told me where to go and the stars kept me company. I felt like I must be close, to the place where I was supposed to be; the place where I would find it, finally.
After a while I started feeling too far away from it. I could just feel that I was going in the wrong direction, or maybe that was the weather changing. Either way something was not right. The breeze made my skin cold and the stars were too quiet.
I entered a small town that I did not recognize. I was determined to continue, determined to find it. Snow began to fall and my raincoat was not enough. I found a warm, empty coffee shop and got a hot chocolate. The warm lifted a weight off my shoulders. I sat in a corner, wondering where to go next.
As I sat and I pondered, I felt a stare. Someone had noticed I was there. This person sat across from me and asked for my name. I explained what I was looking for, and asked for advice.
Apparently, it can’t be found when being searched for, unfortunate news. Not sure of its truth, I said I’d continue. I didn’t realize this person would join me, and had arranged a search party; a group of people, about 8 or 10. We agreed to go back the way that I came.
Night was cold, but the stars were not as quiet. This group lit the night’s sky better than the moon. At first we traded jokes, and mumbled about ghosts. But after a while they wondered aloud about my reasons. I told them if what I am looking for is real, than I have a reason to live- my self-made deal.
The weather got warmer and we neared the end of the path. However, somehow I felt close to it. Closer than I had ever felt. We danced and we helped when others got tired. We held hands, and we laughed- we understood each other.
One warm morning when the sun was rising, we were close to my home and I had not found it. I was discouraged and scared. But the group did not care. They said they’d remain by my side, promised they’d always be there. We sat in the grass to admire the beauty, a big open field, and full of opportunity.
As I looked toward the horizon, I rubbed my eyes, I thought I saw something, but it had to be lies. I looked closely, and observed. It was far away, but close enough to recognize. It was exactly what I had imagined.
One might think it a horse, but it’s so much more. A brilliant, sparkling unicorn standing strong, like truth. I found it. I was speechless and appreciative. I studied its beauty for as long as it let me. A purple, pink, and forest green horn, glimmering in the sunlight, brighter than the brightest stars in the sky. A long luscious tail, a strong, confident body, and a face like it knows the unknowable.
In a blink it was gone, and I looked around at my friends. Whether they saw it, I am not sure. But they helped me find it. As long as I have them, I have it, too.