It was a time of everything ending, really. A small crew of the closest friends held bittersweet ceremonies in defiance of their nearing departure and in celebration of their brief, strong histories. It was a late on a cool night in the early spring with stars in rural western Massachusetts guiding my path. Each step toward the small stream near our townhouses was something, not lost, but drawing to a close.
My college job where I met some of these great people. My relationship; an ugly but entirely too delayed finish. My years in a place I'd come to love.
I walk lightly yet in that quiet even my shoes scraping against the pavement sounded enough to wake a small city. I sighed as I arrived at the sad, trickling little waterway and leaned over the concrete bannister blocking it from the road.
"Take this," came a voice. It was just behind my left shoulder. A gloved hand held a strip of paper toward me, perfectly still.
I wasn't startled in the regular sense of the word. I didn't expect this person and they'd made no sound, but they came as no surprise. Before taking the paper, I studied the newcomer. The memory is obscured now, though I can recall that then it was so clear, more real than everything else.
I looked at what I now held as the person disappeared down the lonely road. It read:
TNM 14 hours and 32 minutes.
Aug 1 5 8 10 10 11 11 11 14 16 27
Sept 2 3 4 4 9 10 12 12 15 24
I followed it, and arrived here.