The Twilight of Our Years

The dropship perched upon one of the smaller floating mountains. I climbed down, fists thick with flowering vine. The going was precarious but my old bones were still vigorous. It was beautiful here at dusk, the stars a scrawl towards a purpling horizon.

I made my way in the failing day towards firelight and… there he was. Hao Shue was engaged in an animated conversation with a being who sat cross-legged, spine erect, slurping noodles with gusto. When he saw me, his laugh lines fissured with delight. “Old friend!” the ancient Chinaman cried, embracing me in the jungle.

Hao Shue had converted the skiff into living quarters. Food was plentiful, in trade with other denizens for his skill. That night we remembered to each other the story of our lives each had missed in our separate ways. I relayed the demise of our mutual friend in a fatal automobile accident. He was saddened, but glad that I had come. Then we sat in silence for some time, quietly slurping wonton soup.

I knew no other home after that.

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