by Orangeblossom Took

A rainy summer day in the Crescent City

The red streetcar was bright against the grey day and ran quietly along the track, paralleling the massive brown river on the other side of the levee. The only sound that could be heard was the occasional crack of thunder. The summer storms scattered in the sky made the light soft and filtered and a gentle rain was falling on the old market, the cathedral, and misting the windows of the streetcar.

The lone occupant of the streetcar’s wooden benches was a small brunette woman leaning on the frame of an open window. She was contemplating change. She was about to undergo a change in employment and a change in housing. Now, one of her safe havens was changing as well. Would these changes, any of them, be for the better? Only time would tell.

These were the thoughts falling on her heart like rain when the streetcar came to its next stop. Another passenger got on. A tall man garbed in green. His ensemble was eccentric, even by the standards of the City That Care Forgot. With a start, she sat up straighter in her seat. She knew this man; at least she knew her mental picture of him. That was all her mind had time to grasp before he sat next to her.

In a hushed, tentative voice she said his name like a question, “Faramir?” She did not know what made her so bold. It could be the fact that he sat next to her or it could be how the bruised silver and violet quality of the light and the sound of the rain made everything seem like a dream.

He gave her a slight smile and said, “Yes. I was in the woods of Ithilien and I suddenly found myself in this strange city. It was night in the forest. I stepped into an errant moonbeam and was here. It is far from what I know but I feel as if I know this place and you.”

The woman blushes and says, “Well, I have written about you. My name is Orangeblossom. I have lost my job, my messageboards, and my way. Actually, I am leaving the job for a new and quite different one and the messageboards are being replaced with new ones as well. I worry about making the transition and this not being a huge mistake. Change has always frightened me.”

“Ah,” he said, “Change is something we all must face. It can indeed be frightening but it is as inevitable as the tides or the phases of the moon. Do not fear. Even if these changes are for the worse, you will have the strength to face that. I could not tell you why I know that but that is what I feel is true.” He paused, gave her a quizzical glance, and asked, “What is a messageboard?”

She gave a little laugh and said, “If we had time, I could show you.” She chewed her bottom lip and fear again appeared in her eyes and she continued, “I thank you for the kind words but what if I fail at this job? Even if I don’t, it is only temporary. It is in my field, though. What if the boards are never the same?”

He leaned forward, brushed the hair back from her face, and said, “Fear does no good. Remember, the far green country awaits us all in the end and that, at least, is unchangeable.”

She yawned and said, “I beg your pardon, I feel exhausted all of a sudden. You are very kind but I knew that about you.”

Her eyes closed and she slumped in her seat. She thought she felt his lips brush her forehead before she lost consciousness.

She woke up to the cry of, “Last stop.” The riverfront streetcar had completed its route. The silver-violet sky had deepened to a midnight blue and lamplight glistened on the rain-slicked pavement. She was again alone as she left her seat and exited the streetcar.