The Stranger's journey has now come full circle.
Join me in the bright sunshine at When Words Go Free...

There are still stories to be told.
Read them at The Stranger Looks Back.


The bartender hesitated a few moments, the key still in his tightly-clenched fist. He looked around the place that had been his home for the past year, and wondered if it had all been a dream. He decided, like Alice, that it had been real enough to him, and that was all that mattered.

He then looked in the small mirror he held in his other hand, and he knew the face that looked back at him. He wondered where the stranger that had been there a year ago had gone to. It took him a minute to realize that the face was the same; he simply hadn't recognized it then.

The bartender kicked the jukebox one more time, looked at the key in his now open palm, and smiled as he handed it to the barmaid. As he walked through the door into the bright sunshine, he took off the mask and turned off the light that he no longer needed.

Brown-Eyed Girl

I was nervous, as one might be before a first date. That it was my first first date in almost 20 years probably added to the nervousness. When she finally appeared and we shared the perfunctory hug, I was still nervous. As we walked to the car, I was still nervous. As I gave her the three different coloured roses and explained the meaning of each, I was a bit less nervous.

On our second date, she told me that she always knew on the first date whether it was "yes" or "no", but with me, she hadn't. I asked her how it had worked out with those who had been a "yes". We were on a date, so the question was somewhat rhetorical. By the end of our second date, she still didn't know about me. I took that as a good thing, because I wanted to.

Our third date did not go exactly as planned. We were "asked" to sit with the rabble, the squirrels went hungry, I had to call for a boost, and she defied a personal tradition. It must have answered the question for her, because we never had a fourth date; spending the weekend together with our kids was not considered a date. I was nervous about that, too. Very nervous, for various reasons. I needn't have been, for any of them. All in all, it was the best fourth date ever.

* * * * *

I spent almost a year wandering around a strange town, more than a little inspired by a modern fairy tale there, fully expecting to find my treasure among the pyramids. Once or twice, I thought I might could have, and even threw caution to the wind, but no. What I did find was the path to somewhere I had not been for a very long time - my self. Only after I discovered the treasure that had been sleeping there could I follow the signs to the one waiting under the blue sycamore tree. 

* * * * *

First I had to be alone so that I could learn how to not be lonely. Then I had to be lonely so that I could want to not be alone. Now I don't have to be either.

The End