Please read Of Sun and Rain (latter) first.
The golden shine of the interior had a strangely soothing effect, almost forcefully so. The train flew silently across the scenery, softly swaying Monika in the curves. She gradually lost consciousness again, though now her mind felt light and free.
As Monika awoke, she found herself standing in a great grain field. The field seemed to stretch on forever, occasionally interrupted by a small forest and bent by some low hills. The sky was clear and painted in light azure. Monika stepped out of the shadow of the great tree that arched over her and into the sunlight. It did not feel hot, but rather warm and welcoming. A light breeze blew over the giant field and Monika felt as if she would be carried away at any moment. She looked up at the sun, that great, fiery ball in the sky. As she stared at it, she could make out slight changes in colour, orange, red, white, yellow. Monika turned around. Behind her was a great forest, getting thicker and thicker farther in. She could not make out the end of the forest to either side, but she discovered a path that seemed to follow along its border. Intrigued, Monika decided to follow the path.
As she stepped out of the long cornstalks, she noticed that it was very quiet. Aside from the faint sound of the wind and the leaves that gently rustled with it, there was nothing to be heard. Monika strolled along for a while, gravel softly crunching beneath her sandals. The path curved back and forth here and there, constantly following along the edge of the deep forest. Due to the frequent turnings, Monika could never make out whether the path would eventually end or if she was circling around the forest. Eventually she decided to stop for a moment and looked around again. She must have walked quite a distance, as one of the forests in the field that had seemed far away before had come quite close. Along the border she could see another gravel road. And on that road was a person.
Monika was perplexed. She had come to assume that she was indeed alone, as this place did not feel altogether real to her. She pondered for a bit and then decided to at least get closer so she could confirm that her eyes were not betraying her. She left the road and dove down into the golden corn field. The forest seemed to approach quicker than she was running, it was as if it grew towards her, becoming bigger and bigger by the second, reaching farther and farther until she could no longer make out an end to either side. As she got closer, she started to see more clearly. It was indeed a person she had seen. The person wore a white, short-sleeved shirt and a mid-length, white skirt. Her short, blonde hair flowed in the wind as she rode her red bicycle along the road. Monika noticed that she could now hear birds and all the usual sounds of nature. It all felt more realistic the closer she got. Suddenly she heard a voice humming a tune. It was her own voice.
The woman on the bicycle was her. She, herself, was merrily riding down the path, enjoying the wonderful day outside. As Monika saw herself, she suddenly remembered. She remembered the day of a few months back, the day she had finally received the confirmation. At last she had managed to get a job as an illustrator at a firm in Zürich. The future had looked bright and good. But as she remembered this, she also remembered where she really was.
Monika awoke with a start. She was shivering and felt ice cold. Her wet clothes stuck to her skin and her hair felt heavy with water. The train came to a halt and she looked outside. “Affoltern am Albis”, the plaque read. Monika blinked, jumped up gasping and hurried over to the exit. As she stood on the platform, warm sunlight shone onto her face. The sun had almost set, only a tiny sliver of it remained. Monika stopped shivering. Everything appeared normal again. The train was just like any other, leisurely making its way through the evening. The sky felt light and clear once more, just a few harmless clouds decorated it near the hilltops. Monika could hear the crickets humming nearby. With a hiss and a jerk, the train set into motion. As it drove off into the distance, Monika made out a black rectangular shadow that lingered on one of the windows. And just how the crummy suitcase went farther and farther away from her, so did her worries. When the train disappeared into the horizon the sun had completely set. Monika made her way towards Aeugst am Albis, glad to leave this day behind her, eagerly looking forward to being home again.
Written by shinmera