On a quiet spring day full of green grass and bright sunshine, a man walked down a road with his head down. He was tall, but his draped clothing and long hair made him look taller. He had high boots and a staff only slightly shorter than he was. With his dark hair obscuring his face, he looked intimidating and anyone who passed him by would be quick to get out of his way.
However, no one else traveled this path.
The man walked with a hurried pace, as if he has some place to get to. He wished that this were true. It would be wonderful to have a direction in life for once. But the only place worth traveling to was already miles behind him. With each rise of the gradually steepening hills, he thought about that place behind him becoming farther and farther away. He thought that if he looked behind himself, he would not be able to see that fine city anymore, but he dared not turn around now.
Forgive me.. Forgive me for leaving you.. Forgive me for destroying you..
The man clenched his fist tightly, nearly driving his fingernails through his skin. Then he relaxed his hand, seeing no purpose in becoming angry with himself. Sighing, he continued onward at an even faster pace. His thoughts turned dark and he bent his head low.
His ears suddenly picked up the sound of a gentle stringed instrument. He looked ahead of him and saw that at the top of the hill a woman was playing music on a viola. The song was gentle, but sad and made the man feel sorrowful and guilty.
He almost looked behind himself..
As he passed by the woman, the song reminded him of times of old. The tune seemed to sway between melodies for a moment and then move on to a different, sadder key that made the old melody sound like something forgotten and lost forever. The man thought about how his old life was lost and forgotten and how he would never be able to return again. As the song became more and more beautiful, it became harder to hear as he moved onward. Like his life of old, he would never hear this wonderful music again. The thought made him sad and he quickened his pace.
Then behind him, the music flowed back to its old melody.
The man stopped walking.
He turned around.
Suddenly, he found himself running toward the woman. “Oh lady on the hill who plays such beautiful music,” he called. “It’s uncommon to see anyone on this path so early in the spring. This is a road for those who have lost their ways. What are you doing here?”
The woman stopped playing and the man felt a pang in his heart as the song was cut off. The woman stood slowly and arranged her bluish robes.
“Why does anyone walk this path for that matter? But then again, I am not on the path, I am merely playing music on this hillside.” The woman spoke in a slight accent that the man could not pick up on. He took a step off the path toward her.
“Oh lady who plays music.. Could you help me? There is a town behind me that lies in danger. Perhaps it is too late for this town, but the rest of the world needs to be warned. Could you help me? Could you help me atone for the sins I have made.. Perhaps then, I could stray from this path and seek a better life.”
The woman smiled lightly. “But you have already strayed from this path. You see? You are now on a hill standing next to me.”
The man looked down and saw that his tall boots were standing on warm, green grass. Suddenly he found himself smiling. When he looked up, he saw that the woman was smiling in the same way. She put her instrument away and picked up a traveling satchel. “Come, if your town is in danger, then we must hurry.”
The man nodded more grimly and turned to face the way he had come. To his surprise, the city was still not lost from view. The hill was so high that he could see it and many others. He and the woman began to walk hurriedly toward the city. If they could not make it in time, at least they could warn others. This new path made the man feel light at heart.
Forgive me.. Forgive me for leaving you at the time you most needed me.. But I swear now that I will undo what has been done.