To have found each other indicated they had been lost at some stage. That they had been adrift in their lives, drifting on the oceans and seas and lakes of their existence. That something important had been missing to this point. And although everyone else had thought this about them, their lack of a close companion had bothered neither of them. It was as it was. A part of their communities, but not entwined in them. For this reason, they were chosen.

The trek for each if them began in their respective villages. Sagas were sung, garlands were hung, food was prepared. Wise women smiled toothless knowing grins at them. As daybreak broke across each of their homes, they were sent forth with a good hard shove in the back to overcome nerves. There were more songs too, but nothing encourages like a shove.

Their paths were similar, though from different directions. They wound their ways through the forest along well established paths. They weren’t the first to undertake their journeys and if all went well, they wouldn’t be the last. These paths had been walked a few times each generation, back to a time when the reasons were not understood. Carved stones set as waypoints guided them through the forest, the path carpeted with a soft green moss that grew only there. The forest seemed strangely complicit in their adventures.
They each had food, but the forest supplied ample berries and mushrooms for sustenance along the path. Many brooks and streams were crossed giving plenty of fresh water as they went.

They walked their paths through the forest, sleeping as the night drew around them, enveloping them in velvet. The predators kept their distance, refraining from turning them into a mid afternoon snack. Even they sensed the import of their ramble through the forest, slowly gaining altitude as they went, drawing closer to the ridge that separated the villages. In the mornings, the velvet would lift and a blue silken cloth be thrown across the sky. The continued on for five of the velvet/silk cycles until they finally crested the ridge simultaneously.

They stood there, their packs and what little had been left in them discarded before they began their final climb. They stood, separated not so much by distance as they were circumstance. Their villages were subtly similar but so different. They had no common language, no common history except this. The ones they send a few times every generation, the ones that have found no companionship in the village. The ones that meet their other half on top of this ridge.

They began to cross the ridge towards each other, dropping their simple clothes as they did, pausing a handspan apart, toes curled over the edge of the rift that cleaved the ridge along its length. A handspan wide and eternity deep, mesmerisingly dark, a warmth rising from it. They stood, these two who had no-one in their village for them, they stood not yet touching across the rift, savouring this last moment.

Toes gripping the edge of the rift, they leaned forward into an embrace, an intimate embrace that had waited for their lifetimes until now them to discover each other. Limbs intertwined as they held each other, as they melded into each other. Their toes curled and gripped the edge, giving them purchase as their arms and torsos interlocked, as they became one with each other. The rest of the world faded away into sharp focus, the sounds of the forest muting into a stark cacophony. Their years of solitude left behind forever, falling away behind them as a never ending future of being inextricably together stretched out before them.

Their toes dug into the edges of the rift, shattering the rock under them as they drove down through the surface. Their bodies twisted around each other, limbs interlocking, mouths grasping at each other, hands kneading into each others flesh. They grew taller, harder, more supple as now, after all these years, they finally became lost in each other. Their hair fell down in cascades, spread outward as an umbrella, twisted in with other.

Either side of the rift they stood, knotted together.

The rock beneath them cracked as their toes drove ever deeper down, anchoring them in place as they grew longer, taller, their limbs spreading outwards as they grew. Their fingers lengthened, their hair spread out. They hardened together, locked forever, their embrace eternal, one pair more in a row of paired trees along the ridge, one either side of the rift a hand width wide and an eternity deep. A pair sent a few times a generation to lose themselves in their other for evermore, to hold the rift closed, to protect the villages on either side.

Forever intertwined, forever holding each other in intimate embrace.