title: far
attribution: idyllique.net
date: 2019-01-06
rating: General
word count: 475
setting: ~1828.
relationships & characters: Enjolras/Combeferre; Enjolras, Combeferre
keywords: Vignette, Epistolary, Geology
summary: for the prompt, "15. things you said with too many miles between us".

. . . that I am here in Christchurch, speaking a foreign yet familiar tongue and yielding to foreign yet familiar habits, and you are so far in Araules: you whom I try to picture in my loneliest moments here, listening to the sound of the Channel and the coastal birds, in ennui, exhausted of English. I find always that I cannot imagine you there, in the town of your childhood, your countenance appears to me only as that of a man residing in the city and taking for his mother and father his nation. Is it only a lack of familiarity that I struggle to imagine you in a setting other than a bustling street in the Latin Quarter? Never have I been to Araules, for never have I been granted the chance, it is separated from my places of habit by many leagues and mountains. Is it nice there? Rural, isn't it? - quite green, I should think, given the geography. Have you spent much time out of doors? Do you know that your little village upon its plateau would be a heaven on Earth for a geologist? There is igneous rock, there: basalt, clinkstone, trachyte, the like, remnants of those long-sleeping volcanoes and their eruptions. All land has a history, my dear Enjolras, and a bit upon that of yours was at one point published in a journal which I had the pleasure to read some time ago and have recalled as I think of you there in the mountains.

Perhaps you do not appreciate talk of stones unless they are laid in the streets as pavement and we are removing them. No matter.

Yes. Enjolras, you, metropolitan, are in the Midi, and I, French, am in England. We do not walk upon the same ground, and yet we each are in places irregular for us. How I yearn for you to be here with me: family is family, but members of mine do not provide stimulating conversation! no, they are not intellectual as you and I are.

What of yours? You never speak of them. Do you like them? Do you like to be home? Do you think of me at all? Already I have penned that I think of you. How uncanny it is that we are so far from one another, the farthest I have been from you and the farthest I shall ever hope to be, and yet though I cannot picture you I feel your presence with me . . .

The letter did not arrive until the day before his departure.

In the midst of arranging his valise, Enjolras read it, and read it again, and held in his other hand the coarse, fractured bit of rock he had found on a walk the previous morning, and which he would not have noticed lay in his path had he not been considering his dearest friend at the time.