The train started to move out of the station. It gathered momentum, and soon the monotone sound of the wheels rolling over the tracks began to calm her mind.
Outside, the world flew past. Jenny knew it was too soon to be looking for the mountains, so she focused on a small hill far ahead. Slowly she watched it come closer and then disappear again behind them.
It reminded her of her sister - hills and mountains always made her think of her sister - and she smiled.
They had grown up in the mountains. Had learned to hike and climb from their father when they were small. They had been happy up in the rocks, the three of them.
Together they had discovered new routes, each more difficult than the previous ones. The friendly rivalry between the twins was what drove them on.
On one of their climbs, Jenny had ended up falling and scraping one arm. Lost in her memories, she subconsciously rubbed the small mark just beneath her elbow, where the wound had been deep enough to leave a scar.
When the mountains finally came into sight, Jenny’s heart began to beat faster. This was her cue to get ready. In a few minutes, the train would reach her destination. She put on her jacket, grabbed her gear and went to the door.
Her father stood on the platform. Wrapping her into a hug, he kissed her head. Then he took the heavy bag from her while they walked to the car.
Her eyes fell on the high mountain range that loomed over them, the peak hidden in the clouds.
“You ready?” he asked softly.
There was a slight tightening in her throat.
She took a deep breath. “Ready.”
The sun stood high. when they reached the top of the mountain several hours later. Her skin glistened with sweat, and her body and mind felt nicely fatigued, muscles aching pleasantly from the exertion.
The view was spectacular; they had miles of uninterrupted views over the mountain ranges and valleys below them.
Slowly she got up and reached for the small backpack. She took out a small hand-knit pouch that her mother had made six years ago while sitting beside her eldest daughter’s hospital bed, keeping vigil, refusing to leave her side until the end.
Now the pouch was filled with flowers. Irises had been Jessica’s favourite.
Jenny opened the strings and took a few of the blue-purple pedals. Then, slowly she let the wind carry them away. One handful at the time, she emptied the bag.
Her father watched the pedals twirl in the air. He looked sad. Then he shook himself and smiled when his eyes fell on Jenny.
He pulled her close. Together they watched the flowers dance over the mountain.
“Happy Birthday, sis,” she whispered.
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