For the next hour, we sit like this in absolute stillness, living through the most spectacular sunset I have ever experienced.
The other side of the earth swallows the sun and the broad brush-strokes of pinks, oranges and yellows are painted across the sky. The few clouds dotted in the sky are dark on the one side and silver on the other.
When I hear the first cricket chirp again, I turn to him. “How did you know it would be so beautiful? How did you know it would be as if nature itself stopped to witness the sun setting?”
He laughs softly. “Do you always have so many questions?”
I look away from him and I pull on a piece of grass in front of me. He turns his whole body toward me. “First question’s answer—the sunset is always beautiful. Second question’s answer—I did not know it would end up feeling so creepy.”
I look at him insulted. “It was not creepy. It was awesome and it felt as if I could feel nature. I could feel why this is supposed to be such a magical place; I could feel it in my soul. Couldn’t you feel it too?” I frown as I look at him.
He looks at me seriously. As if this is the first time he has ever really seen me.
I ask, “How did you know where I was? How did you find me today? I didn’t even know I was coming to Slane this weekend.”
He smirks. “As you know, I am a witch, or if you prefer a sorcerer, who are able to shape things to my will.”
I nod my head yes. I do not tell him I have convinced myself it is all nonsense.
“But… have you ever heard of, um, astral travel?”
“No.” I frown briefly.
“Well, astral travel is basically where a person can expand their psychic horizon of awareness. You see I believe the soul and the brain are two separate entities and that they can exist independently from each other. I am able to enter into a state of altered consciousness and then my soul can look for you.”
“Are you serious?” I ask in disbelieve.
He smiles slowly. “I am very serious. There are many cultures who still practice these rituals.”
“The, um, Siberian Eskimo and Native American shamans are all able to perform astral travel.” He explains, “Shaman is another, better word for magician.”
“So, you are saying you have been spying on me, by letting your soul leave your body?”
He grins impishly. “Not really spying.”
I gasp shocked as I realize. “Jeez, can you see me when I… When I am in the shower?”
“I would not stoop that low and, to be honest, it has not occurred to me yet. Thanks for the suggestion.”
“No!” I gasp appalled.
He laughs loudly. The sound blends harmoniously with the quiet darkness around us.
Reaching toward me, with his hands on my waist, he turns me effortlessly toward him. I now sit with my legs crossed in front of him, facing him. He moves closer to me and our knees are pressed together.
“So, your soul leaves your body and then you let it drift until you find me?”
“Something like that, and only because I do not want you to feel anxious about it, I cannot physically see you, I can only sense you.”
I sigh with relief. “So, can Kieran also do this astral thing?”
I see a hard line form around his lips, as he says, “No, he cannot and he doesn’t know I can.”
“Why not?” I laugh jokingly. “I thought you told each other everything?”
He tightens his eyes, as he looks into my eyes searchingly. “We don’t. Why would you think that?”
“Well, he knew I saw you that morning on the train.”
Jayden smiles gradually, as I talk, and then he says, “Only because he knew I would make sure I am on the same train as you.”
I frown and I do not want to get the wrong impression, so I ask, “What do you mean, make sure you are on the same train as me. Why?”
He replies with a mischievous look on his face, “Look up.” He looks at me intently.
I lift my face up to the night sky and there are millions upon millions of stars clustered together above our heads. The stars seem so close, only just out of reach. It feels that if I stood up, they would surround my head.
I look down and into his dark eyes. “It’s beautiful,” I whisper reverently.
“It is.” Carefully, he says, “Last night when I found you, you were crying. Why?”
Immediately I feel the tears burn behind my eyelids. The weirdness of him, sensing my sadness when I was not even aware of him being there, is suddenly strangely insignificant. “It’s my parents.”
He remains staring at me silently, imploring me with his eyes to continue.
I tell him, “Well, you know they have decided to get divorced, and although they have both been unhappy with each other for a long time I still cannot understand why they don’t love each other anymore. When they fell in love all those years ago, they thought they would be together forever, so what happened? I am so afraid now to fall in love because although I might find the one person I want to be forever with, what if it is not forever. How am I going to dream of everlasting, forever love, when all around me it seems to be lost?”