“I understand,” said the man.
Dawn broke above the waves, and the man and the unicorn continued on their journey.
“There was a time when I too was alone. Everywhere I looked, all the creatures were given one like them, but I had to use my gifts on my own,” said the man.
The unicorn listened intently.
“All our longings are seen, all our questions are heard, all our pain is remembered,” said the man. “No one was made to be alone.”
The unicorn just kept walking, his gait getting stronger every hour.
“What are you thinking?” asked the man.
“‘No one was made to be alone.’ It reminded me of the herd, is all. Some of the older stallions called me ‘little lamb,'” he said.
“Lamb, you say?” said the man.
“Pure, and docile. Always following,” he said, with a hint of resentment. “But I’m not helpless.”
“Far from it!” said the man. As they walked, they fell into another silence. They journeyed for almost half a day before the unicorn spoke again.
“I’m afraid,” said the unicorn quite suddenly.
“About what?” asked the man.
“Is there really one like me? Who understands all my layers, who sees all of me, who can join me in my calling, and I in hers?” he asked.
“That’s not for me to answer,” said the man, “but I know that if you are to find her, you are sure to find her.”
Ahead of them, the mountain rose high into the clouds.
“Is that where you raced up to?” asked the man.
“It is. Perhaps one day I will make the trek again on my own,” said the unicorn.
“Oh, perhaps not with the herd, but surely not alone,” said the man with a wink. His fantastical friend noticed, but said nothing. What did he mean, exactly?
The man patted him on his hide.
“You realize though,” he said, “that if there is one like you, you are as rare to her as she is to you.” He swept his arm across the landscape before them. “She could be searching as hard as you have, waiting for you just as long.”
The unicorn stopped. “I hadn’t thought of that,” he said.
“The world is much larger than we can imagine,” said the man. “It could be that you’re further apart than you realize, and it will take time before you meet.”
“It could be,” said the unicorn, thinking.”So what should I do, teacher?”
The man looked towards the hills and the mountains, and the unicorn’s path was plain to him.
“Make yourself visible, be beacon not only for her, but for all those around you,” said the man. “And not only for others, but for yourself too,” he said. “The song inside you was not meant to be hidden. It’s bursting from you.” He pointed to the mountain’s summit.
“If you sing from up there, who knows who will come to listen?” said the man.
The unicorn blinked as his eyes followed the mountain’s side to its summit, just hidden in the clouds. Alone, the trek would be tiring. Daunting.
The man nudged him. “You don’t seem like one to shy away from a challenge,” he said.
“No, I’m not,” said the unicorn, pawing the ground.
The man and the unicorn reached a fork in the road, the man’s path going one way, and the unicorn’s another.
“The horses usually race from the other side. This path is yours to make,” said the man. “Perhaps you’re the only one who can make it.”
The unicorn hasn’t taken his eyes off the summit. “The thought of it, of all of it, scares me and pleases me at the same time. How can that be?”
The man shrugged. “You’re talking to a man destined to walk over the whole Earth. I don’t know how, but one day I reckon we’ll understand,” said the man.
The unicorn bowed once. “Thank you, teacher,” he said. “Truly, thank you.”
The man returned his bow and almost started down his path. “Oh, I nearly forgot.” The unicorn turned back.
The man rose on his tip toes while the unicorn lowered his head a little. As he whispered in the unicorn’s ear, his piercing eyes grew wide. His whole being seemed to brighten, and be full of life.
The man, quite pleased, said, “I thought of it when you sang.”
The unicorn bent a knee low. “Thank you, teacher, thank you. Thank you.”
“Remember, I will call you by name. I know you by name.” The unicorn smiled. “Oh and one more thing,” said the man.
“When you start missing someone you’ve never met,” he pointed to the sky. “Just look to the stars. They’ll light the way in the dark.”
As they parted ways, the unicorn never forgot.