It'd been a while since I'd seen Hannah. Oh, we were both around, busy as ever in the Station. There are no halls in the Station (halls are the worst), but if there were halls, it would be an appropriate thing to say that we passed one another in the hall all the time. But we hadn't sat down, just the two of us and some tea, in ages. This was an issue for two great reasons. First, I only drank tea with Hannah, as a general rule, and I was very much in withdrawal. Second, and more importantly, our souls needed to chat with one another, and while post-it notes and high-fives are great, some things just need to be done in person. So, I finally put my foot down and went a'hunting with bow and arrow for my deer cousin.
"So, what's new?" I asked, once I'd found her and we were safe in our hovel with tea.
Hannah gave me a silly smirk and shrug. She sipped her drink and I waited for words. She took her time, not to choose her words wisely, but maybe just to play jumbling games with them in her head before spilling them out. But eventually, she licked her lips and spoke.
"I have a new friend," she said.
"Really?" I chimed at the news. "Is she real?"
"Of course she's real," she retorted with the high pitch of playful offense. "I made her up just this morning!"
"Fair enough," I said. "Tell me about her."
"That's only right, I suppose," Hannah agreed, "Because I've told her all about you. Let's see here. Her name is Chelsea, and I think you guys would get along. She has a great sense of humor, like me."
"Well, that's a good start. What kind of accent does she have?"
Hannah wrinkled her nose. "You mean, where is she from? I dunno, ask her yourself!"
Just as I was about to ask where she was, I looked down and found her. Chelsea, it turned out, was climbing out of my tea cup, and doing so without a hitch. My instinct was to drop the cup, but I worried what that would to her, so I held fast until she was out and grounded. She dusted herself off and then gave me a curious glare.
"Where I'm from is of little or no consequence," she said emphatically. "What matters is where I'm going from here."
She then fell into a dramatic soliloquy about other worlds, other timelines, other dimensions. Places of mystery and intrigue that I'd heard in my heart but never out loud. Chicago, Indianapolis, Columbus, Fort Wayne. As she went on, my jaw slowly dropped and Hannah's eyes widened as best they could. Finally, the monologue slowed and eventually ended, and there was silence. We were in the midst of a wizard. That was certain.
I girded myself with wit and spoke up at last, asking her if she's seen our lemon jelly park in the catacombs. She was familiar, but she was interested in taking a swim in it. We'd never thought of that. Oh, we'd played in it, waded in it even, but never swam. So we did just that, complete with snorkels and goggles, of course, so we could see. What we found there was beyond our imaginations. Fish and fauna unlike the known world had ever seen. Who knew this could all be just below our floorboards the whole time! We were inspired, then. Inspired to explore further the bowls of our little The Station, and explore the walls and eves and bookshelves alike, to find worlds and timelines galore until tea time came around again.