Deep dark encounter

I encountered someone. An unthinkable event in the lands below. From almost a mile away we could distinguish each other’s lights in the straight central spine of this expansive salt mine. Like two fireflies in the empty night sky, the torches gravitated toward each other at a cautious pace. For what seemed to last atrociously long I followed the northeast wall while the stranger marched along the southwest side. Alert yet captivated I walked through the puddles and rubble squinting at the distance, ignoring my initial heading and shining forth despite my wish to remain discreet. Theirs seemed to be pointing lower down, could they have not noticed mine? Impossible. As the lights advanced and the dots became clear beams I kept my torch high and forth clumsily faking confidence in the gestures of my hand. The stranger opted for a slow pan of the wall by their side, maybe out of courtesy or indifference, I thought to myself. As the beams got closer they also got more brave, daring brief excursions over each other. Crossing timidly and not revealing much until they got close enough to start drawing oversized and misshapen silhouettes on the walls. Gripping my light I fought bravely in this increasingly greedy confrontation. Scanning for the smallest bit of information in the shadows behind that blinding shine.
And suddenly, at a time that seemed rushed despite having been so anticipated, we reached each other’s level and time froze again. Like two sharks in the darkness of the deep, caught in a moment of tense astonishment we found ourselves slowly circling around the inevitable space that separated us.
As the human figures abruptly revealed themselves to the battling rays the animalistic ritual broke. So did the tension and time ticked again like it always did. Then we met. We talked. There was no mention of the unusual circumstances of our encounter and the mutual tendencies that brought us there. These things did not translate into words as well as they did in emotion.