'It's the journey, not the destination, that matters.'
Susan awoke that day full of anticipation for the journey that lay ahead. It had been years since she had travelled outside of her comfort zone. This zone was a small, isolated house in the country, where she lived with her grandfather.
The house was nothing much to look at, with its ruined floorboards and peeling yellow paint, but the landscape surrounding it was full of wonder and mystery. A gentle, hazy mist hung low over the fields; full and green and lush, the aftermath of the wet.
But Susan would not miss this. Her grandfather took her by the hand; that frail but loving hand she had grown used to.
So they got into the old, dusty red ute and drove away - they sang songs and laughed and talked until Susan was exhausted. Her grandfather smiled pleasantly as she closed her small lids, shutting out the harsh sun of the country.
With a soft bump, Susan opened her eyes sleepily. The ute had come to rest on the bank of a shimmering river. Again, Susan's grandfather smiled and took her by the hand. He led her over to the very edge of the bank, where her wellington boots squelched in the mud contentedly.
'Do you see there, Susan?' Her grandfather's voice echoed off a nearby boulder.
As Susan's gaze followed his, she saw the flashing of silver fins underneath the surface of the water. They belonged, not to a fish, but to a beautiful creature that she had only heard of in stories.
The creature's head held two jewel-bright green eyes and a light green tinge to its lips. It had a mane of flaming red hair, which swirled around its torso in the water.
Susan had never seen anything like it. In a way, it scared her; but it was far too wondrous a thing to take her eyes away.
Eventually, after what seemed like hours, her grandfather steered her back to the car and out into the bright light. Susan could not sleep this time. Instead, she imagined a picture of the mermaid which resided in her story book.
When they came to another place, the mist of the morning had lifted. A rocky gorge stood before them, like a water pool would stand before a ship caught in a storm. It was beautiful, but terrible. Breathtaking, but undoubtedly life-taking if one stepped too close to the edge.
For a while they stood there, the world at their feet. Then once again, they turned back.
Wide-eyed and thoughtful, Susan drew a vague picture of what she had seen. It would never match up to the real thing, but the memory was enough.
Sprawling fields and hills they witnessed, pelting down the rocky roads, blundering along in the wake of their journey.
Beautiful, old, decrepit houses crumbled at their feet. Oceans of seaweed and sand continuously fell backwards around them as they neared their destination. The skies were clear and open and cloudless. They called to Susan as she drove with her grandfather through everything the world seemed to contain.
As the night fell, things began to change. Susan squinted in the headlights that shone on the road. Lights blared at them from all sides, buildings drew themselves up to their fullest height. Traffic signals blocked out the stars.
Her cousins greeted her and her grandfather with open arms. They lived in one of those terrible buildings! As they walked inside and up the dizzying, swirling spiral staircase, Susan's grandfather whispered, 'It's the journey, not the destination, that matters. Aren't you glad you came?'