Prompts used: One
Total points: 6 (Something’s better than nothing, right?)
A Soulful Walk in the Woods
Things have been hard for her.
She’s been thrown around like a ball because they think she doesn’t mind, she’s been shredded to pieces and reduced to tears, and no one really believes she has much of her left expect that emptiness that fills her. No one but me, that is.
I sit by her next to the river, watching her stare into the distance, her feet swaying silently in the resilient waters. I do the same. “How do you keep yourself together?” I ask her, observing her clouded eyes that I believe have been to places I have never known before. They are brown, gleaming with the water’s reflection. They are just as welcoming as they are hurt. I begin feeling uncomfortable when she doesn’t reply for a long while.
Suddenly, her head jerks up and she says, “I only care about what I care about. I don’t need anything else to make me who I am.” It makes no sense to me, the words feel wrongly put, but somehow I can understand what they mean. I nod and let her have her space. The sun rises a little higher into the sky. She stands up and I stand with her. We walk aimlessly because there is no place else we are expected to be today.
“Do you know who you are?” she asks me. “Yes,” I tell her. We are setting foot on a neatly laid path into the woods. She doesn’t ask me who I think I am. I’m relieved because somehow I know I’m wrong about myself and she knows more about who I am than me. “What about your mind, eh? Your heart? Do you know who they are?” I shake my head. No, I don’t know. Do I want to? I’m not sure.
She stops. “They are who you are,” she says, penetrating my body with her gaze. I can almost feel those brown eyes burning into my heart and mind, finding out who they are before I can find out myself.
They are who you are… No. That doesn’t fit what I think I am. I think I am human. I am this body they say I’ve been blessed with. But my mind isn’t human, neither is my heart… We keep walking.
“You are this beautiful sun, not very unlike the one we saw in the sunrise this morning,” she says, keeping her gaze in front of her. I laugh, and she stops again. I only have a moment to analyze whether I was wrong to laugh when she tells me “Whatever you may think, you can’t change that, you know.”
We resume again. I find this walking and stopping exercise rather odd. I am relieved when she begins talking again. “Whether you like it or not, you rise one day. And then you set.” I know what she means this time. She means that you only ever live to die. Like it’s going to help to know that. I don’t act defensive, though.
“But it’s what you do when you’re out there that matters.” I take that into account for a while. The sun, though beautiful in its rise and set, is meaningless if it didn’t do what it does in the middle. It radiates light and warms everything that is cold. I’m not sure that could be me. But for some strange reason, I begin to wish I were that kind of person. A light. A source of warmth and comfort.
“You are not this body. You can be much, much more,” she says. And then I realise, the sun never rises because it wanted to. It just does. And when it does, it spreads life and light until it’s time to go. You don’t much appreciate something before you realise it’s true value, alas.
I never chose to be born, I never chose to be forced into this life-death cycle, but as long as I’m here I might as well shine. Suddenly I realise that today I’ve learnt so much more than school ever could have taught me.
I can see a small smile cracking onto her lips, and then she’s gone. Just like that. Before I even know how to react, how to say goodbye. But then I see a soft glow surrounding my body, and it may not even be real, but it tells me that she is in me. She is me. Just like my mind and heart are. She is my soul.
The glow fades, but not away. It fades into me. I can feel myself accepting it, that me is not confined to just my body. That I am as sure to set as I am to rise. But instead of musing over how it’s unfair, I think about how beautiful it is, this sunrise and this sunset.
Today, after so many days, I feel an urge to live. An urge to be the light and warmth this world needs. And it all started with me having a walk in the woods with my soul.