I finally wrote a short story. I’m actually really happy that I did it as I thought it an impossible task. But here it is.
The stupid word ran through my head again, playing over and over. I flicked my gaze to the window, tipping my head to the side as I observed my outer sanctum. Yellow petals danced in the breeze, waving to the stray dandelion heads as they floated by. The glare of the bright sun bounced off the lush grass; still healthy despite the sweltering heat. Several gardening tools lay dotted across the trail of stones leading to the forest that hugged the edge of my backyard. The branches from the huge pines shuddered.
Rising up from my chair, I slipped out the side door to answer the forest’s beckon, my brown hair swaying around my hips.
My bare feet padded over warm soil as I brushed past the row of perennials. The scent of pine, earth and lavender played a delicate tune in my nostrils. When I reached the end of my yard, I flipped the catch on the rusting Iron Gate. From the moment I stepped into the forest, a blanket of serenity shrouded me. Lost. Like hell. Still, the psychologist’s words played again through my mind.
“Evelyn, I believe it is now fully apparent that you have become disconnected from humanity. You continuously refuse to see the good in people, disillusioned by your broken heart.”
Pff, yeah right. My heart had long healed, bringing with it an iron cast shield. Yet every time I retreated to the shelter of the forest, another small chink appeared in my armor. With slow assured steps, I travelled the path now worn from my bare feet beating into it. My white sundress kissed across my knees as my heart pulled me toward my destination.
“Evelyn.” The psychologist’s words reared their head in my mind again. “You have cut yourself off from any form of human contact, content to wallow in the misery that, quite frankly, you are bringing upon yourself.”
My skin prickled with irritation. My ex-husband had forced the solitude upon me, taking custody of our friends as if they were our children. Have at it. Not one had believed me when I told them the truth; he had been the serial cheat in our relationship, not me. I had passed the sorrow stage of losing those friends within days of our separation. Friendships’ I had thought were forged with infallible strength, cracked, then shattered under the weight of truth. With a blessed clarity, I pulled away from those people.
The bubbling of the small stream pulled me back to the present. Taking a deep breath of the summer air, I allowed the wash of earth, wood, and pine to cleanse its way through my system. Closing my eyes, I pulled my bottom lip between my teeth. The corners of my mouth tugged, insisting on breaking out into a smile. I tipped my head back, savoring the tranquility of nature. Nature couldn’t hurt me – it wouldn’t. We were one. We were the same. Just leave us be. We could look after ourselves without interference.
Padding forward, I made my way to the gentle river. Water skirted the small rocks jutting up from the riverbed, barely breaking the surface. Kneeling down, I rested on my side and settled into the soft moss underneath. I pushed my hand into the water, savoring the cool swirl around my fingers. Cicada’s sung songs of love, calling to the other half of their souls. Birds chirped a melodious tune from the green canopy overhead. Branches reached out, extending to the touch of their neighbors. I lifted my head in the direction of a rustling across the stream. Two squirrels pattered through fern, dancing to the tune of an emotion as old as time itself. Emotion. The stupid psychologist’s words sliced into my peaceful resolve.
“You show little to no emotion, Evelyn. Your ability to trust has dipped so low that if you continue on this path, you will inevitably end up alone.”
You are never alone. The trees whispered words of comfort and belonging, draping me in their protective caress. I stretched out my toes, waiting for the signal to move. On cue, the strike of metal against wood permeated the air, sending my heart into a wild flutter. Scraping my tanned legs across the soft earth, I rose from my resting place. The breeze pushed against the small of my back, urging me forward. Sinking my foot into the river, I sighed as the water rolled across my ankles. I waded through the crystal clear liquid until my toes touched against the soft moss on the other side.
The breeze eased me forward again, ushering me toward the sound. With each step, it grew louder, until only a small gathering of tall fern blocked me from the heavenly being on the other side. As I moved to part the fronds, the wind rustled them and they kissed the back of my hands. I widened the curtain, exposing the view I’d been searching for.
On the other side of the treeline, long arms glistened as they lifted and fell with each strike of the axe. His muscles strained with each movement, biceps bunching then releasing against the crack of wood.
Tossing the axe to the floor, he swiped his hand across his forehead. His short, tousled black hair shone in the sunlight. A bead of sweat trickled from his temple, over the high curve of his cheekbone and past his broad nose before settling at the edge of his strong, square jaw.
Dipping his head, he blew out a breath before bending down to reclaim his axe. As he curled back up, the smooth curve of his abs rippled. A sheen of moisture covered his body, clinging to his tanned skin. Unable to help myself, my gaze travelled to his well-defined pectorals as they rose with each breath he took. I licked my lips, but my tongue left only the faintest trail as my mouth dried from watching the beautiful creature before me.
The breeze that had so faithfully guided me to him turned into a single gust, flattening the wall between me and him. He glanced up and his deep blue eyes found mine. His lips curled up, accentuating long dimples in his cheeks. My heart stuttered, then raced as he took a step toward me.
“For as long as you continue to hide from others, Evelyn, you will be unable to find the happiness I know you crave.”
Right, Mr Psychologist. You’re right.
The breeze nudged me again and I succumbed to it, stepping out into the unknown.