Today I went to the woods, and I walked. I got chastised by my dear friend for embarking on such an expedition alone, but I made it out alive (obviously). While I’m ultra sensitive about people feeling like they have to take care of me lately, I’m happy to have people who care if I get eaten by a bear or taken out by an axe murderer.
It was a cold morning, but I wrapped my flannel tightly around myself, and I walked.
The cold air chapped my lips and blushed my cheeks, but I walked. The sky was grey, and the December air sent chills through my body, but I kept moving –willing myself forward as though whatever it is I am looking for lies buried within that forest.
In some ways, maybe it does. What is it I’m searching for? Clarity? Understanding? Love? Belonging? A cure to the existential dread that hits me harder and more often than I care to admit? A treasure map? Some actual treasure?
I might have better luck finding it if I could name it, but I walk anyways.
I walk until my head is spinning with thoughts and memories.
It’s like I’m in one of those movie montages where a character goes back to an old place and memories and voices and scenes from earlier in the film are artistically faded in. Those scenes always have me in tears.
Today I was in my own version of that, except there is no screen, no fancy transitions. This is all happening in my head –behind my closed, tear-filled eyes as I breathe in breath after breath of cold air hoping to stop my head from spinning.
I remember one of the last times I was in these particular woods. I wasn’t alone, I was with someone who was once very dear to me.
I was then, much like now, searching for some form of clarity.
I stood in the middle of the path, and I couldn’t hear the whisper of the wind or the chirping of the birds or the babbling of the creek.
All I could hear was us. My voice, asking why over and over and over again. Why to me? Why lie? Why do this to me, of all people? What did I do to deserve a betrayal that lasted so long and cut so deep?
I hear her, giving me an explanation. It wasn’t good enough, but I don’t think any explanation given for this particular situation would have been good enough.
There are some wounds that can only be healed with time. Some choices you can’t explain away.
She isn’t there, we don’t speak anymore, but before I know it the words are escaping my mouth again.
Seasons have passed, my life is completely different than it was back on that cold, February day when we were there together. Still, I am wondering the same things. Maybe it all came back to me because it was the same place, and the weather was the same, and I, ironically enough, happened to be wearing the same T-shirt. Funny how things come full circle like that.
I still don’t understand how someone could hurt their best friend like that, but I’m learning to accept that I may never understand. I simply have to keep moving forward and realize that some people, no matter how much we love them, aren’t meant to be in our lives.
What hurts more than anything, I think, is watching your best friend become a stranger and realizing that maybe you never really knew them at all.
So today I walked through the woods as if my life depended on it.
I walked until the cold didn’t bother me and I stripped off my flannel and rolled up my sleeves.
I walked until my head spun, and until it stopped spinning.
I walked until I had the unwavering feeling that everything was going to be okay.
It already is.