The cold air danced under my nose when I would breathe out. The smell of pine surrounded us as a few more flakes gathered in her black, tangled curls. Her eyes were a frantic blue. Her lips were pale and thin. Something inside me said I should know who she is, but my mind went blank. There was a piece of hair that dangled in her eye. I moved closer to tuck the lock behind her ear. Although I was freezing, although the wind was roaring at our faces, making our cheeks beam red, she smiled. Her smile was warm, so warm.
It wasn’t until she ran back into the forest that I knew who she was. It wasn’t until then that I knew the little girl was me. Over the years of drinking, drugs, sex, and struggle, I knew I was rotting away. It was then I didn’t know who I was anymore. I barked up the courage and ran into the wood to find her- to find the girl I once was.
When taking my first steps into the grove, my feet sunk, as if I just learned how to walk. Between fallen trees, broken branches, mud, and bramble, I couldn’t keep my balance. I stumbled upon a pond. A tree was standing out of the water. The tree needed just one more drop, just one more sip, just one more taste. It wanted to drown itself in the fluid. Like it was consumed by drink. The water is all it's known.
A few trees down stood another pine with fog absorbing it. The smoky grey fog choked the tree. It floated in the lungs of the bark causing the branches to droop. The tree didn't mind. The tree didn't mind at all. The tree was up so high that I'm sure it didn't feel the fog taking over. I'm sure it didn't feel anything. The fog is what made the tree feel tall. The fog is what made the tree feel alive.
I strolled down a hill to get away from the smoke and came to intertwined trees. Each one needed to feel the others skin. They became aroused by touching the other. Each tree wanted more. The leaves were up so high. There was no need to cover branches or bark. Tightly together yet everything was open. That’s how they felt passion. That’s how they avoided loneliness.
Walking through the rows of twined trees, I finally came to one where all the pain hits. I understood how the trees feel when their leaves fall off-when they're all alone and a great wind wisps by. Oh, how you had me shaking like a naked tree. Lifeless. Alone. Just swaying back and forth, not knowing to move left or right. You were my leaves, and leaves leave trees. You left me naked when it got windy. Rain fell, or was it my tears? I understood why you're called a weeping willow.
I drug my feet, wanting to leave the forest. I wanted to escape and disappear. I saw pink and purple in the distance, so I went to the vibrant colors as the rain trickled down my cheek and curved down my chin. There was a garden, and it was beautiful. Do you know what flowers look like when it's raining vigorously and they start falling? When the rain keeps coming down harder and harder? The flower tries to stay up, but you can see it bobble up and down. It tries so hard to stay standing, to stay strong. I am like that flower. I'm trying to stay still as she stands in the middle of the down pour.
I walked through the garden, and found a sprout. A flower ready to grow. A flower soon to prosper. The sun came out from behind the clouds, and I could feel it shine on the back of my neck as I was bent in the flower bed, admiring the little bud. I told myself that day that I would be that flower, that bud soon to grow. I would be a stem, rising high. I would be the leaves, covering and protecting myself. I would be the petals. I would bloom. There was a water puddle beside me, I looked into it as the birds were singing harmonious symphonies. I looked, not to see myself in the reflection, but to see the person I was yet to become.