Not All Who Wander Are Lost

My alarm rang loudly around me, adding background noise to the piercing silence I was dwelling in. I’m not sure why I set an alarm; I knew I wasn’t going to sleep a minute. Today was going to be dreadful; there wasn’t a thought in my mind that could change that. Happening later this afternoon, my best friend would go on to marry the woman whom I had been in love with. Neither he nor she had any inclination of this, or of my envious rage I felt towards them. Only to complicate this already complex situation, I had agreed to be his best man, as well as to speak at the reception. The ivory suit he had chosen for me seemed to mock my dark sullen mood that already had taken hold my mind.

The day all went by in a grim, depressing haze. Words all slurred together, movement became just commotion to me, and feelings within me all eventually surrendered to the hurt I was feeling. Then, like a sharp slap in the face, I heard glasses tapping around me; my cue to get up and say how joyful and proud I was of my best friend and his newly beloved, my secret always beloved. Standing up and looking over the shallow, expectant crowd, I could not bring myself to lie to all these people, as well as to myself, any longer. Turning towards my best friend, my enemy, my depression turned to anger; my jealousy fueled the fire that had been dulled to a spark. I’m not sure what exactly I yelled, but it was enough to get my point across. He stood up and headed for the door, while the angel of my life began to sob and shout retaliations at my heated lecture. I then realized I had just smashed all the friends I had in this world. All ties had been severed as if with a razor, or a knife. I knew what had to be done tonight. Nobody would have to know, not that they would even care to. I slyly snatched up my steak knife and hurriedly put it in the breast pocket over my empty and dark heart. Sliding out the back door, I heard the lovely chaos I had caused being restored, and could tell my burst of emotion did nothing to damage their happiness. This upset me even more that my former friends cared nothing of my opinion or of my pain. Looking up at the winter moon, I had a sense that tonight would change my life forever. Without a plan or thought behind it, I began to walk up the hill towards the forest of elms that towered over the church. On my walk, I cursed everything and everybody I had ever known. Family, friends, and religion took the large part of my ranting to myself. Whether this rant was within the realms of sanity or insanity, I couldn’t be sure. The snow slowed my approach, acting as a final defense against the dark actions I was planning on taking. Toiling along, finally, I reached the elms. It was intimidating to stand before this deep, mysterious place which I had never stepped a foot into before. The fear only helped my adrenaline pump through me, and I stepped in and breathed in a fresh breath of air. Clean, feeling-free, non-judgmental air.
Loosening the tie that was a noose on my throat, I could finally relax and reflect. The black blanket draped over me, comforting my cold feelings. Sure, I was lost but I didn’t mind, for it was a level of serenity I had not known previous to tonight. This deep, peaceful silence overwhelmed me into wishing I could mirror its presence. Slouching against a friendly elm, my eyes could not adjust to this joyous dark. These elms acted as sentries, making sure no light penetrated this moment or my thoughts. Searching to my left, the forest was even darker, and it seemed inviting and yet it appeared to shun me away. My dark beneath the elm was comforting and quiet. That dark was loud and angry. Swiveling clockwise, there was a rustle in the underbrush of stabbing briars. However, I did not fear, for anything here tonight was lost in this dark as I was in my thoughts. Craning my neck around a birch that had been cut through the heart, I could see low, ominous snow clouds ready to unleash even more white rain upon myself and my best friends, the elms. If I was lucky, these storms would ruin the night of my human counterparts, as they had ruined mine. And, of course, directly to my back was the noise. Loud, obnoxious people wasting time and life at an even louder and more obnoxious celebration. Thankfully, my elm protected me from all of that at the moment. For the first time today, I was happy. The abysmal black whispered to me, whispered words of understanding and of care. Surprisingly, even though it was the dead of December, the bitter wind and icy snow did not give my soul the slightest of chills. My feelings of bitterness and anger, however, were as cold as a steel blade. I can still remember tasting the rage as I shouted at them, and felt the betrayal still seeping from my pores. Now, I was exhausted from my earlier episode of emotion. The beautiful black though, I did not want to miss a second of it. Then again, it was so dark I wouldn’t even know if I was awake or asleep.

Shaking me from my ongoing slumber was the hallowed cry of a mourning dove; it had never sounded more beautiful. Glancing again around my surroundings, I quickly noticed that the deep dark to my left had vanished, replaced by cheery rays of warmth, and with trails of the nocturnal creatures. Ahead, whatever had made the rustle had also disappeared at some point. Without too much effort, I could see the welcoming blue skies of a new day to my right, and all around me. Pulling myself up from my bed in the snow, I saw the glint of the steeple below, and could hear the distant rumble of cars arriving for the church service that morning. Then it dawned on me like the sun dawned on the dreary night. The elm, my friend, had helped me make it through the night, as if he was a Sheppard and I his lamb. Following its trunk skyward, I noticed the canopy spread thickly over where I had slept, protecting me from the evil, tempting dark. I pulled out the knife that was stashed in my breast pocket, put there for a much more cynical use than its present task. On the church side of the trunk, I simply inscribed “Forgiven”. On the side of my resting place, “Thanks, friend”, then I threw the knife deep into the valley below. I knelt at the elm’s base and prayed, something that was long overdue. Then, standing up, I followed the footsteps of a past me, and left the forest of elms. I had a church service to, finally, attend.





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A-Little-Spark This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 14, 2009 at 7:28 pm
I really like the idea behind this piece, however, I feel like it would make a better short story than short essay. More details would definitely do it good, considering its time-span.
Also, you may want to check some of your words (mostly adjectives and verbs) because some don't exactly fit where you tried to put them. On that note of word-choice, you use a TON of linking verbs where you could be using transitives/intransitives to richen your sentence structure (although depending ... (more »)
 
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