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With Purpose

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The cold was the only thing that kept me going. The frost nipped at me, herding me down the narrowing path like a dog herds sheep. As I walk trees begin to line the path, I knew where this path led, I knew that if I kept going it would be nearly impossible to escape with my life, but I kept moving. My exposed hands, ears, and face were all being brutally assaulted by the freezing winds that swirled the dead leaves around me. I could feel myself loosing feeling in my nose. My ears begged for surrender as the frost nipped and bit into them with no sign of stopping while my legs were harassed by the cold wind that seeped into my jeans, skin and bone. In an attempt to keep feeling in my hands and fingers I shoved them deep into my sweatshirt pockets. It was then that the first snow flake fell; it was soon followed by another and another, before I knew it an inch had accumulated on the ground beneath me. The snow would do me good, if I were to sit perfectly still I would be covered within the next two hours. It hadn’t taken long for my chest to also succumb to the cold; it went numb beneath my thin sweater. The cotton did little to trap my body heat, but that was okay, in fact it was all part of my plan.
As I walked a dead leaf danced on the wind, at first it circled me but then it landed on my shoulder, half tucked under my hood. I reluctantly removed my hand from deep in my pocket to unattached the leaf from me but I quickly regretted it as the cold frosty air bit down hard on my bare hand. In one swift move I detached the leaf and re-submerged my hand in my pocket. I smushed my hand tightly against my abdomen hoping that the little body heat I still had would warm my frozen extremity but my efforts were futile. My legs began to feel like cinderblocks. They took a great effort to move. The ground was now covered in at least five inches of snow, the flakes were plump and coming down fast. I was all too aware that if I stayed out here much longer I would run a high risk of hypothermia. This thought did little however, to change my mind. I was also well aware that if I continued down this path I could turn left at the next fork and be able to make it home in an hour where my mom and a warm fire would be waiting. But instead I passed that path and continued on the main one not even giving it a second thought.
Trudging on I kept my head held high thinking that these moments would hopefully be my last. I took in my surroundings; the only sounds that could be heard were the rustling of tree branches, the howling of the wind, and the crunch of the dead leaves and newly fallen snow under foot. I tried to shut my brain down, to stop my over active mind from replaying the crash but it was almost as impossible as staying warm in this negative ten degree weather. The snow that landed on my head melted and seeped into my hair. The freezing water stole vital heat away from my body, robbing me of the only thing that kept me alive. My ears were now throbbing with pain. My hands too were feeling the effects of frost bite as the arctic wind poked at them with what felt like long sharp needles. But I had important plans to attend to, I could not get side tracked because I was almost there now. I was heading straight for my boulder where I did my best thinking. You could only get to it through narrow secret paths. As I went to take a step my foot was caught by a hidden rock that was now buried by ten inches of snow. I struggled to find solid footing. After tripping a few more times I had arrived. I approached the rock and removed my hand from my pocket to use my hand and forearm to scrape off a section of the white blanket that coved my boulder. I climbed upon my rock and tucked my stiff legs underneath me. Slowly I curled myself into a small ball. The bitter cold air blew a large gust of icy wind my way, as I braced myself and repositioned my body away from the wind I went completely numb. I could no longer feel the throbbing in my ears or the prick in my hands. This is what I had come for. I had come for this feeling, the feeling of absolutely nothing. I wanted to be numb to the loss of my dad in the car crash. I wanted to be numb to the loss of my sister the day after in the hospital. I wanted to be numb to the fact that I was the only one who survived the crash and numb to the fact that my mom secretly hated me for killing her family. If I hadn’t distracted my dad while he was driving, if I hadn’t asked him to change the radio station at that very second he would have noticed that he had swerved right into the path of a huge semi-truck.
The tears flowed fast and heavy from my eyes for a split second they warmed my face but after the rolled off, my cheeks burned from the wet paths they left behind. I cried silently to myself as the last few minutes of my father and sister’s lives played over and over in my head. I shut my eyes and bent over my curled up legs, folding myself into a neat ball. I slowed my breathing and thought of my mom, she would have called 911 by now. I had been gone for five hours. I didn’t have much time left. I let my breathing slow to shallow gulps, and I squeezed my eyes closed. As I breathed my last breaths I opened my eyes to see my dad and my sister standing before me. In utter shock and disbelief I shot up from the rock I had so willingly let hold me in my last moments of life. I rushed toward my dead family who welcomed me with open arms. When I reached them, however, their smiles faded and they shook their heads at me. I knew what they were thinking, they hated the fact that I wanted to leave mom. Still, they walked over to a shimmering light and motioned me to follow them, but when I refused to move they smiled again. My dad came over to me and kissed my forehead while my sister wrapped me tight in a bear hug. The next thing I knew, another arm wrapped around me. I could hear the words, “hush hush, everything will be okay now,” in my ear as screaming went on around me. My mom called for the rescue squad, letting them know that she found me. A few moments later I was in a man’s arms being carried out of the woods. For those few seconds that I was near death I realized that it was time to move on because I was chosen to live for a reason and it was about time I started searching for it instead of hiding from it.




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