June 16, 2008
By Mackenzie McDermott, Wall, NJ

As she looked out at the open space and the sky, one tear rolled down her face. She sat not with anyone, but just alone. Alone atop a mountain. Not a problem in the world. She sat with her camera and her notebook. All the girl saw was the pink horizon fading into the lake before her. She put her head down and smiled. The girl couldn’t believe she was finally here. She was in Montana. It has always been her dream to go there.

She took out her camera and started to take pictures. It was so beautiful and pure there. Like nothing in the world could ever touch it. And she didn’t want it to be touched. It was perfect the way it was. The girl was just there, not worried about the time or the next place she had to go. For once in her life she was totally relaxed. She’s a lawyer and has never had a slow moment in her life. Mostly because she grew up in New York. But the girl never liked it and always wanted to get out. She never did until now. She sat there for about three hours, just sitting and writing in her journal. It was getting dark so she stood up, took one more look, and then walked down the trail of the mountain.
“Hi miss, what room key do you need?”
“I think it’s room 23.”
“Okay, here’s your key, have a wonderful stay.”
“Thank you.”
She walked to her room. The girl didn’t come with anyone. She had a fight with her boyfriend and she hasn’t talked to her dad in two years. She was an only child and her mother died when she was only 14.

Dear Diary,
It’s my first day in Montana and I love it. The rolling landscape and the perfect sunset. Also the people are amazingly nice. But I didn’t come here to meet new people; I came here to find myself. I hope I do, it seems like the perfect place to. I’ve been having a hard time with the feeling that I don’t even know who I am and I feel like a robot, like I’m on autopilot. Hopefully Montana will let me clear my head.

She stepped outside of her cabin. The cold morning air hit her without warning. She’s never felt cold like this, but she didn’t mind it. It was refreshing. She breathed in and started walking. She didn’t know where she was going. She had no map, no one with her, and was in a place that she hadn’t yet figured out. Once again, the girl was alone with her camera and notebook. As she walked she thought. She thought about everything, she thought about nothing. But the one thing she didn’t was where she was going.

The girl walked on the land and was exploring places and taking pictures. There were many forests and beautiful mountain ranges. There was no real civilization out there so she had no way of talking to people. But that didn’t bother her. After about five hours of walking she thought it was a good idea to go back, but then something caught her eye. It was a small, beautiful yellow and black dotted bird. Its throat, chest, and belly were yellow and it had a black “V” across its chest. She didn’t know why it entranced her so much. It landed on a low tree a couple feet away from her. She walked over to the bird to get a closer look. As she approached it the bird got scared and flew more into the opening of the woods. This time as she walked slowly over, the bird was calmer. The girl approached it sitting on a thin branch. She was just watching it as it twisted and turned its head in all directions. She held up her camera that has been on her side all day and crouched down to take a shot of the bird with the open sky in the background.

Right after the picture took the bird flew into the forest. The girl couldn’t see it anymore but could hear it. It was the most memorable sound she had ever heard. As it sang she started to walk into the woods hoping to see more of that little bird. Maybe even a family she thought. The girl kept walking and walking hoping to find the bird but as the time went on the singing got more and more quiet. She was far into the woods now and it was getting late. She turned to start walking back and was shocked. When she turned there was no path, just trees crossing into each other. From all her wondering and searching she must have turned off of the trail. Now she was alone in a forest. It was cold and dark. The girl started to panic. She twisted and turned her head in every direction like someone was about to attack her any second. She was scared and wished she was back at her cabin with the fire going. The girl was nervous and didn’t know what to do. She couldn’t find her way back in the dark but she couldn’t just sit there. She knew from watching Discovery Channel that in the cold you should find a warm spot to sleep for the night. So that’s exactly what she did. She laid down next to where a tree and a bush met. But she couldn’t fall asleep. She didn’t want anything to attack her while she slept. As she laid there she got to think. She realized that she hadn’t cried in about a year. She had plenty to cry about but was too stubborn to let it affect her. Well this was a perfect time to let it out. And that’s what she did. The girl cried about her mother, her boyfriend, and the fact that she was lost. Letting her emotions out let her relax and feel more content, like she was with someone. She was still terrified but as she laid there she slowly drifted off to sleep.
She was awakened and the sun light made her eyes sting and got her very confused. After a little time to refocus and realize where she was, she heard something. The girl didn’t know what it was. It was still dead cold and she was alone.
“Oh my god was it that?” The girl whispered to herself. She still lay there perfectly still. It was coming for her. She could hear it coming through the forest. She closed her eyes. It was near.
“Well hello there. Are you okay?” said a voice.
“What?” the girl said leaning up.
“Sorry if I scared you but my job requires me to get up early. That’s why I’m in here; I needed to find my run away cattle. I live a couple of miles from here and one of them just decided to leave.” The man said with a smile.
She didn’t know what to say. She just started at the cowboy and his horse like she was frozen in time.
The man chimed in again. “Why are you out here? Do you need help or are you just lookin’ for an adventure?” When he realized the woman wasn’t answering he said, “Well I’m Jim, nice to meet you.” He turned his horse around and started to ride back through the twists and turns of the trees.
“No wait!” the girl shouted. “I need your help. I got lost I’m supposing a couple of hours ago. I was following a bird and must have gone off the trail. Can you please show me how to get out of here?”
“Oh why of course I can. What kind of bird was it?”
As Jim and the girl found there way out of the woods, she told him her story of getting lost. He thought it was funny but he could tell she was still scared. But after a while she loosened up and started laughing about it and making fun of herself.
“You’ve had a rough night. Do you want to have some breakfast at my place?”
“Oh thank you that would be wonderful.” The girl said happily with a smile.
The journey back wasn’t as long as she expected. I guess because she and Jim just kept talking.
“People say there ain’t much out here but that’s why I love it so much. Who wants all the busy stuff you have to worry about like in New York. It just isn’t healthy.
“Well I live in New York.”
“You don’t say? Well I apologize if I offended you, I didn’t mean anything by it.”
“Oh no, you didn’t offend me. You’re absolutely right. That’s the reason why I’m out here. You see my life is good, I mean I can’t complain. But there are a lot of things that are bothering me. I just needed a place to get away.”
“You picked the perfect place, in my opinion! Here we are. Home sweet home.”
“Oh wow it’s gorgeous.”
“Why thank you. It ain’t much but it’s what I call home. You can just go on inside while I put ol’ Frankie back in his stable.”
As she walked in Jim’s house she couldn’t stop smiling. ‘He’s so nice’ she thought. She felt like she could trust him and just have a friend. A true friend. Not like the backstabbing, bratty ones she has back in New York. ‘They’re all fake there’ she thought to herself as she opened the door.
“Wow this place is amazing”
“Thank you misses.”
“Oh I didn’t know you were standing there.”
“Do you want some food?”
“Yes please. Thank you.”
Jim walked into the kitchen and she kept looking around his diminutive, charming house. There were many things all around. Like old looking keys and watches. He had many painting of wildlife. You could tell the house was old, but that’s why she liked it so much.
“Here you go. There are eggs and some cow meat. It’s probably not the usual breakfast you have but it’s good.”
“It smells delicious. Thank you Jim.”
They ate mostly in silence except the occasional talk of Jim’s job. But then something inside of her snapped. She actually started crying. It was unusual enough that she was crying, but in front of someone was astonishing. Everything that had been bothering her came out. Everything in her life that she was unhappy with poured out of her mouth without her stopping or thinking. And Jim just sat there and listened. He didn’t say a word until she finally calmed down.

“I’m so sorry, that was rude of me. It’s just I- just broke down. I don’t know what to do lately and I’m not happy.” She said wiping her face with a napkin.

“Don’t apologize, you did nothing wrong.” Jim took her hand and smiled.

He continued. “How long are you stayin’ for?”

“I was going to stay just a week. Why?”

“How about you stay longer and I’ll really show ya what Montana can really give to ya?”

“Well I suppose I can call my work but I’m not sure.” As she said this she saw Jim frown.

“No I am staying. I don’t care what they say even if I get fired I’m staying here.”

“Okay great! Well we’ll start tomorrow if you want.”

“That sounds great, thank you so much Jim you helped a lot without really saying much. I think things will get better, I just have to change my attitude and look ahead.”
“No problem Miss – um well it seems that I don’t even know your name.” Jim turned to her and looked at her with a very strange and confused look.
“Wow I guess you’re right. I never even thought about it.” She was hesitant and had a look on her face like she either didn’t know it or didn’t want to say.
“Well um my name – my name is Diana White.”
“That’s a great name, but why did you have a hard time sayin’ it?”
“Well I don’t really know. I guess because as soon as I got off the plane, here I was nobody. I had no strings attached and no one knew me so it was easy to slip by and not have to say and explain who I was. I actually never did say my name once until right now.”
She sat there with a look on her face that made someone walking by want to be in her life. She was smiling but her eyes were confused and hurt. The woman sat there while Jim put the plates in the sink. Then she started laughing. Not just giggling, I mean full on cracking up. And she just kept going and going. Finally, Jim walked back in to see what she was laughing about, and to tell you the truth it was nothing. She had gone crazy.
“Are you okay?”
“Oh yes, yes I really am.”
“Okay well whatcha laughin’ at?”
“I just realized how stupid I am. I’m unhappy right? But all the things that are making me unhappy I can either fix or get rid of. For example, my boyfriend, I can break up with him and kick him out. That would make me feel so much better! And I can just call my dad right? It’s not that difficult to do. I mean I whine and feel sad and like I don’t know myself, but if I do these little things I can eventually be okay. I can know and find myself. Getting lost and meeting you is the best thing that could have ever happened to me. Thank you so much. I’ll see you tomorrow bye.”
And just like that she walked out of the door.

“Oh wait!” Jim ran out of the door.

“Do you even know the way back?”

“Haha I guess not.”

“Do you want me to show you back?”

“Yes of course thank you Jim.”

“No problem Diana.”

Dear Diary,
It’s been two months since I’ve gotten back from my trip to Montana. My life has been getting better and I think I’m actually okay. I kicked Robert out and I’m having dinner with my father tomorrow night. We have a new mail girl on my floor and she’s a little lost, but I think I can help her and I want to be friends with her. She’s different from the other people I work with. She reminds me of my mother. Oh one more thing, Jim is doing great and he’s coming here for New Years. I can’t wait to see him!

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