April 28, 2009
By Natalie L. Fuerst BRONZE, Mt. Prospect, Illinois
Natalie L. Fuerst BRONZE, Mt. Prospect, Illinois
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He stepped out onto the back porch of his cabin, peering through the trees towards the lake. A select few rays of sunshine penetrated the canopy of leaves and struck the forest floor. He inhaled the moist aroma of wet leaves, moss, and dirt, mixed with the cedar of his cabin and the pine trees that engulfed him. He listened. The sound of nothing caused a tiny smile to creep across his face. He had been waiting for this for quite some time.

Thomas ventured from his porch, deciding a leisurely swim in the crisp lake would relax his tense muscles. He slowly peeled off his tee shirt and shorts and smiled as he felt the hot sunshine penetrate his skin and a warm breeze caress him. He looked to the sky with outstretched arms. Wading into the lake, he sighed as the cool water rushed across the surface of his warm skin, the contrast exciting every nerve in his body. How many laps should he do? Thomas debated with himself over which stroke to begin with. Just as quickly as his thoughts began, he silenced then. He had not come here to work, exercise, or do anything in particular; he came to unwind. So, attempting to clear his mind of everything that littered it with doubt, stress, and negativity, he floated aimlessly for some time. It doesn’t really matter how long. He had no reason to keep track of the fleeting time.

Thomas wished to explore this new, foreign land. He lingered in the lake for a moment longer, and finally stood up and sauntered onto the land. He dripped dry, and slipped back into this clothing. Now what? He didn’t know which way to go first. In every direction there were hundreds of vertical columns, adorned with a web of branches and twigs and green leaves. He meandered to the east, marveling at the wonders of nature. How had he missed this? The world had been right here all his life, and he had never stopped running for long enough to notice the magnificent planet he thought he ran.

“The world will not stop turning if I stop running,” he realized. After a couple of relaxing hours, Thomas could no longer tell the difference between his own voice, aloud, and the voice inside his head. His words and his thoughts were becoming one. Suddenly, Thomas found himself upon a rather large clearing. Would he have even noticed that he was strolling through a field full of daisies, or would he have stomped across, regarding them as merely weeds? This trip had been a good idea, its simplicity making him realize the complexity of the world he lives in.

Peering out over the vast open land, he took it all in. Today was perfect, he realized. The sun was bright and shining, casting a warm glowing effect on everything it touched. He looked up and saw a Crayola blue sky, adorned with white puffs of cumulus clouds. He heard a few birds chirping in the distance, the rippling of the nearby lake, and the weeds and wildflowers whistling as they waved in the wind. A sudden motion caught his eye, snapping him out of his sensory overload.

In the east corner of the clearing, he saw a figure. She was skipping across the field, scooping up daisies along the way. Her golden ringlets seemed as if they were lingering a stride behind her, as the breeze and her forward motion kept them bouncing along behind her. Thomas stared at her, wondering where she had come from. He had been staying in these woods for a few days and when he went exploring, he hadn’t noticed any other shelter other than his own cabin. Who was this girl? He noticed her white eyelet dress, blowing about in the wind. Just then, she noticed him watching her from across the clearing and came to an abrupt stop. Her dress ceased motion, as did her hair. She began to walk towards Thomas. He was frozen in his tracks. He didn’t even know this girl. Was she upset that he was staring at her? He had no idea what to expect. He took a few steps towards her, and then several more. They met in the middle of the field. Standing only a foot or so away from each other, he could hear her breathe. She said nothing. This was awkward. He knew he should say something. What should he say? He should apologize for being creepy.

“Hello.” It came out half aloud, half whispered—less manly than he would have liked.

The girl said nothing. Their eyes were locked. A teasing smile crept across her face. She held his gaze a moment longer than what would have been customary and comfortable, and then she skipped off, plucking white daisies. She found a miniature and tucked the green stem behind her ear, weaving it between her locks effortlessly.

She looks like part of a fairy tale, Thomas thought to himself, entranced by her ethereal beauty. He followed her thought the meadow, chasing after the golden spirals and brown suede boots that were behind her.

The next day, at around the same time, Thomas guessed, he returned to the clearing, looking for her. He peered out around a tree and scanned the open field. Sure enough, there she was, in the east corner of the clearing. He started towards her. She looked up and saw him, then looked down and continued weaving wildflowers into a crown. He knew she saw him. Why didn’t she do anything? Was she purposely ignoring him? He was right in front of her now. She looked up at him, squinted her eyes ever so slightly, and smirked flirtatiously. Then she returned to her braiding. Thomas sat down next to her, and the flowers rippled from the movement.

Every day Thomas returned to the clearing. Every day, she was there, in the same corner of the same clearing. In the beginning, he would just sit or walk with her, not saying a word. It really was a unique relationship they had. Although they never had spoken to each other, Thomas felt like he knew her, and knew she felt the same way. It seemed like they had been best friends for quite a long time, but they had just met not even a week before. Their connection was impossible to ignore.

The author's comments:
The title is not capitalized as a symbol of the simplicity portrayed in the piece.

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