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I look around me at the tall trees as we continue to climb up, up, up. Climbing until we can be as tall as the trees and touch the clouds in the sky, the sun just peeks a look at us through the trees that lay behind, weaving it’s way around them just to touch us and warming our backs comfortably, just letting us know it’s there. The leaves above us rustle and shake as the wind rides along their spines. Jumping from one to the next, knocking a few off their branch on its way. I snap my head to the side seeing something move in my peripherals, but it was only two squirrels playing with each other and seeing which one could get from each tree to the next the fastest.
As my feet just brush the ground, I accidentally kick a few rocks, scaring the animals away and leaving my imprint on the earth. Just like many before me, they have worn down the path, walking the same trail but always seeing something different. Nothing is ever the same. The wind carries the leaves here and there. The animals dig and stomp their own paths, their own ways. The trees sway and shake, communicating with each other in hushed whisper only they can hear. These woods are never the same, not twice.
“Hurry up, slow poke!” I look up at her then. She’s ahead of me, only looking over her slender shoulder at me. As our eyes meet a smile spreads over her gorgeous face creating little invisible dimples in her cheeks, your only way of knowing they’re there is the shadow the sun casts on them. The sun actually shines on her brightly making her body seem to glow with a gold tone highlighting her already tan skin. You can see where the sun has kissed her cheeks before leaving behind hundreds of freckles fanned across her body. It also hits her just right where the shadows emphasize her regal features like her high cheek bones or the way her nose tips up slightly, perfectly.
She stands one foot elevated in front of her as she’s ready for her next step but waits for me. This trail was certainly steep in some parts. At some points we’ve had to use our hands to help keep us from falling. As I catch up her beaming figure, I could feel the happiness radiating from her. This is her place, she loves the forest and woods. Just as I’m caught up she turns back around continuing her climb.
I watch how she climbs seeing how her feet find just the right places to step to keep her steady; she doesn’t even have to look. Her eyes have been captured from the view around her as they slowly scan and take in the scenery around us. I see the way her eyes shine when she’s in a place like this. They sparkle with something I’ve only ever seen when she’s in a place like this- the woods. This is all so natural for her. This is her home.
The wilderness seems to feel it too, brushing her hair around her, calling to her. The trees bend towards her, wanting her delicate fingers to brush up against their scratchy skins. The animals don’t shy away from her either like they would with others, they watch her from afar. Observing her with a calmness I’ve never seen.
Sweat has broken from my brow long ago and now drips down my back cooling my heated skin, but as I look to her I see her shine brightly, radiantly, not a sign of strain in sight. I watch her take a deep breath in, taking and giving from nature. The woods around us breath with her, feeling her every cell as she does with it.
I’ve only seen her shine like this here, no where else- not in our apartment in the city. She says she loves it, and I believe she does, but I think she belongs here. You can see it deep in her eyes, the hollowness. You’d only ever be able to notice it if you really knew her. She may love the little apartment in the city, but her true love and home is in the wilderness. She knows it too, but choose to follow me and my path into the city.
As I look back to her, I see she’s far ahead of me, climbing faster then I could keep up with. I try calling out to her. Telling her to slow down. That I’m not there, but it was no use, she was too far away. The woods stretch us apart then, pulling her farther into it while it pushes me out. I run for her, reach out for her, as panic starts filling into the base of my stomach and quickly over flows out the top. My foot gets caught on something and I fall forward bracing myself for the impact except I don’t hit the ground. I keep falling.
My body jerks awake sitting me upright, panting for breath. My clothes are drenched through with sweat and the mattress is damp with it. It all comes back fast, hitting me like a car, quick and unexpected. The pain deep in my chest starts to spread throughout me as I remember what my reality is.
That dream, or nightmare, is what I want. I wanted her to follow me into the city, so we could be together. I wanted her to look back at me smiling as she waits for me to catch up. She’s not though. I squeeze my eyes closed remembering what weekend it is. We had planned a camping trip this weekend to celebrate our umpteenth anniversary. The pain grows again, grows almost as big as it was that night, so many nights ago. My heart pumps painfully hard, mourning for what could have been. What we’ve lost. She’s gone.
She left, following her heart to her true home. I tried saying I would go with her, but she stopped me, saying I need to follow my heart and dreams like she is. It’s been weeks, months since it happened and I’ve been doing pretty good until now, and this was supposed to be our weekend.
She said she was doing it for me, said this was for the best.
At first I was furious. How could she know what’s best for me? She was what’s best for me, or at least that’s what I thought at the time. Now, I see she was right and I couldn’t be more thankful to her. Our relationship may not have lasted, but holy cow it’s not one I’m ever going to forget.
She has taught me so much. She has opened my eyes to the world around me. Because of her, I see everything with a different light. A new way of thinking and it’s all for the better. She’ll always be in my heart and I’m sure I’ll always be in hers. We’ve left an imprint on each other that’s indescribable.
We’ve both changed.
We both changed in the relationship.
Now we are shaped into individuals who are undeniably bright and brilliant. Sometimes I see her in the world around me. It’s mostly in nature that I can see her, feel her, and feel the way she connected with it. So more even then with me. I can see the way she looked at the world with wonder and possibly. She has altered my view. Now I look at the world in a similar way.
She’s off chasing her dreams and I’m off chasing mine.