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Fabrication of Memories

By , Eugene, OR

Cold. The air was cold. That soft brisk autumn kind of cold. The kind that reminds you it’s fall and winter is shortly to follow. The sun still in the sky providing the slightest bit of warmth. The tip of my nose and cheeks a light shade of rose from the air nipping at my skin. Slowly stepping through through the path, feeling the slight crunch of leaves beneath my feet, the hues of orange, red, and yellow mimicking lava around me, almost as if it was reflecting the sunset lit sky above me. Everything so still, so calm and so beautiful, I almost forgot that I was lost. Ironic how I’m stuck here with no idea of where I am and I continue to become lost in the beauty of this place.
This feeling. It’s almost familiar in a way. The shape of the trees and the way the wind sounds as it makes its way through the branches.The breeze so subtle, luring me into this direction. Off in the distance a rope swing is swaying, an image plays in my head; The euphoric memory of a child, dancing around the swing, making a running start as she playfully lunges herself foward. Her stomach hitting the wooden seat as she spreads her arms out like she’s flying through the sky. As I get closer the image slowly fades, the swing that had hung from the tree was no longer there. Somehow I’ve caught myself deeper in these woods.
A light fog covers the area as I approach a small creek in the woods, the same little girl from before coming into vision, dressed in a pale yellow raincoat with matching galoshes on her feet. The sound of her laughter echoing in the open space as she skips around, a small net swinging in her delicate hands. Walking slowly, approaching her as she plays. The girl looks at me and smiles as she jumps into the stream, vanishing in the splash that her boots had made; the splash slowly turning into a soft ripples in the surface of the water. I stumble, trying my best to get to her before she disappeared but I was too late. Why? Why does she seem so familiar, her laughter carries such a nostalgic essence. I just want to get closer to her. Why can’t I? It’s as if she’s luring me into these woods. I clench my head in frustration, dragging my fingers across my scalp as I grasp my hair between my fingers. I can’t shake the feeling that I know her, that she has some relation to me.
How is it that I’ve managed to become more lost than I was an hour ago. The sun is now dimly lit in the sky behind the trees, and I’m losing hope of finding my way out before it’s completely dark.
The exhaustion starting to overwhelm my body, the warmth from the sun slowly fading away as the vision of my breath becomes visible and my body begins to shiver. Daylight is withering away, and I still haven’t left this miserable place. I continue to stumble over things and my face is so cold I can’t even tell if I’m crying or not. My shoe catches onto something on the ground, the sudden occurrence messes up my footing, causing me to trip. I effortlessly fall to the ground. Laying there lifelessly, I turn over onto my side, staring off into the distance. The girl coming into vision, her small silhouette dancing in the light of the moon; it’s almost taunting in a way, the way she seems so free and careless. All I can do is lay here, no motivation of getting up or moving. I think I understand now. This little girl, she’s nothing more than old memories in my mind. These woods, this forest, I was never lost. I know these woods just as well as I know my name. So… So why? Why the sudden recollection? Why now when I finally have no energy left, no effort to give, no motivation to move?
Lifeless. The only word I can use to describe how I’m feeling at this moment. A blinding white light drowning my eyes in a sea of fluorescent sheets. Squinting my eyes in attempt to balance the intake of light peering through, I try to make out my surroundings. Everything in this room is frustratingly white, it smells like sanitation fluid and an odd scent of old people. Lifting my arm slowly, barely able to lift its weight. They have me strapped up to an IV. My mother asleep in the chair beside the hospital bed, I give her a shake to wake her up. Nothing from there makes any sense.
I explained to my mother what happened. The response she gave me… I still don’t understand it. I don’t understand how none of it was real. She had told me that I’ve never been to those woods. That, it was our family’s first time there… She said that I had wandered off during the hike and was gone for hours, eventually they found me unconscious on the ground by the car, the doctors claimed that I had passed out from exhaustion. Everything that I thought had happened was all in my head.






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