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The Simple Things
It was the simple things that mattered.
The temperature was freezing, a layer of ice extending across the fog blanketed lake. Peaks across the valley poked above the sunken clouds, reaching towards the clouded heavens. Rain fell in a mist, soaking the landscape.
I reached toward the lake, dipping my face within its clear waters, as though to wash away my tears, my pain, my life. The grass reached up and hugged me with its dew enveloped strands. I kneeled before the lakes lapping shores, bent in pray. The forest was silent, as though grieving with me. The trees behind me disappeared in the fog, dripping softly into the damp soil below, into the thick underbrush growing up around the trunks. The sweet scent of honeydew and pine filled the air.
My throat was clogged, making it hard to breathe, as I face the lake, my eyes closed tightly. My shirt stuck tightly to my body. My soaked, thin white shirt. I knelt, my hands clasped tightly, pale and thin. I slowly forced my eyes open, peering into my reflection in the lake. Brown hair, green eyes, cut skin, thin lips. Puffy eyes and tear streaked cheeks. Yes, it was me, but I knew in my heart that it couldn’t be so.
Water dripped slowly off my nose, running down from my soaked hair, now clinging desperately to my face, framing my cheeks. The cold did not touch me. My brain could register nothing but the pain within me.
My eyes seemed to stare right through the lake, as though peering strait into the centre of the earth. I gently poked the surface of the lake, watching as the ripples expanded from my finger, making my face wave and shimmer in the reflection.
I tore my eyes from the lake, looking into the fog, watching the craggy peaks as they rose majestically from the depths of the fog swathed landscape. They surrounded the lake, blockading the shores from trespassers. I craned my neck to look at them, squinting against the mist, trying to see the top. But I could never, the tip reaching into the clouds above.
I laid my head back to the ground, my forehead pressed into my arms, my hands still clasped tightly. The scent of softened, drenched dirt filled my senses, the fresh scent of dew plastered grass falling behind. My nose pressed into the dirt, the moisture seeping around its imprint and threatening to enter my system. But I couldn’t care less.
I had no idea where I was, where I came from, who I was, what had happened. The last memory I had was of a face. A simple face. A sweet smile and curly hair that framed a face of pale skin. Skin that had never seen the sun.
Warmth. A gentle, soft hand pressed lightly against my face.
Laughter. A sweet, smooth voice that had loved to sing, provide the world with love and beauty and song.
Who it was had escaped my mind. What mattered now was the pain that welled up within my chest, the tears that streaked my rain stained face. Who I was, I will never know again. The person in the lake was not me anymore; that was a person of the past. I am starting anew, my slate brushed clean by the lakes lapping waves.
I saw that face one last time. Lights flashing, sirens wailing, a delicate body was lifted away beyond the hospital doors. I rushed in after it, tears streaming from my eyes, my actions subconscious.
I burst through the doors, running into the room. There was the body, moaning slowly, face twisted in pain, hooked up to threads and threads. Those eyes, they opened as the door shut slowly, the room empty except for us two. Those eyes, prodding my soul, knowing me through. Those eyes, filled with knowledge and truth.
I walked up to the side of the bed, our hands greeting each other and grasping tightly.
A soft voice, echoing from the corners of my mind.
“I love you. Know that always.”
The head fell back, hair pressed into the face. Face, pale and lifeless, cold. Eyes shut carefully, mouth closed. Hand slipped from mine, limp and cold, their warmth now lost. Pale face, no shine, no warmth, no life.
The steady beeping of the machine fell silent.
The room was silent, dark and cold, shadows dancing across the wall.
I watched the limp body, the beautiful one who knew me, who knew the truth, who loved me for me.
For hours it seemed, I watched the soul of the one I loved slowly seep from the body, taking flight off to heaven, away from my grasp.
The doctor burst in, slowly walking up to me as he analyzed the scene. He patted me slowly on the shoulder, but I would not move, I would not react. Instead I watched the body, as though waiting for it to come back, to me, to the world, waiting for the warmth and the twinkling eyes to come back. I could not tear my eyes from the body.
The doctor held tightly to my shoulder for the next few minutes before taking me out, pulling me from the room. I was silent, paralysed.
I tore from the hospital, running and running, trying to escape. I ended up here, my grief throwing my memory out.
Pain seized my chest, twisting my heart and making me fall to the ground, ill. I stared up to the sky, praying for a lifetime of sorrow to not overcome me. A cough escaped my mouth, choking in my pain, a stone lodged forever in my throat.
I looked up to the peaks that prodded the sky. Slowly I stood, carefully scaling the perimeter of the lake. I walked past the dripping grass and the dew licked bushes, the fog covered lake and the dripping trees. The strands of weeds licked my legs, tasting me. Steady drops pattered on my head from the forestry above. The lake slowly lapped at the shore, attempting to grab at my ankles. It called for me to walk within its depths, but I refused, determined.
I walked up to those peaks, putting hand to stone, and slowly climbed up. Rock scraped my hands, scratching my soaked arms. Moisture slid slowly down my face and dripped slowly down my body. My feet slid on the ice filled crags, stones breaking beneath my step. I stumbled, grasping closely to the stone wall before me, trying desperately to find a foothold. I pulled myself slowly up the cliff face.
Eventually, I stood upon the peak, above the clouds and the fog, face dripping with sweat and rain. I stood on top of the world, above all of the troubles and pain, above everyone else who didn’t matter. I looked up to the thinning blue sky, then down to the fog covered lake below.
If there was no returning, then I would follow.
I took in a deep breath, making my decision final. At nightfall, I watched the stars for one last time. The crescent moon slowly scraped the horizon, slowly rising in the sky, before sinking back below the horizon. The sun rose with a brilliant burst of orange and pink.
It was not the same.
“The simple things,” I muttered to myself, tears rolling down my cheeks.
I looked back down at the lake, still covered in fog, my decision final.
I picked my foot up, and let it hover over the edge. I took in one last final breath, inhaling deeply. With my exhale, I took the step. Down I fell, flying for just a moment, the wind whipping around me and whispering into my ear. The earth came at me fast, the world falling. I closed my eyes. I had no regrets.
I hit the icy cold water with a splash.
The cold still did not bother me.