She stared intensely at the textured bark before her. The towering trees seemed to engulf her frail body in their vastness. They surrounded her from every angle, making her feel even more insignificant.
It was the late afternoon and the evening’s dismal shadow was looming in the distance, waiting for the sun to take it’s final bow.
No one even knew she had left the house this morning. They were too preoccupied with arguing over whether they should invest in a new oven or a dining room table. She slipped out the back door mechanically, without even thinking twice.
She walked for miles, her shoes becoming intimate with the sidewalks of the neighborhood she called home, but never really felt like home.
She stopped to reflect at her old elementary school. She sat on a weathered bench and gazed upon the dusty, worn track and the overgrown football field. She recalled how invigorated she felt when she used to run through its fragrant grass during after-school soccer practices. At that age, everything felt like a possibility; the world seemed like a wondrous place.
She had hoped that stopping here might change her mind, that perhaps her inner child would awaken to both console and guide her. She waited impatiently for hot, comforting tears to roll down her cheeks, but they never came.
She decided that since her former high school was less than a mile away, that she’d stop by there as well. She noted that her high school looked exactly as it always had. It’s familiar brick walls filled her with immense sadness and the sharp pains of regret. Perhaps, she thought, if she had acted differently, or tried harder, she wouldn’t be where she is today. She shuddered while remembering their cold, blank stares, their whispering and the chuckles that she always knew were at her expense.
Finally, one tiny bead of water fell from the corner of her eyelid and rolled nonchalantly down her face, until it fell into her lap. The sadness only lasted a few minutes and she relished in it, until it was sharply replaced with the heavy weight of emptiness that she had grown so accustomed to.
Now here she was, in the exact place, during the exact time she had been meticulously planning for as long as she could remember.
To be continued….
(This story was written in memory of a young woman I once knew. With this short story, I am attempting to put myself in her shoes as I seek to understand her perspective as well as her emotions)