I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to leave you alone in the woods. I know how afraid you are of the dark unknown, of the close knit trees, and the sounds of wild animals- but I thought if you were with me it wouldn’t matter. I thought you knew I would keep you safe. I shouldn’t have expected you to know that when you didn’t even know me.
There were no worries when you could see the entrance point. You knew you could turn back to safety at any point you chose. But as we progressed, the terrain became more arduous. You felt so cramped and overwhelmed, that it was only natural for you to let go of my hand to try and get your bearings.
But in my fear of losing you amongst the trees I gripped wildly for your hand in the night. My sweaty palms snatched at anything I could find to know you were still there beside me. I begged for you to let me know you hadn’t gone, to tell me where you were. I didn’t want you lost and alone, and I wasn’t sure I could handle the trails myself. Incessantly, I questioned if you had stepped further from me.
The distance between us only grew as you tried to escape my pleas for recognition. I was fearful of where you had gone, when you had just been there with me. Then, I realized I could no longer see you. You had turned back from the path and had closed off your ears to the whining of the birds and me. So difficult to decipher between their fearful chirping, and my needy crying. It was easier for you to ignore everything, than it was to navigate and answer my calls for assurance.
You would follow the path back home, where you knew it was safe, guarded by walls that could prevent any danger that the woods’ open vulnerabilities could not.
You would leave me behind so that I couldn’t leave you first, as you were sure I was to do. I had demanded so much that you couldn’t provide. How could you grip a sweaty hand? I would grow tired, and leave you alone, stranded in the unfamiliar and with no one to guide you. Terrified. You had never wanted to be here in the first place.
I had forgotten how consuming the woods could be when you were alone. How it felt like the trees were inching toward you to swallow you whole and the birds would peck and tear you to pieces. How would I find my way out? No one could hear me and no one would come for me. They never did. If a woman falls in the woods, and no one is around to hear her cries, does she really make a sound? I grew sick with this lonesome feeling as I found that I had once again been left alone.
I tore back down the path. I couldn’t handle the weight of being left to a failed journey of my own choosing. The walls of my home could protect me from these feelings of desertion. I pushed past you as I ran, and never allowed myself to look back. I couldn’t handle the idea of seeing the confirmation on your face. The disgust and hate I was sure had permeated through you.
I ran until there wasn’t any air left in my body. I collapsed by the trail side in a heap letting the tears overcome me and the whooping gasps rack my body into pieces. Despite my best efforts, I was still lost. I had gotten my paths crossed at some point. I would let the woods take me and there would be nothing left to find.
As I tried to gather myself, I thought of how strange I must had looked to you. To bring you to this place only to whine and run away you when you didn’t answer. I wondered if you had really turned back at all, or if I had let woods get to me first. I couldn’t turn back to ask, even without the shame I felt, I didn’t know where I had left you.
We had created our own self fulfilling prophecies. So scared of being lost, we ran away from each other and made it so. I wondered what I had done wrong. Should I have worn different attire, spoken different words or with a different tone, not spoken at all, or just wiped my hands against my thighs to try and ease the sweat? When the long walk had started so well, there must have been something I did to make you let go.
Should I have simply not tried to wander with you? I don’t think that’s the case. I think we would’ve made excellent explorers, adventuring through the woods and sharing beautiful moments. We were both afraid, but whereas I clung to you for safety, you ran so as to avoid the danger. Now, it doesn’t really seem to matter- and it’s quite possible it never did. I could be sitting here making apologies to empty skies, having imagined your presence beside me at all.
Maybe I should have ran too.
About the Creator
I like to put pieces of myself into my writing. Sometimes it's a finger, sometimes a toe, but it's always something that gets stuck to the roof of your mouth and leaves a lingering feel in your gut.