Anatomy of a Choice

When I open my eyes I know he’s gone. Not because I turn my head to look, but because all I wanted was for him to stay. The blue above me stretches the length and width of my peripheral vision. Not a bird, plane, nor cloud in sight. I am utterly alone. I came out here for peace and quite. I came here for simplicity, but not isolation. I came, because I knew he would be here with me. I never wanted to be this alone.

Our hopes and dreams do not develop in the vacuum of ourselves. Our environment influences them. If our desires were only determined by ourselves, no one would be able to impact our lives. So yes, what I want has changed. It changes constantly.

I sit up, because there is nothing left to do laying on my back and I need to do something. I should take time and reflect on my situation, but I feel agitated. I am torn between opposites. I want solitude, but not isolation. I want to be warm, but also to feel a cold breeze on my face. I want to hear music, but I crave perfect silence. I want to run, but all my lungs can take are short shallow breaths.

It’s funny how total freedom can be the most constraining thing it the world. We aren’t used to that. We aren’t trained to live and make choices with that kind of freedom. We are used to the freedom of choosing left or right, up or down, this or that. Which really isn’t freedom, it’s just options. The freedom to go anywhere, do anything, be with anyone, is terrifying and not such a blessing as you might think. Well, I guess that’s where perspective comes in. Some people relish that kind of freedom. Others would be crippled by it. I am intimated, but I do love a good challenge.

I guess the best place to start is with a direction. I am here, but I do not want to be here anymore. Do I take a step North, South, East or West? Or North West, North East, South West or South East? I could step North North West or West North West… you get the picture.

I close my eyes, stretch out my arms like they are my wings and turn on the spot. I turn slowly at first, but the light between the trees keeps me aware of my general location so I turn faster and faster until my fingers are fat with blood and I feel like I might throw up.

I stop, but the world keeps going. My knees break and with both hands on the ground I look up and try to bring the tall brown and green blur in front of me, back into focus. It could have been a minute or twenty, but when my nausea subsides I stand up and walk straight forward.

Walking was never good enough for me and it is especially insufficient given the distance I am craving, so I run. No, I sprint. Through the trees and the forest debris, I feel elated by the wind on my face and a bit cavalier from having made a single seemingly insignificant choice. My legs are letting me down, because I want them to circle in a blur of speed like in the cartoons. I’m starved for speed.

The landscape begins to decent gradually. I thank God for the absence of any cliffs and continue to sprint, relishing my risk. Somewhere between a hundred and a thousand feet of decent my lungs begin to burn and I realize the time for my next choice is approaching. How far should I go? With no shortage of daylight and the freedom of knowing I have left nothing behind, I keep running.

I have no idea where I am going, I have no idea when I will stop and where I will be when I do. The point isn’t to know. The point is this; I am moving and it was my choice to move. I could have stayed on that hill. I could have ran after him and pleaded to be let back into my cage. I have spent so much of my life following paths and advice, that I haven’t given myself the opportunity to make a real choice, from the ground up. The line between what I want and what I do has always been anything but direct, until now. I crave speed and distance and that burn in my muscles and I wont stop until I am satisfied. All I have are my legs and the air in my lungs and for now that is plenty.

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