Trees for the Taste of Destiny
When I walk in a haze, it’s almost always green.
I remember once it was orange, but I haven’t given much thought to it since.
Right foot, pause. Inhale deeply so it hurts. Relief, it’s still winter. The cold air rushed into my lungs with a sensation that felt like there was actually no air left in the world for me to breathe. I could have believed it. Left foot, pause again. I hear people speaking, but none of what they’re saying is audible. The vibrato that carries across the clearing indicates that I am in the company of a group of men.
I feel their gaze almost as strongly as I can feel the sun’s warmth on the back of my head until I disappear into the brush. The skeleton arms that protect me from view still droop with the phantom weight of their deceased canopies. Canopies that are now the squishy ground beneath my over-sized hiking boots. This is the same spot I stand in every day. I know because before I squat by these rocks, I trip over that tree root and always remind myself how uncomfortable a broken wrist would be.
Nothings hurts today besides my eyes. And my stomach, now that I think about it, but the pain always fades if I can distract myself. On most days, I walk around aimlessly, making fake grocery lists for things I’ll never purchase at a store I have no desire going to. Today, my haze moves close the ground in ripples and I start singing September.
My gaze focuses on the ground as if trying to memorize it, when really I’m just tracing the trail to my favorite bench. 1, 2…sit. A pain from my abdomen sends a shudder through my body that almost makes me kneel over. I’m okay. Inhale again. Harder this time. To feel pain is to be alive, I remind myself out loud. Sometime in the last year, the stern icy sound that I thought would always be my scrotum shrinking excuse for a voice has transformed into something that sounds like a woman who knows pain too well, but also knows beauty equally. A sound that could melt a heart with a cautionary tale. I don’t know where this woman came from, but she can’t leave. My evergreen haze grows and pulses with every staccato enunciation my mystery woman executes within the purr of her silk melody. Her words sound like the lyrics to my soul. She wishes for unconditional love and meaningful relationships for me. For her, she prays that she’s is able to recognize the good things that come into her life. I hold my breath in anticipation for her next sonnet and realize she needs me to breathe for her. Exhale this time.
I gave her life and she gave me hope.
My haze melts away in the sun, and in the corner of my eye, I see a tinge of green.