...When the Bough Breaks...
The arms of the trees rubbed together in the cold December wind. The sound was like screaming puppies until the great crack split the morning open. Looking up at the sky, faces were every where. In the clouds and in the creases of the hills eyes and noses and mouths stared out over the gray blue frost. The hiker was aware of his solitude. He kept going through the morning mist as he kept hearing the sounds of the trees shifting all around him.
Squirrels scurried through unused paths. More branches snapped in the distance and the hiker was thinking about yesterday and his plans to be more than another could be. For what? For the sake of Ego, of course. Look at me. Look what I can do. Isn't that why he was here now? No - this place was not for the caressing of the Ego. This place was for its capture.
As he trucked through the hills and trails parts of him began to awaken that he was ashamed of. He couldn't let people know who he really was or he would be disrespected. He wouldn't be seen as a man and certainly uncapable of being a leader for that matter. He had to be a certain way or else nothing would stay the same. As he walked on he began to see a shadow of himself cast alongside him. It began to try to pull away and live on its own. He stopped and the shadow stopped alongside him.
He started up a hill where the sun would cast the shadow in front of him. He watched it grow long and sharp before him. Snapping branches cracked all around him. Words began to fall like snowflakes in his mind. The words that weighed most heavily on his mind began to seep through and out of his pores. He began to read them in the puffs of breath he could see coming from his lips. I AM THE ONE.
The Frozen Layers
He stood on the top of the hill and looked out over the vast forest. He began to remember his childhood and his neglect. He had grown up promising himself that he would never let anyone hurt him the way his mother did. She had left him alone and hungry for so many things. Why? Why did she bother to keep him there? She pretended to be so great, such a good provider and nurturer but as soon as they were alone...he was forgotten.
He became so cold so early. He would leave the house in the night and walk into the Labyrinth of Trees hoping to meet with an untimely end. It wouldn't come because he wanted it so much, too much. He never met anyone else and he always returned before dawn. His mother would scream at him when the teachers called and said that he was again asleep at his desk. Eventually she stopped screaming. Eventually she even stopped talking to him.
He was happier that way. It was better to be forgotten than to be abused. His heart became a frozen chunk of isolation in his chest. He wanted to disappear inside himself until he met Her.
She came to him in a dream of fall colors. Her head was surrounded in a halo of flowers on the altar of a church. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, even if he was only seeing her face.
She spoke to him through the dreams. She wanted to be his mother and she wanted him to leave his own mother and begin to thaw out that bitter void that called itself his life.
He began to walk in the city, searching for the church in his dream. He wanted to see if he could find Her and imagined walking into the right one and seeing Her upon the altar, surrounded in flowers of maroon, gold and rust. He found peace amidst his cold feelings of detachment.
The Cradle Will Fall
It was a warm day in July when his mother died. She had been in and out of the hospital and he rarely went to see her. He was repulsed by her agony and disease. His compassion was greatly misplaced as he watched her spit green cursed phlegm into a cup. He looked at the other occupants in the room, wincing as she struggled to cough up more.
She told him that it was good that she was dieing. She was never much good to him anyway, she admitted as the coughing commenced. He had nothing to say to her as his heart remained bound in thorns of memories.
He stood up and kissed her forehead before he left the room for the last time. Fat tears ran down her cheeks, too little...too late.
The funeral was held in a church that he had been in only once before. The smooth cherry colored wood made it much smaller than it looked on the outside. Finely polished pews shone under golden lights.
They rolled the coffin down the burgundy tiled aisle as the morning sun lit up the stained glass windows. Shafts of maroon, gold and rust danced like flowers in the wind and then he understood. Her had found Her.
Her face rose up against the yards of red velvet and ivory tiles. There, behind the altar, was Her face, surrounded in the Flowers of Fall...
Her features were so familiar, so soft and loving they caused tears to pour down cheeks. He heard nothing that the priest said, he saw no one else that he knew so well than this Lady. She smiled at him and he realized that his mother had showed him herself before she had been so completely devastated with the illness that ultimately claimed her sanity.
She whispered words he could not hear and then vividly remembered when the light went out on her. He understood then, and forgave her. She vanished then, finally at peace.