I don’t remember driving or getting out of my car. I’m running down the narrow tree-lined trail as if speed or distance could remove his words. They stick to my body and crawl across my skin. I pump my arms and push harder. My sandaled feet slapping against the trail send up little puffs of dirt, smoke signals to nobody. He wishes I’d leave for good. Maybe I will.
My toe catches on a twisted root and I tumble forward, landing on my side. My head smacks a rock with a painful thud. I suck in air for a few breaths until it finally reaches my lungs and burns. Lightning bolts of pain flash in my temples and down my left side. Shuddering, I blink repeatedly to return focus to my eyes.
The sudden sound of music alerts me to the fact I’m not alone and I sit straight up. It’s a wooden flute playing a soft earthy melody, calling and calling. I stand and leave the trail. Pulled and lulled I move as if half-asleep, or half-drugged, toward the gentle notes.
The trees and the music collide to hide the creatures I can now sense close by me. The veil pulled thin as if half-wanting to reveal to me what I know with certainty lies hidden in the murky darkness. I hear them as rustling leaves and cracking twigs. They play peek-a-boo in the dimness, breathing and watching me as I pass.
A fracture of light bursts through a tree branch and blinds me temporarily; the glint off the horn of a unicorn perhaps or the gleam of gold held tight in the fist of a greedy leprechaun. I squint as I feel my way forward with outstretched hands and pointed toes. Cool darkness surrounds me, wetting my clothes and my head…or is it blood?
The creatures continue to swirl at the edges of my vision, not allowing me to see their full shapes or forms. Fairies with backpacks of magical delights dance through the shadows moving with the music, taunting and teasing with giggles I can almost hear. Darker, deeper creatures of warts and madness peek out from beneath rotten logs threatening to pull me toward them, into the cool, moist ground.
I jump as hundreds of birds burst from the trees around me, erupting into a swirling, pulsing black mass of cawing and tweeting. They fill the yellow fireball sky of sunset—a dark cloud of mass exodus. Raising my arms out I wish to sprout wings and follow them into the near night, but the sound of the flute stops me. The pitch and tempo have shifted, matching the frenzy of the birds, drawing me back toward the invisible pied piper hidden deeper and deeper into the woods.
I’m drawn forward by a tugging within my body that I can’t explain, a burning cavernous flame in my core. A part of my mind feels the absurdity of it and wonders if I’m laying on the forest floor bleeding out. I think about the fight with my husband, the horrible things we said to each other and didn’t mean. Our past, our history, and our life together feel twisted and entangled. If I could unravel it, what would be left of me?
Mischief and enchantment lie covert and waiting as I step into a clearing of tall weeds and see a magnificent green willow tree before me. The source of the music hides behind its sweeping branches which move as if dancing to the sounds. Nausea punches through me and I stop as the familiar scene plays out in front of me. I’ve been here before. The air stills and I can sense him watching me with all-seeing eyes of practiced seduction.
He crawls forward through the long, dark branches, emerging first as a great bronze shoulder and a deep green eye. Swaying in place for a moment, the half-lit creature of my dreams made flesh again, I shudder. My body knows him and heat rushes through me, bringing painful longing below my belly button, a primal and ancient ache I feel in my breasts and lips.
The music slows as collar bone, second shoulder, second eye, and golden hair come into view with a seductive ooze; liquid and solid, warmth and ice. He unfolds his body and stretches cat-like to a standing position, his hands and lips continuing to play the wooden instrument, the sound slowing and slowing until it’s deep and breathy like him.
I step toward his warmth, and he lifts his chin in welcoming remembrance. The memory of hands and lips on flesh burns and burns until I’m shuddering and aware my breath now comes in tiny gasps. With snooping and pitying eyes he stares into me and I know the time for choice has arrived.
He is time itself, the choice of life continued or life restarted. The reset of all things. The wheel of life spins before me, spun by him, but the final decision remains mine. It’s been this way before and it will be this way again. I feel the truth of it course like passion, like lust, and I sway with the music to the tension of decision.
The web of choices pour from his flute singing of the doors I’ve opened and closed, connections forged or severed, moments linked by a series of yeses and noes. My husband’s blue eyes swim before me too, the link of our combined paths entwined from years of sharing decisions and bodies, for better or for worse. The tug of the past and the pull of fresh starts war within me with cannon blasts and fire.
Running my hands down my heavy body I feel the effects of eating sadness for every meal and I want to tear the extra flesh from the bones. I twist uncomfortably and see his eyes following my hands, feasting on my self-hatred and tasting my unhappiness. He swells larger and the strength of his gravitational pull increases.
Time slinks toward me with a smirk of satisfaction around his pursed lips. He feels the moment coming, the giving up of this flesh and returning to him. He circles me now as the breathy notes fall around me slower and slower, winding toward me and the moment of finality I know will come in an intake of breath. He smells of fresh starts, like a thousand showers, the deepest part of the ocean, and fresh-turned soil.
Inevitability weakens me, but at the last moment, I turn from him and run. My head explodes as I crash through the trees.
I’m not ready yet.
Author’s note: I’ve written many versions of this story, including my latest manuscript during NaNoWriMo last November. The storyline of wanting a mythical and romantic character to sweep in and take away all my troubles returns to me again and again. When the going gets tough, I dream of being rescued. My Prince Charming, however, always comes with a dash of fear, magic, and some makeup.
It should, therefore, come as no surprise my favorite film of all time is “Labyrinth.” I often like to envision David Bowie/Jareth coming to rescue me and giving me all the things I say I want. Of course, like Sarah, I’d probably refuse his offer and fight my way through the Goblin City and back toward the family I love.
I hope you enjoyed this take on the rescue story, with the “he” being the seductive personification of time. I’d really love to know what you think in the comments below, and thank you for reading.
Stumbling from my bedroom in a half-asleep daze I made my morning rounds.
“Good morning,” I say to my daughter. Her room, which was clean when she went to bed last night, is covered in doll clothes. One doll is dressed fancy and sipping tea, while another has pajamas on and is propped up receiving medicine.
“Good morning,” she responds without looking up. “Eva’s sick. I’m doing all I can for her.”
“OK. Headed into the shower,” I mumble back.
“Good morning,” I say to my son. All I can see of him is the back of his head peeking up slightly under the covers. He is on his tummy reading. I see him raise his finger up in the air for me to wait, a gesture I recognize well.
“Just needed to finish that paragraph,” he says a moment later without looking up at all.
“Just saying good morning,” I say. “Headed to the shower.”
“Good morning,” he says and promptly begins reading again.
As I stood in the shower, I started belting out the Talking Heads song, “Once in a Lifetime.”
“Letting the days go by
Let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by
Water flowing underground”
Some days I honestly have no idea how I got where I am. I can retrace the steps and go over the facts, but the reality of my life is strange to me.
* I have been married for almost 15 years and our dating anniversary of 20 years is this summer.
* My children are not babies.
* Depression has been my cloak and shield and I’m having trouble letting it go.
* My parents are getting older.
* I still feel like a teenager who doesn’t understand the world and how I fit in it.
* Today marks the one year anniversary of my blog.
All of these truths have different feelings attached that are mixed-up and hard to separate or express thoroughly.
I was challenged this week to come up with a 30 item Bucket list. Should be an easy thing to do, but I found it painful and nearly impossible. Why?
I have stopped dreaming.
It is scary to admit that I want things because then I have to work hard to make them happen.
“She put it out there. Would people read? Would they care? Would they even notice?
It involved a bravery that she didn’t know if she had. She took a deep breath and just went for it.”
I remember being so scared to write anything. Worried people would find me self-centered, stupid or just boring. As scary as it was, I have been grateful daily that I did it.
My blog is still so tiny compared with the size of others. A baby really. But it’s my baby. I birthed it and I’ve been feeding it and nurturing it for an entire year. Amazing things have happened because of it.
* I have had an outlet for working out some major issues that otherwise might have stayed dormant and hidden.
* People have reached out to me and shared their truths. I’ve inspired a few people to start following their dreams, which I find unbelievably amazing.
* I was published on Mamalode and might even get a little check from that.
* I’ve been featured on Cap City Moms and I’m looking forward to helping that website continue to grow and be a positive place for woman to tell their stories. Plus, I’m crazy for the founder of the website. Seriously, Jill is all kinds of awesome.
* Just got an e-mail inviting me to write for a non-profit organization that promotes empowering women to follow their dreams.
So, things are happening and I’m excited/terrified/nervous/thrilled/proud and many other things. I’m a mixed up jumble of nerves and it’s not a bad place to be.
Nothing good happens from staying stuck.
So, I’m saying Happy BlogBirthDay to myself in a matter that seems fitting.
Now, it’s about to get real sappy (come on…it’s my BlogBirthDay, so I get to do what I want!)
For everyone that has read Bridgette Tales, even once, thank you a million times over.
You have no idea how much it means to me when you read, comment or share my blog. It is confirmation that I am doing something worthwhile and that people are touched, entertained, inspired or moved in some way. It has helped me in ways I can’t even begin to express.