I wake up in the middle of nowhere. I feel the first gasp of air reach my lungs. My eyes are wide open and I gather my senses. My gaze reaches up the sky. I see a portion of it. The rest are covered with the grand pose of tall majestic old trees. It could be around 10 in the morning. The sun does not reach me at all, yet its not dark. I feel the thick heavy heap of autumn-colored leaves cushioning my back. I make an assessment of my current situation. Am I hurt? Am I even alive?
I struggle to sit myself. I make a slow progress of it. My body seems badly beaten. I touch my face. My body is covered in sweat. Where have I been? What have I done? Am I even still myself? Now that I’m seated, I bend my body to take a quick glance of my surrounding. Its an awfully quiet place. I’m in the middle of the forest. Why? How did I get here?
I look down and see myself wearing a slick pair of dark blue jeans. I’m wearing a brown ladies’ leather jacket. My hair is curly. I look at my hands and they were white. I wish I had a mirror. I touch my face. Its cold and sweaty. Sweat was pouring from my head like I’ve been rained down.. and yet the whole place is dry. In fact, it was even windy. How ever did I get here?
Watching too many movies, I know I’m better off quiet.. and so I keep it that way. I try to stand. No broken bones, it seems. Therefore, I did not fall. My legs weren’t even tired. Even if I did run a far stretch, I could’ve felt the numbness it could’ve given me. I feel fine.. in fact, it seems I’m great.
Nobody’s around. No house, no bridge, no river. Just the woods and its defeaning silence. What have I got to do? I keep panic away from that list. I just try to enjoy the surroundings. No bird chirps, no animal noises.. just the hustling of leaves from the wind. I’m not in a hurry. I don’t even know where I’m going. I just walk. It doesn’t bother me that it will get dark soon, or that I will get hungry eventually, or get tired and get sleepy.
I reach a fork. The easier path was to go down. But it seems its darker than when I go up. Who knows what’s in this woods anyway. I’d rather be safe. Or am I sure I’m making the right choices? Where are my guides right now? Isn’t it better for me to hear them in such a quiet environment? Why are they suddenly mute and watching me take a quick turn without even bothering to tell me what to do?
Its a painstaking effort to lift myself up that mini hill, but I do manage to climb it anyway. I reach its top and find a river. The river seems to be flowing in a reverse manner.. or at least that was how I saw it. I was scared of that river. As I was admiring its uniqueness, I see a man on the other side smiling at me. He invites me to cross the river and come with him. I meticulously look at him with careful decision. Why would I even cross that river. I tell him, I could admire him from afar. He doesn’t make me any promise of being saved. He doesn’t even give me a hope that I may eventually be successful in crossing the river. He was unbelievably honest, tempting and vague.
What is this river anyway? I quickly turn away while I still can. Suddenly, I see so many obstacles on my path. There were beartraps. There were lots of wooden spike traps, landmines that were half exposed on the ground. Why hadn’t I seen them earlier? Are they just now pigments of my imagination? I raise my gaze and I see people speaking to me all at once. It seems too noisy. Now, there is no more peace. I’d rather swim that great divide and get my peace of mind. But what if I get swept away? Who would save me? I definitely would not count on him to save me. Its not part of his promise. Its not part of the story.. at all.
The river sweeps down to a slope. Is there a waterfall at the end of this rush? I’m not sure. I muster my courage. I know I need to move. Just keep moving. Just keep swimming. I knew if the water is deeper, I would have to paddle harder. If it was shallow, I could take it easy and try to just walk. Halfway through, the man vanishes. I keep moving. My fate would not change if I stop in the middle. I would only allow myself to be eaten alive by this feeling of helplessness. I need to get through to the other side somehow. I swim, I walk, I swim. It must have been days and nights in the river. It seems I would not get far.
One day though, I reach the other side. I find that it was the same woods I have been walking through before. It was beautiful but its traps were concealed. A normal person would not survive. But this other side was not deceitful as the other side was. I could walk around the traps and gracefully hop through each impediment. Suddenly, I find two tunnels directly intersecting at one point. Don’t get all excited. Both have exactly the same nature. Both had well lit destinations, dark insides. In fact, they both seem to lead to the same path. But what is the catch? I see they must be there for a reason.
There were two guys at the end of the tunnel. I had to shake my head harder than I would if I get hit by an invisible glass. The men at the end of the tunnel looked the same, except that they were in different distance from the end of the tunnel. One was nearer, the other was a lot farther. Both were smiling and extending their hand to me. Is there any other way? I wouldn’t say it was destiny.. its karma. It will happen.. eventually. Should I take it now or later?
I’m scared. If you were alone and you were given two choices of the same consequence, how would you feel? I find my way around it. Momentarily, solitude would give me peace, then these choices would pass me by again. I’m going in circles! I figure, there is no escaping this. I would have to be brave and step out of this circle, this comfort zone I have been in my whole life. I know I’m sobbing tears of fear. This man comes forward and reaches for me while smiling. Is he the devil? Because I can’t seem to say no. Am I being manipulated? I know I’m not because I can still think.. and for the longest time, I have only listened to myself. I know I also want this.
The tunnel floor seems to be dirty. There were mosses and twigs and leaves that seem to have dried out due to lack of sunshine nor rain. I had the feeling that I would stumble or trip through this pile of obstacles. Yet this man, as he held his hand out for me to take, he was walking head on like he knew every step he’s going to take. And he was, all along, expecting me to be brave and take a huge leap to keep up with his confidence, faith and bravery. It feels almost like I’m a child to him. He’s tall and has a charming smile that I can’t seem to resist. He scares me, yet I seem to admire him more. His praises keep me entertained while in the tunnel.
I’m eager to run outside and enjoy the daytime experience. I wanted to let go and hurry up to the other side. Why? I’m scared as hell. His beautiful and charming ways seem to scare me. I would rather see “Beast” and treat me the same way, yet have no fear. Yes, it seems that is a question. I keep talking. It seems I’m running out of things to say because I cannot understand why I am even here. He doesn’t say a word. It makes me even more scared. Doesn’t it even bother him?
What happens next? Should I just keep chasing pavements even if seems to lead nowhere? I want to keep going.. that’s the only way I could get somewhere.