It was crazy, those first few days. I’d ramble on and on and on. Breaking the silence whenever I could so I wouldn’t have to hear the crackling noises I made with each step. Like a gunshot in my ear.
I look around until I notice him. Tall and dark against the trees. Black arms and black gnarly fingers. Curly tousled hair. Dyed green. It’s what I like about him. He dyed his hair green.
Hey. Noah. Come here for a minute. I gotta tell you something. Yes. I know. Fine. Don’t listen. It’s not like I asked you to anyway. Okay fine. Keep walking. See if I care. Hey! Wait. I didn’t mean it!
He was gone. And in his place was a really big tree.
Guess that’s what happens when you’re the only person to talk to. In the middle of this crazy forest. How the heck did I manage to get into this mess?
I step in something, feeling my foot sink in squishiness. Ewewewewewew! I pick up my foot carefully. Sure enough my most favorite pink high-top is covered in brown gook.
I’m scrambling. Hands wildly yanking at anything in my way. Snapping at branches. CRACK. Crack. Crrrrraaaackkk. Cckkkk. crrAAACK!
I scrape my high-top furiously against a thick, gnarly root tree. With each scrape, a fresh bucket-load of wooden chips fly everywhere. I sigh and grumble as I wipe my palms on my ultra skinny pencil skirt. My pink cowboy hat that Star had given me, hang from the strands around my neck, bopping behind my back like a drummer beating to a step. BAdum. BAdum. babababadum. BAdap. BAdap. babababadum. My long-sleeved white tee is now black. Obviously. Brown and green streaks coated my arms in soft swirling lines. If I’d seen myself. I would’ve run away screaming. In the opposite direction.
I look up at the sky through the thick ceiling of leaves. I only have a little bit of time left before the moon comes up. I continue pushing my way through, the dark foliage grabbing and twisting its scratchy arms around my legs, causing me to fall flat on my face. It giggled and sighed with pleasure every time it caught me.
“Why you little…!!” I splutter, gagging on the dirty green leaves as I lay on the forest floor. “Well. If that’s how you wanna play it, then.”
I stomp up. Fury is etched on my green-streaked face.
Walking in the thickness of the trees, listening to the crunch of my high-tops echoing through the stillness, is no place for a bout of delusion. People tend to go insane when traveling by themselves for days on end. Getting water from the springs or rivers that happen to flow through the thick roots once in awhile. Wearing the same shirt in the frigid cold and the sweltering heat. Living like one of those nomads, but without the basic necessities for living.
I stopped and stood.
Staring at the craziness around me.
It’s true, you know. I’m terrified. Scared to heck and back. I don’t know what to do. How am I supposed to survive on my own? What experience do I have in taking care of myself?
None. Zilch. Nada.
Usually everyone takes care of ME. Sally Dolores Finkelstein. Star, Daddy, Hanna the housekeeper, they’re so much better at it then I am. And me. I’ve never lifted a finger in my life and now I’m in this sorry mess. They’re probably laughing their heads off right now – sitting on their deer-skin couch, sipping a mixed drink. Oooo. I could really use one right now. UGGGG. Why’d they do this to me?!
And then I wake up. My pink Juicy Couture pajama top – the one with the rhinestone white terrier on the front – is soaking wet with fear, the material sticking to my hot skin. I peel it off and lay there, my arms outstretched on the bed, letting the cool air wash over me.
Holy. That was some dream.
~ Sarala Weissman