Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Breaking Free

Clarissa's feet made no sound as she trod on dead leaves and other forest debris. The further into the woods she walked, the quieter the world became, familiar sounds falling away, until the only sound she could hear was the breath leaving her lungs.  Before Clarissa had stepped out of the sunlight and into the dim glow of the trees, she had wanted to forget the mess she had made of her life, before the drugs, before the men, before all the pain.

So she walked.

An old woman with a crack pipe had told Clarissa that she could find what she sought if she passed through the mists of the forest.  It had sounded like a good idea at the time. But she was no longer sure what she was looking for, and the further into the mist she passed, the more vague her memory became. Somewhere after that first hour, the memory of what she had been seemed to slide away, like the drops of moisture covering the trees.

Still she walked.

Her shoes had worn out some time ago, and her bare feet were aching.  Her clothes were shredded by stray branches, but Clarissa kept to the path.  Emptiness enveloped her, the trees mere shadows observing her through the mist. Clarissa had no sense of direction. She had no idea which way she was heading. 

Still she walked.

She'd know what she was seeking when she saw it, Clarissa was sure.  Or maybe there would be some sort of sign to let her know that she had arrived, that her journey was complete, that her quest was finished. She did not know.

But she kept walking.

And then, a faint gleam cut through the fog surrounding her. A spark of sunlight filtering through the branches led the way, and Clarissa staggered the last few steps out of the woods.  Now she crawled, her body worn away, and finally lay on her back.  Her eyes stared at the blue of the sky.

She was home.





***
“Why is summer mist romantic and autumn mist just sad?”

― Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle
Image courtesy of Unsplash.
Image courtesy of Unsplash.

16 comments:

  1. whew. That was powerful. The way you staggered the stanza, "she walked", felt like footsteps. Well done.

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  2. I agree with Morgan, this is really powerful and the desperation to lose her pain really shines through. I love it. LM x

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  3. Love this piece, although I'm too tired right now to articulate why. That image though... so beautiful.

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  4. Love the repetition of walk. Such a beautiful journey.

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  5. I agree with Morgan about the stanza "she walked." It did feel like footsteps. I had an odd interpretation of this story. It seemed to be in the end she died and found the place of peace, but that was just an impression:~)

    I enjoyed reading this story and how you led her through the woods, This was a line that resonated with me and was written very well: "Somewhere after that first hour, the memory of what she had been seemed to slide away, like the drops of moisture covering the trees." I like this line:~)

    Thanks for sharing this story.

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    1. Thank you for commenting--I really appreciate it!

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  6. Oh how sad and yet kind of freeing in the end of that walk for Clarissa!Well written-very intense!

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  7. The repetition of "she walked" is very poetic. I also loved the first paragraph; it reminded me of hiking in the mountains and how I would pay attention to that moment when the sounds of the cars driving by would just disappear and I felt enveloped in the wilderness.

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    1. I pay attention to that moment as well. It makes walking in the woods a more profound experience, I think. Thank you for reading!

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  8. "her body worn away"

    That was my favorite part, a respite for her after the repetition of her searching, walking feet.

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