I did. The warm liquid slid down my throat. Slowly, at first, and then quickly my mind filled with images of life pre-pandemic. I felt a overpowering desire, a desperate longing to return there and alter my behavior then, my words of unkindness, my neglect and my ignoring the so many people I knew then that were now dead.
As I placed my empty cup on its saucer I took a long slow breath hoping to dampen the intense strength of emotion nearly overpowering me. But physically tingling currents warmed me. Not a comfortable warmth, but a sensation of quiet demand as if I was suddenly required to take a specific action albeit utterly unknown.
I hadn’t realized my self-awareness pulled me tightly within my head and struggled to refocus on my companion. She sat with an elegance of supreme cognizance. Almost like she carried the wisdom of a woman a thousand years old. Someone who knew life and its nuanced layers, sliced into years, months, days of experience, joys pains and all between, more than I could ever imagine.
What are you doing out here alone?I thought, wondered if she might be offended if I queried her. I lifted my right hand, and then lowered it to the cool tabletop.
“You must rest,” she said as she pushed back and stood. “I will show you to the guest quarters.” She smiled at some inner thought. “Not much but safe and after we will eat before I take you to see something you may desire more than the seeming loneliness you’ve chosen.”
“There’s an option?” I asked and stood too. “I’ve turned my back on everyone I might’ve helped. The only choice I have now is to escape to a place where I can try to live out my life with less grief and regret.”
“Rest now.” She pointed her delicate tapered fingers at a narrow staircase. It twisted up and to the left with no handrail. The wood was old and hand-hewn like the rest of the cabin.
Without hesitation, I obeyed, exhaustion’s weight rested heavily on me. Once at the top I was in a tiny but large enough bedroom with a thick inviting mattress on the floor layered with sheets and blankets and several soft pillows. It was alongside a window not much wider or taller than my shoulders. I sat on the edge, pulled off my boots and socks, yanked down my jeans, and before I knew what happened, was asleep on my back.
I dreamed, but the sunlight, lacing across me and the bed, and room dancing behind trees wavering under the pressure of a light breeze erased them. I thought I could hear the trees movement, feel the rays of light living things caressing my thoughts.