She saw a place that was so vivid and full of life. Beauty like no other and comfort for her to roam free. The sweet scent of freedom filled her nostrils. She could be herself here. She did not need to pretend, in fact, she could not pretend. Her walls came down as her eyes widened in wonder. Everything seemed so real, so alive and so connected to her. This was a place like no other, and she was glad she made the trip.
The colors of this land were bright, and deep as the waters of the Pacific Ocean, she remembered growing near. She was far from that ocean though and only trees surrounded her. Trees and her friends, with whom she made the journey. Her man held her hand as she stared in awe at the length and breadth of these giant trees. The bright green leaves, the deep brown trunk with grains developed over centuries. She could see these centuries that went by in the trees here, as she saw their roots digging deep into the ground.
She traced the roots, which held the large trees and their swaying branches in place, against the wind and rain. The roots dug deep, she traced them reaching forward, digging deep with her fingers. He tried to hold her back, restrain her from digging so deep into the earth. She let go of his hand. “Hold on babe, you’ll get hurt or at least really dirty. Step back, I’ll get you what you want” he offered. She did not want Jay to help her. Aly was always independent. She always found her way independently and liked to do things with her own hands. She felt the girth of these roots, their strength and determination in holding the trees erect. She grabbed onto the muddy roots of the trees as they embraced her. She thought of her own roots, from which she had parted long ago. She had left the California shore, and her own family had not been able to hold her back. She wondered if these trees were different, if their roots would hold them in place against the wind and rain that was now howling through the forest.
The wind and rain hit her face. Sharp pricks and wetness felt good. Refreshing, and awakening. She felt it flow down her back, tickling her insides. The wind in her hair made her acutely aware of the flights she had taken. She flew with the wind, to so many places before she got here. She finally arriving at this magical land where everything felt more real, more alive and intimate. Her friends came closer to her. They looked comical, but also concerned. “Duh! I know y'all are worried but really I’ll be alright here, all of us will be. Just look at how beautiful these trees are. We can certainly stay here forever. There is beauty and food and rain and wind and everything we need in the forest. “
John spoke first, slowly, “Aly, there is no forest. Just a bunch of trees. And this cannot feed us, our jobs can though. You’ll just get sick if you stay here too long. It is beautiful, but not good.” Aly laughed, and looked at Layla. Her best friend had always been there for her, from her childhood, through her journeys. Layla smiled warmly as ever, comforting her with her reassuring words, “Don’t listen to these guys. You’ll be fine honey. You won't get sick." With that, she placed her arm around Aly’s shoulder. “We’ll be back in some time. You can come back when you like but we gotta get back to the stinking day jobs and fast food and and the bills and drills of our lives right. It sucks, but oh well, at least we can enjoy this trip while it lasts.“
“Damn that sweet girl.” Aly muttered under her breath. Layla always had a smooth way of bringing her back to reality. She would get her comfortable, then help her come to terms with reality. This vacation would not last. She had spent for what seemed like eternity now in this land. It seemed like a part of her life, like she belonged here, away from the bustle of the dense city. This was not a weekend escape, it could really be her home. She could feel it. Not, Layla and John and even Jay, whom she loved so dearly could not convince her this time. She wanted to stay here. The beauty and simple pleasures of feeling nature was all she wanted. They could leave but she would stay here, and build a new life for herself. The job and the bills did not matter to her. She didn’t need the fancy car or the downtown loft. She needed this place. She started to run into the trees.
She heard them calling for her, from behind. She laughed, she was going to enjoy these. She felt her friends were following her. The rain grew heavier and the wind blew faster. She felt clothes pull her to one side, then the other. It was blowing in all directions. It was a storm. The trees seemed to look larger, more daunting than pretty now as they shook under the weather. She looked up, the moon was hidden by the leaves, some bigger than her face. The roots seemed to move now, she felt her feet sink. “Alright y’all I see what you mean. This place can get creepy. My bed is nice and warm.” Aly chuckled somewhat nervously. “Let’s head back.
As she turned around, nobody was there. The trees now seemed ten times larger. The swaying made them look like they were dancing now. Dancing to the faint tune she heard. The roots entangled her. It seemed like the trees were alive, capturing her. She could not see the moon or any light for that matter. Like she was stuck in a cave. How deep had she run into this forest? She could not see. They had said it was only a few big trees. Where had she come, and how would she get back?
Aly was lost in this dark night. She shivered in the rain, could barely stand as the wind moved her and barely moved as the roots gripped her. The forest was consuming her and she had to get out. “Tender is the night…” she heard a soft voice that slowly faded. She could not hear anything soon. This place was hazy, not vivid, and alive not full of life. Her eyes widened as the sour scent of sedation filled her nostrils. She knew how she got here, but not how to get back.