They say the forest is enchanted, magical and mystical. Some say it is haunted, some say it is dark. Some hear the wailing of trees in the night beckoning them to ease the thirst of old gnarled roots, some feel whispers wafting in the dark, asking them to join the forest in its loneliness.
I stand here, old and gnarled like the roots of the forest trees. I stand before it, at the entrance, wondering if I should step in. The breeze beckons me inside, and the tall trees, bend into one another to form a dome, asking me to join them.
I mumble to myself, “yes…yes I am coming in. I know it is time.” An old, bitter man. Barely able to walk ten feet without a wheezing fit. Stooping to almost half my height, I don’t represent the truth. The truth of what I was, the truth about what has made me. To everyone else, except the forest, I am just another sweet old man.
I shuffle through the rustling leaves, fallen, crunching in excited chatter. The moist ground beneath me, feels soft, soft like that of Mary’s breasts, even her body. The way it would melt inside me, when I would take her in my arms.
Impatience grows, when the breeze whooshes past me, and the trees sway in an angry dance. The forest is asking me to hurry up. Mary always did that too. Asking me to pick up my pace. Mary was always running somewhere, always impatient. As if, she was forever in a race against time. She walked faster, ate faster, made love faster, lived faster, except dying. Dying was slow; it took hours for the life to disappear from her eyes.
I am almost half a mile inside the forest now, the trees rejoice in an elegant ballet of vacillating branches. They are not lonely anymore. I smirk, “So much, so much like my Mary.” Just like her, the forest too, couldn’t stand loneliness. And just like her, the forest too would invite any stranger into its home, to feel less forlorn, to feel a head rush, a passing adventure, a temporary joyride, a momentary fling.
“I am coming, I am coming.” I shout out loud. Somewhere deep into the woods, I hear the forest wailing. A cry; a loud mewling of a baby, who has been denied food for a long, long time. A baby who can sense its mother about, a baby demanding the attention it deserves.
I shuffle further inside the winding narrow mud paths, created by the young, energetic feet of trekkers and campers. They are a complex network of veins that carry blood into the pumping heart of the forest. The wailing grows louder, whinier and impetuous. My shuffling grows faster, sure and eager. I don’t want to keep the forest waiting anymore.
Creepers about me are tenuously finding excuses to touch, to feel my wrinkled body, to drink from my shrinking veins. But I shake them off, my only aspiration is to reach the heart of the forest. The breeze with its rustling leaves sings songs, I strain to listen to the lyrics of the song.
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens,
bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens,
The song sounded familiar….the voice too.
brown paper packages tied up with strings,
these are a few of my favorite things.
And suddenly it is Mary singing my favourite song from Sound of the Music, prancing around the house as she keeps my mess in place. I look at her, pensive, brooding, a pipe in hand.
Cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels,
door bells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles.
How could she? Why did she do it? How is she so non-chalant about it? How could she cheat?
My fury rising with every single question I ask myself.
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings.
these are a few of my favorite things.
The leaves rustle in whispered lyrics. As anger gives way, and my pace picks up. I am nearly there, close to the heart of the forest.
Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
The wind is screaming, my favourite song at me. It is shouting and ranting, threatening to drown me in a whirlpool of anguish.
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things
I have reached the heart of the forest, where the majestic oak tree stands, with its gnarled roots that design a complex rhapsody of twisted branches. Not a leaf births on that tree. It is barren of any life, just like my Mary was. Just like her, no matter how much it tried the tree could not give birth to life.
When the dog bites, when the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
Maybe that’s why she cheated, maybe that’s why she needed to feel alive again. Maybe if I had agreed to adopt, she would have stopped cheating on me. Maybe…maybe….if that stormy night, I had stopped to think, I would have not spent three hours watching Mary die, after bashing her head in with my baseball bat, sixteen times over and over.
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad.
Maybe then, I wouldn’t have carried her here to the oak tree, and buried her. Maybe, if all that hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t be here now. Finally, ready to rest with my Mary.