The Forest

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.

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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.

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I mean, what I mean is …

I wouldn’t say I have been great lately and I mean, I have not been myself, but that’s not where I am getting at, for that’s an entirely different story. What I mean is, that sometimes, the line between my dreams and reality is so blurred, that I am not sure, which side (of the two) I am going to wake up the next morning.

For instance, two weeks ago on a Saturday (I think it was a Saturday), I was at the liquor mart.  And next to me, clothed in crushed trousers,  was a man with a purple hat in his early fifties, peeking through the wine cellar; wine browsing, like some say. Now you’d argue, why a fifty year old man would wear a purple hat? Honestly, I don’t know, and honestly, I don’t care, and honestly, it’s not important or something that I am getting at. Anyway, I am someone, who goes for the cheapest one on the rack. So I crossed him out of my turn, mostly because I was in a hurry, but also because I knew what I really wanted. It was impolite, yes, but the oldie was taking too much of my time that I did not have.

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Then, I stood at the counter waiting for the cashier to ring the bottle up, but he was quiet and lost; I had to tap his shoulder twice. I paid the bills Continue reading