This is an entry for Wayward Warrior's challenge Trial
I look up.
The sun cannot penetrate the dark foliage above. Some time ago, the light had shone down on us. The hope it instilled in us pushed us forward along the path. We continued our way. Even now, we drive forward, toward the place we know we had to reach. We must.
When had we begun? It seemed so long ago, walking through the lush fields, full of life, lighted by a cloudless sky. But it was pointless for us to ask that question now. We had stepped into that field, and thus we had begun our journey. There was no way we could ever turn back. Even to stop was an almost impossible request. Our feet pulled us forward along the path; in tune with the rhythm of our breaths.
We talk little on our journey. And often we say nothing more than a few words, just to help each other forward; to encourage along the path. We know that once we reach our destination, we will have plenty to talk about. So we wait, each confident that the other will be there at the end.
Occasionally we meet other couples; other travelers. We come to a clearing in the forest, and our paths join, our groups mingling under the welcoming sun as we walk.
Whenever this happens, there is always a period of the path that we get confused; unsure. We ask each other and ourselves, “Who should we go with? Who should be with me?” We look at one another, disparity in our eyes, and ask, “Is this right?”
Yet every time, once we have walked enough of the path, we organize our thoughts. We talk; discuss where it is exactly that we are headed. And once again I end up with my other.
But even then, sometimes one of us questions the choice. Have we made the correct one? Do we really know where it is we want to go?
Placating, we soothe each other with gentle words. We attempt to console the other, and point to the path. It eases us, and we continue forward. Our feet moving, the pain of the encounters with the other couples diminishes behind us. Our hands clasp tighter, our determination shining through the darkness as we renter the forest.
But there have been times where I just felt that I could go no longer. I would attempt to pull myself away from my partner. Through tears, I would yell and scream at them that they were not real; that they could not exist, and that for me, there was no one. I would almost collapse, desperately trying to wrench my hand out of theirs. The grasp was burning, they were holding too tightly. The light was searing, it hurt my eyes. The light from our weakening clasped hands would fade, and the darkness set in. I willed it to engulf us, as seeing my other brought me nothing but pain and sadness, and I pleaded with them to just let me go on my own. I would point to the darkest area of the forest, and in between broken sobs of desolate cries, implore them to go; to hide themselves there so that I would not have to look at them. To prove that I really was alone.
And once, I pulled just hard enough, and our hands released. Suddenly my entire world was darkness.
But I was not afraid.
Instead, I felt almost free. It just did not matter anymore what happened to me. The darkness did not frighten me, for, whatever happened, whoever was to find me, it did not matter. I was no longer holding my other.
And that was when I realized, the whole time, I had been trying to protect them. It did not matter what happened to me, it was our bond that mattered; holding their hand had been everything. It had caused me such pain to hold at some points, but the rest of the journey, it had made me happy; content.
And in a flash of light, there they were. I smiled at them, my tears of sadness now of joy. I grasped their hand firmly, and squeezed tightly. Reassuringly they smiled and squeezed back. No words were needed. With smiles of determination on our faces, we looked forward, and continued to walk.
That had happened quite some time ago. And while we still meet other travelers, and while we still feel unsure at some points, never again will we let each other go.
We know where it is we are headed.
We know we will meet.
Just as we can feel each others hand in ours, we feel the knowledge that we shall reach our destination, and be together.
The path is time.
To travel is to live.
We have to continue; endure through the forest and walk the path. Together we can overcome the journey. We must! Hand in hand we shall tread, and the oppressing darkness of the forest will not be able to smother our light.
Then, once enough of the path has been walked, we shall meet.
We will be together.