SWORDFERN
Rooted, I used to think.

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Wednesday, Aug. 01, 2012 @ 12:01 pm
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On the Skytrain, hundereds of houses passing low. Sun flashes from condo towers into my eyes, I close them, my throat dry and tight from emotions. Patrick Watson on repeat, the repetition calms my racing mind.

I look down and there's an email. Sitting in my palm is an email from Carolyn. Years later, the first honest thing to move from her hands to mine. I look out across the city to the mountains, blue and blurred with haze. The outlines of the peaks filling spaces burned into my retinas. The shapes comforting and familiar, the curves of your mother's face.

In the message is everything that I hoped for. An acknowledgement of fault and regret. A fondness of memories. A disbelief of teenage cruelty.

..Jumping over all the bad times..

Irony and everything else. I'm home and sorting out old problems. I'm grateful for so much - my job, my meditative commute, our oasis of an apartment. My Daniel and how our relationship is easing now that we have time and mental space for each other. How selling a car and moving into a smaller space makes me happier. The relief of culling thirty percent of my posessions. The city and the people who are all just trying to be good. And she's just wanting to be good too. Who wants the guilt of having watched their best friend being asked Why are you following us? and not standing up for her. Of watching her face fall, of watching her leave, pull open the door of the school, and walk away into the late afternoon sun.

I can still hear the whistles from the football field. Feel the crush of blue and gold as a handful of tardy players hustle past me to the field. The bathroom cubicle walls. And then the long walk home alone.

I talk with Daniel about how this has shaped me as a person. He thinks that I'd be the same either way, that it's in my nature. That it made me grow up faster than the rest, forced me to think about people and the way things are and to not take things at face value. To not rely on other people for my happiness.

Over the years, I came to forgive her. Have I not also done regretable things? Have I not also gone along with the crowd because it's easy?

We go into the mountains at night. We hike the worn trail to Dog Mountain, an hour and a half of root hopping to get to an always spectacular view. How the city stretches out below, 2.3 million people, and us alone up here. Swath of fir and cedars to the edge of development, a rich green carpet of forest. The sun sets through the peaks to the west.

We clamber over roots in the dark towards the parking lot. I trip and fall and feel a scrape happening up my left shin, feel the ground meet my chin. Mud to my elbows. The sting of defeat, of error, of helplessness. Daniel up ahead with his longer legs.

Crumpled on the ground, alone and broken, the moon nearly full and laying shadows down around me. Does her message change anything? Do I feel any different from having read that she admits that she was wrong? Instead of feeling triumph, relief, or closure, I feel a sadness for mankind. How we all are just trying to be so good, but sometimes we fail. That we tend to let down the ones that we love the most.

I find my feet and steady myself against the mud. Daniel has returned. We head off into the moonlit forest, to drive back down the mountain, across the inlet, and back to our apartment in the city.

As we drift to sleep, I think about how I've spent so long not relying on anyone else for my own happiness. I think about what this has cost me. I think about how it prevents me from moving forward in relationships.

My happiness, is that what is lying beside me right now?


Roots | Shoots