Rooted, I used to think.

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Sam Lake - Monday, Jul. 26, 2021
Summer Trip #1 - Wednesday, Jul. 21, 2021
Disjointed - Monday, Jul. 05, 2021
Heat Wave II - Tuesday, Jun. 29, 2021
Heat Wave - Wednesday, Jun. 23, 2021

Tuesday, Jun. 15, 2021 @ 11:37 am

I pull the car into the parking spot alongside Chris and Claudia. I wave and smile. I’m so happy to see them. The parking lot is empty save for the parks maintenance operator, and the sun is rising through broken clouds. The air is humid, fresh, and cool.

Russell, Holly, and I emerge from the car. I introduce Holly.

“We have news,” Chris says. Claudia looks at him, reaches over to touch him affectionately and leans into him. “We’re getting married in August.”

My eyes dart to her left hand. No ring.

I look at them, and I see the chemistry, the love, the happiness, and I am happy for him.

We hike and talk and catch up on everything that’s happened in the last nine months.

I know that this only adds to my life. Claudia is bright and hilarious and different from us all in a very good way.

At the viewpoint, where we rest and eat snacks, I walk off into the bush. The quiet. To be alone. I wander through the salal until there’s enough distance and foliage to obscure the view. I take a deep breath. I let the feelings swell.

I grieve. I run my hands across the wet salal leaves and press the cool water onto my face. My heart. My heart. I love him, so deeply, and I want him to be happy. At the same time, I am so sad. He is one of the best parts of my life. Did I make a mistake in never turning my face towards him? Of never slipping my hand into his?

But he never did these things either. There was ample opportunity.

I know that this is the right thing to happen. He is happy.

I look out across the sound, across the ocean to the snow-capped peaks on the far side.

I have everything that I need.

I rejoin the group.

We hike back to the cars.

We say goodbye.

Later, in the night, I lay awake and my body is overcome with shame, hurt, and rejection. Nobody loves me enough to want to marry me. The same story that has shown itself to be true, year after year.

I don’t know how to stop this story, how to stop the hurt.

In the morning, I dress and prepare to go to work. I sweep my hair into a braid, add earrings. I go to kiss Russell goodbye.

He looks at me with admiration.

“You’re so pretty,” he says, and he pulls me into a hug.

The hurt dispels.

I have everything that I need.

Roots | Shoots