There was a time in my life where I had wanted nothing more than to leave this harsh world. I was 15 years old and was utterly and completely alone in the world. My grandmother cared for me and though she did her very best, but was simply not equipped for properly caring for me. I had no true friends, only acquaintances that were sometimes friendly, but mostly kept me around to fill the role of a whipping post.
I was overweight, unattractive, too sloppy to be grouped with the popular or athletic kids in my High School. I was too dull and quiet to be seen as interesting with the geek crowd, and I was far too much of a social pariah to be popular with the girls in my neighborhood. In short I had nothing going for me, and chose to just embrace it, and find comfort in solitude.
I had always been in poor physical shape (I like to blame my Italian grandmother who considered pasta and cheese to be the mainstay of every meal) but as slow as I was, I began to take to long walks through the woods on the outskirts of our town. These were deep, lush woods heightened in color and thickness by the moist Pennsylvania air. I always found the wet rock faces, and rich moss to be very soothing for me as I explored the winding creeks, riverbeds and complex weaving game trails of what I always called the “dark forest”.
Over the year of 1992 I had explored these game lands fully time and time again to the point where I could walk the trails in my own mind before going to sleep, which I did often to assist with my insomnia at the time. There was no corner of that area that i did not know intimately. Because of this I was very surprised when one day I pushed through some brambles at the eastern edge of the fishing hole, to find a small clearing which I did not recognize whatsoever.
The clearing was only maybe nine feet across and thickly surrounded by thick Maples almost completely blocking light from entering the refuge inside. I immediately felt an intense love of this spot, along with a strange growing uneasiness about how encapsulated it truly felt. I was at once both a moth who had finally embraced a flame, and a butterfly suddenly ensnared under a glass dome.
My reverie was quickly dispersed as I fell backward hard onto my tailbone, the instant my mind recognized the shape of a young woman sitting and sobbing at the center of the small clearing.
“Ma fuh….” I so eloquently uttered as I fell, sounding like a mentally challenged cartoon character.
At this, the waify towheaded young woman looked up, eyes teared over and examined me as I both backed away and attempted to regain my composure and my footing. She looked at me pleadingly through her obvious pain, questioning and hope beginning to light her face.
She was my height and maybe 90 pounds soaking wet, wearing a simple thin white dress, and apparently nothing else. Her hair was light and blonde almost to the point of being white, and her features beyond fair. She was barefoot and bare legged, though there was not a trace of dirt or grime on her alabaster limbs. To every extent she was delicate and beautiful save for one very odd feature which did not ruin her appearance, so much as accentuate her other perfections. Her eyebrows were thick and as black as could be, and flared wildly across her brow seeming to extend into, and jut out past her hairline, pointing outward from her temples.
“Haallo” her small intricate drawn out voice was subtle and enchanting.
“Hello”. This was the extent of my charm, and ability to deal with this unusual encounter.
Her eyes rolled slightly upward and her lips began to curl slightly into a smile, as she slowly reached out a thin hand toward me, inviting me toward her.
At this point, I was at my feet but feeling a bit apprehensive. My eyes darted around, as if this was some trick being played upon me, and I was being lured into a trap to be beaten by some of the more aggressive kids in my school. I could hear and feel my heart pound and then pause, and the hair on my arms stand on end.
In the end, this trepidation turned quickly into cautious excitement.
As likely seems clear, I had never been very popular with the female gender and certainly had never been an object of their interest. But here, suddenly, there was only me and the lovely creature, and she was in some kind of trouble or pain, and was reaching out to me. I cannot say that I was lured by any sort of expectation, but I was certainly intrigued, enchanted an steeled myself to not allow this strange opportunity to pass unfulfilled.
I swallowed hard, and stepped toward her, slowly reaching out my hand so as not to scare her, and gently took her hand in mind. This connection was overwhelming, and the warmth of her hand in mine was like nothing I had felt before. My heart swelled at the feeling of that warm (no that feverishly hot) appendage in my palm.
“Are you ok” I inquired caringly.
She only smiled, and raised her other hand to caress my cheek, and then my neck. The heat from her hands was overwhelming, and the touch was all encompassing. Her right hand continued to explore my neck, pull on my ears, push soft and then hard upon my chest as I consciously tried to let go of the shame I had for my own body and fully be in this moment.
Things progressed so quickly. It was a delicious blur of heat, exploration and passion as we kissed, caressed, undressed bit by bit, our bodies responding, and before I could think for a moment, for the first time ever I was making love. I was making love to a beautiful young woman in these woods that were my refuge without shame or fear or anything other than ecstasy.
She had pushed me to the ground in the center of the clearing, and was riding me slowly and then faster as our passion increased. I swooned as she bit her lip staring upward at the sky and blood began to trickle from her thin lips.
This sight pushed me to the edge, and I could not stop myself from immediate expenditure. As my head cocked back and eyes began to roll I was startled as she quickly jumped off of me and put her cupped right hand between her legs, scooping the fluids now amassed there. She then quickly spat the blood from her mouth into this same hand and shouted something indeterminable as she flung the collection of fluids onto the ground above my head.
What happened then, I am at a loss to accurately describe. In a blur of motion and overwhelming sensual impact of sound, light and even smell, the trees about us fell away, the ground breathed and moved beneath my back, the sky darkened and lightened assaulting my eyes, and the pressure of gravity upon my body, which I had never felt or considered before pulled at me and then released it’s grip slightly but noticeably.
At once I felt as if I was in a confused dream. Around us were plains of searing crimson brush like no other vegetation I had ever seen. Small lights like fireflies migrated through the air and even through our bodies in the thousands as I took in the strange collection of shrieks, clicking noises and piping in the distance. The ground beneath me was wavering and gelatinous but I was not pressed into it as my body felt lighter and almost frictionless against it. As I tried to turn over i found that the push I made upon the earth (or what I still choose to call earth regardless of the obvious change in environment) was enough to send my body reeling upward toward the enormous leaf shaped wisps a hundred feet above our heads.
Her quick but gentle hand caught my pant leg and she effortlessly pulled me back toward the ground and she secured my position with both hands. She then rose them to my face, holding it gently and whispered to me, peering directly into my eyes.
“I am home, and I thank”
I flinched as she dug her fingernails into my lip, slapped her hands together and then smacked me hard, directly on the forehead with a great cracking noise, that sent me falling backward onto the hard ground.
The hard ground. The trees. The stones. The thick moist air of the Pennsylvania forest, in that small clearing, where I visit time and time again, for the hope, for the chance of seeing my lost love, who I helped to return home, but will never, ever forget.