There once was a man who offered me the world.
Humbled by this generous offer, I accepted and offered it in return.
Little did I know, that this man had the capacity to love and destroy everything in his path.
Confused and intrigued, I wanted to see where the path would lead me.
It was a whimsical trail of magic and love and spells.
The trees never looked so beautiful.
The sun never felt so warm.
This world that I was offered was a dream.
One day, a rain cloud appeared above.
And though I had the umbrella of love to protect me, the path became muddy—the sky dark.
Ahead, the trail forked.
One path dark and one light.
The light was blinding and I followed him onto whatever path he chose.
He maneuvered swiftly, expertly.
When he stepped over traps, he gave no warning, nor did he turn back to check and I was forced to free myself of them.
If a pack of wolves or trolls circled me, I fought them off alone.
When we neared the canyon, the light was gone.
It was dark.
He turned to me and acknowledged my determination, my will to hold onto the world we had offered one another and keep it safe, but admitted that if I jumped this canyon, there would be no end to the path.
The traps were his.
The wolves and trolls, his companions.
The light was not the blinding sun I thought I was following.
It became clear that the path he chose was not one meant for us, but the one he knew best.
And when he bid farewell, he and our world vanished.
The dark was consuming.
I could not forge the canyon, for that had too vanished.
I was left to find my way back on a path that had been destroyed, yet still garnered all of the same evil.
There was no light, no umbrella to protect me.
I was weak from traveling so far and fighting for so long.
The traps; I would stay in them for days.
The wolves; I let gnaw on my bones for hours.
If for anything, but to remember what it was like to free myself of them and still be in the shadow of what I had believed to be the sun.
Even now, as I write this, I have made these traps my home.
The wolves and trolls, my companions.
This trail of ruins is now the one that I know best.
Sometimes I think I can still feel the warmth of the sun or hear the birds singing.
But I have taught myself to know better.
There is no light warm enough, no umbrella big enough to jump over a canyon that does not exist.
Years from now, when they tell my story, maybe I will have conquered.
Maybe I will have plummeted to my death for moral’s sake.
Or maybe, just maybe, I will wake up.
Author: Kathryn P. Arnold