A Cold Journey (Memoir)

Creative Writing 3 (Nonfiction)

[Words pulled to describe a traumatizing moment endured by yours truly]

2017-05-10 11.25.42 1I sat upon the cold, smooth, wooden dock. It did not move and neither did I. I leaned backwards to feel the damp texture against my palms. I could not feel splintering fibers; my skin gently rubbed in the direction of the grain. Therefore, I presumed the structure safe. There was no rocking, pushing me to infer that the wooden poles were stabbing deeply underneath the bottom of the pond muck to secure our supportive raft. I steadied my blurry vision to focus on my feet and watch the arch of my legs pull my bones upward to the fold in my knees and then into my hips. The hard pressure on my haunches from the wooden seat did not interrupt my comfort at all. I situated my position so my hand could linger towards yours with hopes that my lack of words would be warmed by your hand, caressing my emotional discomfort with your uncertain devotion.

In this prolonged moment, my ears were unable to perceive much sound, all except the infrequent stuttering of forest birds. They muttered my unspoken thoughts when our conversation grew dull and when silence conquered our vision with stiff, defined muscles around our eyes. Within your unformed words I could feel my world collapsing; every moment that I had previously familiarized with your robust, pine cologne was sliming off the back of my fingers, dropping, and unraveling onto the surface of the surrounding pond.

Easing my mind, I directed my vision to observe the vertical green lines falling from the uppermost branches and sliding like silt into their own diluted reflections. We were once as they were—mirroring each other as if we were one continuous image. It startled me to feel the warmth of my face being assaulted by one, warm, tear. The release of its unforeseen emotional weight pulled the drop to the same death as the comfort I had previously associated with you. Both were now lonesome, foreign and out-of-place; both my perception of us together and my instinctive emotional reaction.


You spoke. The words stabbed me with accusations. Externally, the birds were screeching for me. Pip-pip-pip echoed my muted feelings, each shrill growing exponentially with a violent heat. Squawk-squawk-squawk—boiling, surpassing, overcoming—my being completely succumbed to my dying will to fight. All other sounds were muffled. It felt like I was blacking out; a high-pitched buzzing barricaded all my senses. I could not even hear your words. Focus, I commanded myself. Closing my eyes, I placed my hands on the temples of my forehead to draw the pressure elsewhere.

“ … our own ways,” I only heard these three words from you.

“What?” I asked quietly, opening my eyes. You looked frustrated.

“Why don’t you just listen to me?” you said louder, almost in a yell.

I slunk back into my fears of losing everything I knew—of losing you. My position on that dock now felt uncomfortable. The familiarity of everything around me—the lake, the trees, the birds, the dock, my body, your body, your full, dark eyes and sweet but currently scorning smile—burned me with a superb feeling of discomfort. I became scared of our intimacy because it now meant that I had to let go of it. Yet the conversation stuttered forward.

“Forget us?” I asked quietly, “I can’t … how could … we just ignore everything that happened?” I was utterly confused. To purposefully “forget” about you—someone who I have dedicated my time to for so long—sounded ridiculous, backwards even. I felt as if you were asking me to erase something or to pretend that a part of my life had never happened. We were connected so closely: physically, emotionally and spiritually. Over our time together, we pushed each other to be vulnerable to increase our understanding of faith, patience and love. I wish I knew what was going through your head; I felt as if the words you were saying did not match what you were thinking. This couldn’t be true. You were confusing me. Had you subsided how much we had grown together and increased our faith in God? I forced myself to think that there was no humanly way that you had warped your entire perspective on our intimate relationship within two days.

I thought back to the last moment we were together. Two days ago, you said that you felt as if my priorities were not fully aligned towards you. You must be insane to think that I am not wholeheartedly dedicated to you, I thought. But two days ago, in that dark moment standing on the brick path of the university lawn, the only thing that shone brighter than your anger was the nighttime stars. I chased after you as you frantically walked away from me and away from creating a resolution. Daringly, I grabbed your arm to keep you there with me. You whipped around to face me with your mouth open ready to spit fire.

“We said there is no in between; you’re either all in or you’re all out,” I said, referring to how we consistently fought for our relationship.

Pausing, you hastily replied, “Then let’s not have an in between.”

I let go of you. I fell to the ground. I actually fell, with tears flooding. I sat on the night-chilled grass and watched you walk away from me. I knew you well enough to know that I made the right decision to not chase after you because all of your rational thinking tends to be erased when you’re angry. I let you walk away.

I shook out these thoughts of a past moment. We had only talked once since you walked away from me; we agreed upon meeting to come to a resolution. I thought I had known exactly what I wanted before we decided to meet to talk things over, but now, now I was wishing I had never stepped into this disastrous moment. Now I was frustrated at myself because I brought this upon myself. I thought we could fix this, fight for us, but your anger was proving me otherwise. I was frustrated with you, because you seemed to be betraying our promises of trust, compromise, persistence and faith.

Sitting on that dock together, I began to wish that you had never spoken. You should have accepted the silence. But the silence was gone, your words were scorning me in a way that seemed like you were trying to be polite, while I responded quietly, sobbing, as if each word I chose to speak was dependent on my life. I thought you were not angry, but you were. Fire, fire, fire is all I felt. How could such a sad, damp and mossy place like this maintain its composition as we continued to ignite its atmosphere with accusatory statements? The silence was gone; the birds continued to squawk as if they too wanted us to succumb to silence, as if we were disturbing them. I could not understand anything that was happening. The walls of my world were tumbling on top of me, and you were the one pushing them down. I could almost see the trees being uprooted, falling and splashing into the lake and spewing the lake’s frigid, algae-infested, slime overtop of us. Wouldn’t that be relieving?

Our persistent opposition pushed the forest to betray me. An awareness presented itself to me; I had been surrounded by complete deception. I now noted the differences in the reflections against the true form of the forest lining. One was sharply pristine while the other ambiguous and blurred. But which side did I find myself on? Were my thoughts filled with enough confusion to blend in with the gray, murky waterline? Or were my intentions efficiently formed to align with the straight, never-ending, green profile of the oaks and sugar maples?

Retracing my eyes along the water, onto the short planks of the dock and to my worn, muddy, white shoes, I noticed how much my knees were throbbing with discomfort. The solace you offered had broken. The once-soothing birds nagged. Flies repetitively intruded my borders. Maybe I should disrupt the sincerity of our unpleasant moment and dive deep into the pond.

I suddenly longed to feel something on my skin. I wanted to feel you, I just wanted you to hold me and erase all of our bitter anger away. I was in so much pain and the way you stared at me while you spoke made it seem like you no longer cared.

I wanted to feel anything that would disturb my thoughts of your dominant coldness. The water shimmered with temptation as I dozed about feeling its cooled, late-summer gloss surrounding my pale knees, forearms and up to my lips. I was almost rejecting—ignoring—each bitterly negative, hopeless knife that you were throwing at me. I could have swam to the other side, away from you and the pain you were bringing. This pain was aching; I wanted to feel like I was drowning in something other than your absent compassion. I felt like I could tremble. The pinball, back-and-forth recurrences of your undignified anger confused me. We were frequently fighting, I should have been used to this by now. But what did I do? I ignored my pain; I proposed you the winner this time. I fell deep, intimately, back into your familiar arms.


One thought on “A Cold Journey (Memoir)

  1. Sometimes I think it is impossible to fully describe all of our thoughts or perspectives into sentences, but here I am, having written a piece that attempted to do just that.


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