The tips of her fingers and toes were chilled to the bone. She noted that her nose was numb and wondered if it was a rosy pink like they described in romance books.
Her one and only someone, her partner, her soul mate would come jogging through the fall gloom and confess his unbridled love for her. It would have been the classic tale of how they butted heads and argued all of the time but he loved her for it.
The deepening chill seizing her fingers brought her back to the dim reality that was her life. Keeping her pace slow as she walked back from the park she realized that this was the first time in two years that she had really felt the change in the weather. It was almost the end of November and the winter chill had just begun to seep into the valley. Adjusting her scarf to cover the random onset of adult acne that occupied most of her chin on one side, she enjoyed the only view of fall you could see in the urban environment.
Although it was only three in the afternoon the sun hung low and dimly in the sky. Burgundy and brown leaves littered the ground in piles on the side of the road, pleading for children to rush through them and scatter them into the sky so they could fly through the air just once more. The trees, unabashedly naked, basked in the frigid light of the afternoon, free of the burden that they had carried throughout the year.
As she shuffled along the sidewalk she dreamt of being a tree. She could stand in a single place for her whole life and have to worry about nothing. No obligations, no responsibilities, and no need to find meaning in her life because she was a tree. Trees do what trees are meant to do; nothing. They do nothing and yet people love them for it, unconditionally and with fervor. They bring oxygen to the air effortlessly and look stunning while doing it.
The thing she envied most about the trees is that they had their meaning already sorted out. Stuck in her second year of college, she hadn’t even begun any classes for her major. She had been stuck in a perpetual hatred of the classes she was taking for the last year and loathed every second of time she had to spend on campus because of it.
“Life isn’t supposed to be like this.” She mused.
“No not even life at the moment, its college. I’m supposed to be having the time of my life right now, but I’m not.” The thought of sitting in the two-bedroom apartment she shared with her father brought back the crushing weight of reality she was trying to escape by walking to the park.
Almost twenty years old, perpetually single, depressed, anxiety ridden, sardonic and acerbic she reminded herself of the trope Woody Allen character that annoyed her. She wallowed in an ever deepening well of self pity that was getting harder and harder to drag herself out of. She thought of her lack of friends on campus and cursed her habit of distancing herself from everyone and everything. Flirting was a task all of its own and making friends was almost just as hard. When she went to her mothers for the holidays it was always the same question.
‘So any boyfriends yet?’
It was easy enough to say,
‘No mom, they’re all fuckboys.’, and continue to blame her misery on her surroundings instead of taking any personal responsibilities, but with all she’d been through maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing to seek a bit of solitude. But she was worried that she wouldn’t come out of the nest of isolation she’d built herself. It was comfortable and in near perfect homeostasis and that was the dangerous part. No one could hurt her there but no one could come through to her either.
She dreamt often about having her own place and not needing the support of her over bearing father to make it through her undergraduate studies debt free.
Her trip to the park had ended after two hours due to the stiffening of her fingers and all the calming effects it had on her came crashing down as she entered the apartment complex’s parking lot.