The following post is a continuation of a fiction story that has been posted in installments on WordGirl. If you are interested in reading the story up until this point, click here.
I reach the stream just as the note said I would and it is all I could have hoped for and more. Magnificent oaks line the bank and it is along the root of one of these that I make my way into the water.
The water seems to be more than just water. It cleans me, but heals me, too. The soles of my feet emerge still red, but less blistered, less cracked, more whole. Grateful for this relief, I dress and sit by an oak, my feet resting in the cool water. I think back to my last moment of rest and solitude – it was near water, too, I guess: the river bed, where I contemplated whether or not to go with Irene to the settlement or return.
Had I made the right choice? I wasn’t sure yet. Going forward had brought more pain than I had reckoned and it was still too fresh for me to be blasé about having felt it. But one thing was certain. There was now no option of going back. Even if I could find my way back to the high wire, I wouldn’t be able to scale the face of the cliff to try again. But what would going forward look like from here?
Should I try to find the settlement I’d seen? Irene was presumably there. I’d seen her walk the high wire just before I fell.
And that memory of Irene triggered other thoughts. Not just thoughts, but feelings. I wasn’t sure how to feel about Irene just now. Part of me expected her to show up any minute, as she had on the precipice, in the meadow. But another part of me was glad to be alone right now, even if it meant finding dinner for myself.
Standing and carefully drying my nearly healed feet, I made my way back to the hut. Once there, I find a candle flickering and dinner on the table.