She walked through a carpet of periwinkles, her arms reaching out as she touched the trees, caressing the gnarled bark. Her bare feet glided across the floor while the leaves around her spook in gentle whispers and kept her secret. Her dark curls fell upon her shoulders with a light bounce, the folds of her dress swaying around her. The wood she walked through was heavy with the dawn air, misty dew cooling her skin, tendrils swirling in her wake.
The soft ears of a rabbit poked out from under a bush as she observed the explorer. Her wet nose twitched as she curiously stepped forward. Her offspring bounced happily into the glade but the woman continued obliviously.
Her mind dwelt upon the events leading up to this moment, this freedom she had given herself. “I rather you not,” said her husband warily the night before.
“I’m fine in city, why not better in nature?” She had tried to reason.
“It’s something I have to do.”
The young woman smiled as she began to hear the trickle of the stream ahead. She had almost made it. She stopped for a moment to bend down and feel for a periwinkle she could pick. Its soft stem snapped in her tight grasp. She closed her eyes as she breathed in its freshness and aroma. Standing again, she placed the flower behind her ear. She paused to remember.
A small girl ran through the wood. Her heart beat quickly from the thrill of the chase. Her dark brown locks ran free behind her. She turned to glimpse her pursuer.
The woman reminiscently looked over her shoulder. She saw nothing.
The small girl laughed as she moved through the trees. The boy behind her was catching up. “Give me a chance!” He called out.
“I’m just faster than you,” The woman said to herself quietly. She let a sight sign escape her calm face. Carefully and somewhat meditatively, she slowed her footfall to such a pace she might never reach her destination. The terrain under her feet changed from grass to wispy sprouts scattered between the stony, soiled bank of the stream. She reached out to lean against the tree as she took in the moment and the place.
The two children laughed as they jumped into the stream. The little girl’s dress rose around her waist as she wadded further in. The boy’s blond head submerged for a moment, only to burst out a whale, splashes falling all around. She shielded herself with her arms as the stray spatter touched her. Her companion gave her a cheeky grain as he shook his head from side to side sprinkling the stream. In a pretend huff, the girl took up arms with handfuls of liquid ammunition.
The woman stepped down along the jagged bank towards the hum of moving water. She smelt its summer freshness and could feel the warmth of the waking sun’s rays reach out to her through the moving branches above. She mumbled in surprise as the stream that had once hugged her around the waist now barely passed her knees. The hem of her dress still rose around her.
Completely soaked, the two children were calmer now. The yellow dress clung to the girl’s petite figure while the boy’s shirt stuck to his torso. They sat on a large rock distinguishable for its two natural dents for comfortable sitting. Like King and Queen, they sat beside each other, looking their little world, their kingdom.
The woman stroked the buoyant waves with her fingers before running her hand through her hair. The traces of water in her dark hair glittered in the light as she looked up into the trees. The familiar sight did not touch her.
Where are you going?” he asked.
Watch me,” she said as she stepped back onto the bank. Using a branch, she pulled herself further up the embankment. “There’s a dip in the stream where it becomes deeper,” she pointed to her friend.
He nodded in understanding as he wadded further along the stream.
The woman traced the king’s dent as she sat in her Queen’s throne. The cold stone sent chills up her arms. Her palms softened with her sweat as she looked to where she had once pointed.
The little girl’s bare feet gripped the branch she stood on precariously. “Are you ready?” she called out. Her companion waved in answer. She lent back a moment to change her position but her hand missed the brunch above her. Unsteadily she almost fell backwards but lunged at the trunk of the tree in time. In doing so her moist feet slipped off the thin branch and she fell into the stream’s little bay, her head falling before her feet.
The woman gasped as the water hit her again in her mind. Silent tears streaked her cheeks as her eyes opened. Her unseeing eyes looked on.