Once upon a time, not too long ago, there was an enchanted forest. Locals claim the forest was so vast that everything from heaven and hell was said to be united within it. Beautiful copses of lush green trees jutted like teeth into the bright sky, surrounded by the most extraordinary diverse flora and fauna that one could ever imagine. A limitless clear lake paved the way to an innumerable network of maze-like trails that could be there at one moment, but gone the next. A biting wind often blew past erupting volcanoes and through gorges that would appear suddenly out of nowhere, that threatened to swallowed unweary travelers. Times of day and seasons could change quite abruptly; it might be pleasantly warm and bright at one moment, but deadly cold in the next moment, only to be replaced by an almost deadly heat. It could take minutes, days, weeks, or months before being replaced by another equally extreme weather condition. One might find themselves in a desert and only minutes later in the deepest snowstorm. The paths and waterways bore similar risks; one never knew exactly where they might lead. Over time, the residents adapted to their surroundings, but oftentimes one might find that they had become terribly lost and alone in a secluded section of the forest.
One day in the forest, two souls met by chance on a small path. The first was full of colors. It was so incredibly colorful that it appeared preoccupied with itself. The colorful soul rotated around itself in a kind of frenetic insecurity. It could only perceive itself, and everything around it, from its swirling perspective, and only noticed its own own variety of colors as an amorphous, nebulous cloud. It seemed like the soul didn’t exactly know how bright and beautiful it was, nor what to do with all its colors. The other soul was lucid, calm and nearly transparent. It watched the dance of the other from a distance, fascinated by its mosaic of colors, until the frenetic, anxiety-ridden spinning of the first soul caused the two to collide. Without the movements distorting it, the transparent soul could now see the detailed and thoughtful patterns of the visible one. The transparent soul had never encountered such an intricate pattern before, but it felt that this colorful soul was beautiful and unique. The colorful soul, in turn, miraculously, was able to distinguish the shape of the transparent one. It could see the outline, but also detected a movement from within, that seemed strangely familiar and safe, and the colorful soul became curious about how it feels to be invisible. Both souls gazed upon one another with uncertainty, each circling the other in a dancelike manner, before eventually deciding to continue walking through the forest together. They walked, they talked, they thought. At times they moved closer to one another, but then would hastily move further apart. Perhaps sometimes they walked at different heights, or with different depths, but undoubtedly, they were on the same path. They walked side by side, but they were not together.
Before long, they arrived at a lake. It was an immense silver-blue sheet of unfathomable depths; opportunities, which seemed at the same time both exciting and threatening to the two wanderers. They stood there indecisively, not knowing whether to stop or to try to cross the water. Neither had prepared for such a problem arising on their little journey. As they looked across the water uneasily, an all too frequent swept over them, increasing the incentive to cross the water. Just as they had decided not to cross the lake, and turned around, the noticed that the path behind them was being swallowed up by dense foliage. The colorful soul sighed and thought, ‘What now? What if we can’t swim? What if we drown? What if the water is so cold that we freeze to death? If we just stop here will the path swallow us too?’ The colorful soul remained rooted, as its thoughts took over, and did not to share its apprehensions with the other soul. The colorful soul felt as if there was no time for discussion, or as if it did not know the transparent soul well enough to consider its opinion. After all, the colorful soul had gone into the forest alone and only met the other by chance. It had gone into the forest to enjoy the surroundings; not to be afraid; not to take care of someone else. The colorful one became paralyzed by its frantic thoughts and did not move. The transparent soul felt an unbearable fear of turning around; an increasingly paralyzing fear, a fear of being swallowed up by the path and disappearing into nothingness. At the same time, the transparent soul was afraid of being left. Afraid of being lonely. Afraid to jump alone. Afraid to jump together. Afraid of being together. Finally, the emotions took hold of it and, without considering the other soul, or knowing whether it could swim, it jumped into the water.
Nobody knows exactly what happened next. Did the transparent soul drown? Was the colorful soul swallowed by the path? Are both lost in hopeless situations?
I don’t think so. I think that both continue to walk different paths and explore the forest by themselves. Maybe they will never see each other again. Maybe they will and maybe they will take another stroll, side by side. Maybe even together. Maybe not. Who knows?
Author: Helen Waeder
Copy Right belongs to: Helen Waeder
Date published: 8/9/2020
One thought on “More or Less Genderless ‘Love’ Stories- Walks”
Very imaginative story – thanks for posting and hope to read more of your writing.