Last scene of previous:
It had been raining the past couple hours, and E had no roof over her head, nor any car to sleep in. V pictured her soaking wet and sleeping on the side of the highway under some trees. And I suppose that idea was not far off. It was still raining, so she had reason to think that E would be drenched and cold.
She turned the television on to watch a show or a movie. All she could remember, the whole time, was being snuggled against E that first night in that first hotel, a whole month ago.
An abrupt rapt on the door surprised her and shook her from her trance. The knock came again, urgently. …It could be E. V jumped to her feet to find out, but something inside of her didn’t feel right about this knock. E would have announced herself, but this entity did not. Her heart twisted and her gut dropped. She didn’t know who was at the door.
V quietly walked to the door and peered out the peephole. Before going pale and jumping back.
“I fucking know you’ve been here, E! Open the door, you bitch!”
It was S. E’s crazy ex, S. And she was mad. V stayed quiet, trying to gather an idea on what to do. She couldn’t just jump out the window, that would be instant death from the six floors up where her room sat. There was still a locked door between them, so no need to hide. But V was on the other side of the door than S… E wasn’t. E was on the same side of the world as S was. Luckily, it seemed S didn’t know that she had left. Thank God. V breathed in partial relief.
V didn’t think it would really work, it would probably make this woman angrier, but she decided to just keep quiet and lay low and hope she gives up and goes away. She leaves the TV running though, so as not to change the environment at all to give S any reason to believe that anyone was there anymore.
She heard a smaller voice, then, just down the hall from S. “Hi, can I help you?”
“Oh my gosh, yes, I’m looking for my fiancé.” V rolled her eyes at this, really?! “This is her room. Do you know if she’s here?”
“Umm,” there was a pause as the lady thought, “I can go check.”
Please lie, please lie. Don’t lead her to E. She didn’t think the woman would give away wherever E was, or any information at all regarding where she even wasn’t. But she hoped the woman would be smart with how she handled the psychotic bitch who was hunting down her ex and current crush, an innocent person.
A few moments later, V got a call on her room phone. She took it, but stretched the cord as far to the opposite side of the room as possible. It was a front desk agent.
“H-hello?” V tried to whisper, but wasn’t sure if she even should have answered.
“Hello, miss Ellison, I am sure you heard the person banging on your door a minute ago. Just stay in your room, we are calling the authorities. We are taking care of it. Just stay safe, okay?”
By this time, V was shaking. “Okay, thank you.” She said.
“Is she still at your door?”
“I am not sure, I can check.”
“No worries, an agent will be up shortly to keep tabs on her and distract her so she doesn’t leave, okay?”
V nodded, even though the person couldn’t tell that through the phone, and then she went back over to the peephole, anyways, curious herself, and saw S standing with her arms crossed and rolling her eyes, and then she returned to the window.
“Would you like me to stay on the phone with you until the police arrive?” The agent offered.
“No thank you, but I appreciate it a lot. Thank you.”
“Of course. Hang tight.” The person said with a smile and then hung up. It’s true what mothers say, you can hear a smile through the phone—you can really hear any expression through the phone.
V crawled back over by the door to peep out, but S wasn’t there anymore. She hadn’t heard any commotion, either, so didn’t believe the police had arrived yet to catch her. Where in the world?… She tried to look around through the tiny peephole to see if she’d just moved.
But then she did hear something from the outside front of the Inn. She hurried to the window to look out. Down below, on the sidewalk, the just-arriving authorities were jumping out of cars to catch the crazy red-haired woman who had come here looking for E. One already had her in in cuffs as she screamed profanities and lies at them. They finally had her calmed down and she walked to one of the cars, frustrated. Then, turning to get in the car, she stopped and looked directly up at V and scowled. V shuddered ducked behind the curtain the second the woman’s eyes met hers. Her body went numb. S had clearly been keeping an eye on this very window for a while.
V shuddered, stepping away from the window and watching from her bed as the cars started backing and driving away, down the highway until they were gone and everything was quiet again. Her eyes seemed to have been glued to the ordeal and she woke to her conscience a while later and realized she was still staring out at the street.
She shook her head and then secondarily noticed how dark it was. What time is it? V wondered, her brow furrowed. 7pm! The day certainly flew by. It flew by and left both V and E in the dust. Choices made that can’t be undone, leaving drastic change in its wake. Today cannot be taken back, nor can yesterday’s decisions, or a minute ago’s decisions. Only right now’s decisions can be controlled, but once they’re made, they’re sealed for all eternity. Set in uncrackable stone; written on the tablets of time and permanent for all of history.
E and V were both feeling this right now. Each in their own ways. In fear and worry, in pain and confusion. They knew how permanent today was, they knew how late it was and that this day was gone…and this can’t be undone.
E sighed beneath the tree, where she sat with her back against the trunk. She looked up at the few stars that she could see twinkling among the tree leaves. She wished it were yesterday again. She wished she would wake up and all this would have been a bad nightmare and nothing more. She knew she’d be feeling the weight of this tomorrow, and the permanency of it, too.
An owl hooted in the distance, a low, buttery, cottony voice—if you can imagine such a thing. Time to lay down and get shut eye, I guess. She situated herself so that, from head to foot, she was walled by the bush and the tree. She lay upon the leaves—the carpet of the forest—and pulled her backpack under her head to rest. No blanket, tonight; nothing to keep warm. But she could see the single lamp lit by the door of the little blue house. The sight of a warm home comforted her.
A gentle wind blew in the forest, and the wet clothes that she had hung waved about and floated with the gusts. She watched them bounce and wave and dance as her eyelids began to shut.
V sat on the edge of her bed and looked out at the city and at the stars for a while. But once the lights at the carnival turned off, it awoke her from her spell again and she got up, shaking her head, and pulled out a night top and pants to wear to bed. She went into the bathroom to change, even though she was alone now. It was when she turned on the light and stared at her reflection in the mirror that she seemed real again. Real, but numbed and overwhelmed. This month maybe was catching up on her, everything seemed to go so fast. It was an odd chunk in her life that had been go-go-go for so long, and now it was slowing down again. She realized how much had happened and what was going on. This led her to feel that she’d been asleep inside herself this whole time. And all of a sudden this past month felt like a day, and everything had changed so much so fast that she felt sick. All this had shaken her so much so fast that she wondered if it even hadn’t happened at all? Maybe this is why E had run? She began to wonder.
Not quite, V. That wasn’t quite why, but I suppose it was part of it. Rest easy, worried girl, you’ll run yourself around in a spiral being so heavily involved in the solving of this heap of human pain. It overlaps and is interwoven, and there are too many intricate and delicate parts of it to take it apart and not cut yourself on it or tangle yourself inescapably in it, or to become overwhelmed and end up in a puddle of your own tears. Let it be, let it fall to feet for now, rise your eyes up to meet the horizon, and walk on this path—your path—well and good the best you can; for that is all you can do. It is all that is reasonable to even take on. The burden of both paths is not for you to pick up or untangle or figure out or carry. Just your own path, dear, that is all you ought to take on.
If you must untangle another’s path, it is only reasonable to do it with that person, and not away from them where it is easy to make assumptions or miscalculate a step or reason. It is never wise to walk another’s path when they’ve not invited you onto the road. Keep your eyes on your own horizon, or you might trip on a crack beneath your own feet or, God forbid, you fall into a canyon you didn’t see.
Another’s path and another’s road signs are for them to decipher and decide upon. After all, it is their person on this journey, their mind that must be full of their own worries. Even walking only a mile in their shoes would never give you the weight of walking their whole life, and sharing a space with them for only a minute or an hour—whatever the space may be—does not give you insight into the depths of their life or mind or heart or self. Mind your business, for you are not them. You are you, and you have you things to worry about. Let them take on their own journey as they will, for they are the one within it.
This advice may seem dumb to some of you, overlookable, even, but it is not, and you’d be surprised (or maybe not) at how many people are so quick to judge and force their way onto everyone else or someone else and think they are wholly right. For the path ahead of them, maybe it is; but their neighbor’s path is not theirs, and it not their responsibility to forcefully repave it or plant their own road signs in their neighbor’s yard or along their fence. Each knows, and ought to decipher their own choices from, the road ahead of them—their own horizon, their own path that they walk. Everyone sees a different road, and that is because we’re all put on different paths, and that is because we are individual, and not just a great mass.
God above created humans and human life to be so intricate that you cannot see one thing and think there is nothing else to it but one whole thing. Even cells are not just one whole thing; even cells are dependent on the atoms that make them, and even each atom is not the same. If, down to the smallest thing, God did not made everything for a separate purpose, how much more do you think that he made humans—standing in his likeness—each for a different purpose? For a different thing, and in a different way? Afterall, he even gave us each wholly different lives, and different struggles, different combinations of events and people and times that we experience. How much more do you think he designed your neighbor’s path to be different from your own? In their decisions and their horizon. Their path is important in its uniqueness, just as the atoms and genetics and life events are that compose a person. Do not judge their way, do not make their choices, do not stick your road signs along their way. They see their path as they ought to, and you see yours as you ought to. Keep your eyes there, where they ought to be: on your own horizon, and stop interfering with your neighbor’s. God made individual choices unique and available for a reason. And that is because each must choose their own path, and their own path only.
Even your advice might not be beneficial to their path and the path they will walk. For there are so many different paths that one piece of advice (or any piece of advice) cannot fit them all. Thusly, do not frustrate yourself over someone else’s path. You cannot even see it as they can! But here I digress.
V has finally fallen asleep, sick of the thoughts in her head. And E is resting oddly peacefully under the forest canopy; she doesn’t wake frequently from the cold, or even at all. The gentle wind blows through the city, just as it does the trees. But V doesn’t feel the light wind, other than the slight consequential rocking of the building, from where she is, tucked under several layers of blankets on the sixth floor of the inn.