The sun is losing its hold and the night is approaching fast. We are out in the wilderness, camping in a log cabin. There are 10 or perhaps 15 of us. No one is sitting still. They are picking up leaves, walking in and out, discussing if they want to follow the stream that ran adjacent to the cabin, lighting the fire in front of the cabin and debating the nutritional value of onion soup versus the pumpkin soup.
I am the outsider. I am watching them and growing restless. They must all go inside so I can follow the other group before the night completely devours everything around it.
I politely ask them to retire for the night. They have their own minds and fail to notice that the wind has stopped and the birds no longer have a song. They ignore me. I have to warn them of something I do not know and cannot explain. All I know is that they must all go inside and lock themselves for the night.
My second task is to get out of there to follow the other group as they have some information about my journey.
I cannot wait any longer. I try one last time. No effect. I pour the onion soup on the fire and throw the bowl and I start walking away from them. I know they have taken the heed and have started moving like a herd towards safety.
I am very scared. Should I have just stayed the night there and perhaps taken the journey in the morning? What if I never reach them? The map of the whole area flashes in front of my eyes. It is infinite. The magnanimity of the forest reaffirms my doubts and spreads a shadow over my resolve. In all this, the darkness is not holding back. Spreading like wildfire. I am underprepared or maybe completely unprepared. I am wearing jandals and carrying a satchel which has one book and a red pen. Nothing else.
I should start marking the trees. The first reasonable thought. Something inside me warns me against it. The trees have life and I should not be disturbing anything around me.
It is a straight path until I reach a cross.
Is it left from here or right? Does it matter? I am lost.
It is right from here.
Something begins to guide me. I am not sure who or what. I just know. Time has stopped now so I do not know how long I have walked. I eventually come to a clearing. I see an outline of a small wooden place with a verandah. I must walk down this hill. I reach very close to this place.
It is a café and three young people are having a chat about something and having coffee. Who are they? Why are they here in the middle of nowhere? There is no one inside, how did they get the coffee?
As I am pondering at these questions and decide that I should ask one of them, a very cold refreshing mountain breeze goes right through me and silences all these irrelevant questions.
I don’t ask them anything, they do not notice me. I keep on walking and reenter the forest.
I am looking for a big boulder which must be climbed to get to the other side and I will find what I am looking for. Time is no longer passing. Evening – a shade of pink and orange – stuck there. I was the only one moving.
I reach a town. A deserted town. I see a shopping centre, a school and a hospital. All of them. I walk through them and find myself in the forest again.
What happened to that second group? It does not matter anymore.
I finally see the boulder. It is huge. I climb it and see the world. I swear I see all of it. I want to sit there and be one with what is around me but I do not have enough time left.
I see a rope ladder at the edge. I begin to climb down. I am so close. One step after the other. Descending into something I do not know.
I reach the bottom and it is a clear field. I see a very tiny square house in the middle of the middle of this large field. I start to move towards it. I do not know what is there all I know is that I have to get there.
“Remove your blanket NOW”, I hear my mother shout.
I am jolted back to the reality. I am under two blankets, very cold. I remove the blankets immediately. I am burning with fever. I pick up the thermometer to decide if it requires me to call an ambulance or not. 104.3 F. I call the nurse and am advised to stand under a cold shower. I get out of the shower, take painkillers and the fever goes down.
Retrospectively, it would have been a beautiful death. I would have found out what my heart desired the most. What was in that tiny house? Where was I going? I do not know. Perhaps, I will never find out.
My mother does not live with me. I live alone.