You would have sorted out the terrain well in advance with your maps and weather reports and geologic confirmations that surely would be able to warn us, no warn you. Since I wouldn’t have been in the least bit interested, having already begun to stray down the path that appeared to lead toward a river, banks of pampas and silver-leafed ferns like ribbons lapping in the wind. Beckoning me to come, come, explore the bend of greens and browns, touch the murky water where small fish dart sideways and the air buzzes with frantic life.
“Are you COMING?” I might call, and then hear your maps rustle closed, hear the unzipping and zipping of your many pouches filled with water bottles, sunscreen, peanuts, more maps that indicate a cliff might well be around the corner though it couldn’t say exactly where.
“Let’s GO, come HERE, its GORGEOUS” I’d yell, wanting you to see every snapping insect, smell every conflicting perfume that surprises me as I delve deeper into the thicket of marsh “come ON, you’re missing it ALL” I’d plead.
But you have your own path to travel, the one that promises direction and dimension and that precious satisfaction of knowing exactly where you are before you get there, that promises you will not fall off a cliff, or slip in the bog-filled dangers or skewer your pant leg on an unseen branch.
“I’m coming” you finally call, when I’ve at last reached a pool of clear open water—the kind of water you want to drink up and dive into and even drown in.
You come up behind me, slowly, so your reflection in the blue-green depths announces your presence before I feel your hand on my waist.
And there we sit, dangling our feet along the ice-blue surface, splashing at spots of afternoon shadows, your map fallen loose and wet and useless now, floating into a sea of reeds that swallows it whole. We may never find our way back now.