I’ve been sitting here every night for the last three years. I leave out my bedroom window and climb through the bushes, walk silently through the dewey grass, and find my favorite tree stump in the forest. I sit here for two or three hours every night and stare up at the sky, watching the moon, counting the stars. I make myself cozy on a tree stump, a tree stump that remains uncovered by the foliage of the trees high above. I bust out a notebook and begin writing down my thoughts. Thoughts that range from how the darkness is surrounding me, how the leaves rustle on the ground when a small breeze brushes through, how at any moment I could be attacked by a wild animal. I never know what to expect when I’m sitting here, but I know right now it is unusually quiet. It’s a quiet that I’m not sure how to process or how to get through. It’s almost deafening.
Exactly three years ago tonight is when I began sneaking out of the house. I was having problems sleeping, too stressed, too paranoid. I hadn’t made any friends in school, all my old friends stopped talking to me. I thought everyone saw me as the weird girl who never spoke and always had her head down. Insomnia from stress kicked in and the walls started closing in on me quickly one terrifying night. I could feel my room getting warmer and warmer, my throat was beginning to close, and tears were welling up. I jumped out from beneath my covers quickly, only wearing a night shirt with boxer shorts and leapt out the window. I ran and I ran. I tried to escape myself. I didn’t know where I was going, my feet getting muddy and my hair becoming a tangled mess. Finally I tripped over the very tree stump I’m sitting on now and landed in the dirt. I turned my body over and saw the opening in the trees. I laid there, staring, calming down, breathing slowly. My body loosened up on the ground, but I could also feel mud soaking through my shirt. I sat up on the tree stump, my leg a bloody mess from scraping against the side of the trunk. I sat there till almost morning, walked quietly back home, showered, and went to school like nothing ever happened.
The quiet deafens me and the dark is surrounding me like a cloak. Chills crawl up my spine and I hear someone crying, someone running through the dead leaves. Each leaf breaking into million pieces and being flung in all directions from someone’s feet. The shine of the moon becomes dull, the gleam in my eyes from its reflection disappearing. I look to one side of me, in the direction of where I came, and see a translucent figure. A girl, just like who I was, running, trying to escape her mind, with only a night shirt and boxer shorts on. Her feet covered in mud, her dull blonde hair a tangled mess. She doesn’t know where she’s running to, but she keeps running. Then she trips over the trip stump where I’m sitting, her leg becoming a bloody mess from scraping hard against the side of the stump. I don’t know what to say or do, tears fall down my cheeks one by one, and she looks at me. She see’s me, she acknowledges my existence. Tears are streaming, old mascara falls beneath her eyes, soaked in dirt from her hair to her feet.
“Help me.” She says. Her voice is scratchy and tired. She’s propped up on one elbow and then falls to her back. She’s weak and can’t hold herself up anymore. Wanting to reach out and help, my arms stay stuck in the position of holding my notebook so close to my chest. I’m paralyzed by the fear of what is happening in front of me. I can’t answer, my throat is closed tight. I want to believe that she is not in front of me, that I’m not in front of myself. But she is and I am. I shut my eyes tight and wipe away the water from my face. I open my eyes and I’m gone. The moon is back to it’s usual brightness, the dark back to it’s normal darkness. The wind blows through once again and rustles the leaves. I know my safe place is no longer safe. I can’t escape myself, I can’t escape my mind.