We sat together comparing our scars.
Some of them had been caused
by others and some we had made ourselves.
Many of them were the same
except for several of mine.
He had no scars along his skin to match them.
“It’s because you’ve lived longer,”
he told me, a look of wisdom
so out of place in his young face.
He lay in a bed, surrounded by the dark.
I could hear the rustle of leaves
that surrounded us but I did not
see any trees. I did not feel the wind
that made them rustle but he seemed
to take comfort from the sound
that the invisible trees made around us.
“You have come so far,”
he said to me.
“Farther than I thought I would go.”
He paused then and looked around
at the trees which I could no longer see.
“I thought I would die here. I’m glad we didn’t.”
It’s then that I notice something about his face.
There are two scars that run underneath his nose.
I reach up and touch the same scars on my face.
I really look at him for the first time
and I can see my face looking back at me,
albeit a younger face than I carry now.
He nods, pleased that I have finally realized
the truth and I know that those leaves
are within me still, though I no longer
feel fear when I hear the whisper of the leaves,
not like I did then. I have grown
beyond the fear of that time.
He stands and I stand with him.
I wonder how long I have been
carrying him within me and the fear
that filled me during this time.
“You don’t need me anymore,”
he says to me. He offers me a smile
and I can see light within it,
as if he can finally be free.
When he leaves the room,
I look around at what had held my fear,
this space where I lost myself
but planted a seed so that I could grow
beyond what I thought possible.
When I leave the room,
it is with the knowledge that I will not return.
I am not afraid anymore.