Lost in the Woods


There are moments you never see coming.

Not because they don’t exist in the realm of possibility but because they couldn’t possibly happen to you; they couldn’t possibly happen in your world.

Like, you could be skipping along the sidewalk as happy as you can be and suddenly two men step out of an alley you didn’t even know was there, and they’re carrying a pane of glass, and you skip right into the pane and it shatters, embedding itself painfully into your soft-as-butter skin, and you can’t even scream because the pain is all you know. You don’t exist outside the pain at all.

Or you could be walking along in your neck of the woods, in a place you know well, surrounded by people who know you, and someone just swings at you out of nowhere and breaks your nose with their fist and gets your blood all over your nice new white shirt because it just had to be white, and that’s what happens when you don’t see things coming.

Or you step onto the tracks but you don’t know they’re there because they’re grossly overgrown and a noiseless train just emerges out of the darkness and you don’t see its gaping metallic maw until it’s too late and you’re dead because that’s what happens when a huge metallic beast meets flesh and bone.

It could be all of the above or one of the above.

Or it could be that you were in the love story of your life, with the most amazing man you ever met (or so you thought), and out of nowhere one day he just stops talking to you, and completely changes towards you, and while you’re left panicking and clutching at straws and desperately contacting his best friend for answers even as your best friends try to convince you that nothing’s wrong because he’s just busy and you know in your heart that something is wrong and then one day he sends you an email telling you that the distance is too difficult, loving you is too hard, and he simply can’t do it anymore, and he doesn’t even tell you how wonderful it was to be loved by you, and he doesn’t thank you for the way you made him feel or how amazing the time was that you spent together, and he doesn’t even apologise for the way he’s treated you or for the way he’s let you down, he just does.

And your world implodes because this is the man you were talking marriage and babies and goat farms with, this is the man you loved so much that your love for him lit up the whole world; this is the man whose soul you knew so intimately and who knew yours; this is the man you were supposed to have your happy ending with. This man, this man, this amazing man whom you held up even though you yourself were drowning; this man you can’t possibly see a future without. And you’ll walk around, clutching at walls, crying for hours, even as you beg him to reconsider, because ‘he can’t possibly mean it, I mean, how could he, this is US we’re talking about, and we’re amazing, we’re wonderful’.

And he won’t reply or acknowledge you for another 24 hours, and you’ll exist, somehow, even though you’ve stopped eating, and you’ll pass out from sheer exhaustion, and you’ll wake up and turn your computer on first thing to see if he’s responded, and he hasn’t, at least, not with words, but he did block you on Facebook, and you’re just ‘in a relationship’ by yourself, with no-one, and you can’t see his name anymore, and you’ll faint because you can’t handle the pain, and then you’ll come to and you’ll change your Facebook relationship status to single because that’s the most important thing to do first, somehow, and then you’ll tell your friends that you’re grieving, and they will rally around you because that’s what they do. And you’ll send him an email telling him that he can have his freedom if it means so much to him, and you’ll quote Sonnet 116 at him because that’s at the top of your mind and you’ll tell him you loved him, you loved him, you loved him. You’ll tell him you trusted him. And you’ll tell him goodbye.

And he’ll reply to you two days later with an apology at long last, and he’ll tell you he’s sorry for everything, even as you trace the letters of his words, his beautiful wonderful words, on your screen with your worn-out hands, tired now from three days of not eating, and you’ll cry again, even as you wonder where the tears are coming from, and you’ll close your eyes and remember his voice and remember it all, just as you have been every minute ever since he ended your life and took away your dreams, and you’ll telepath to him in your mind that you love him, you love him, you love him.

And you’ll realise that he unblocked you on Facebook so you’ll go to the messages you both shared, over 29,000 of them at last count and you’ll look at that window and the little box where it says ‘type a message’ and you’ll cry some more because you know you never will.

And you’ll crouch down in the darkness even as the trees spring up around you and the canopy shields the sky from your gaze; you’ll look up to see that there are no stars; there is no sky. You can see nothing, hear nothing, feel nothing but the cold earth upon which you sit. And you’ll sleep, not because you want to rest, but because being awake simply hurts too much. And you’ll wake again in the middle of the woods, and there is no light, only darkness, and you can sense them out there, the wolves, circling; hot breath on your skin, the promise of teeth.

And you’ll sob, because he left you here, in the middle of the darkness, in this unfamiliar place, and you don’t know how to get through this, and you don’t know how to get past the wolves, and you’re alone. Alone. Alone.

Agonisingly alone.


  • Jonell Galloway 4th August 2016 at 2:51 pm

    You are such a gifted writer. Expressing this grief, letting the reader live through it, might help others in their own grieving process. Thank you.

  • Sharon Peters 4th August 2016 at 7:29 pm

    Beautifully written. Intense description of pain and confusion. It taps into that underground river of black, cold water, familiar to us, to women. It somehow strengthens the will to endure even this and to then move forward … with an open heart once again.

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