I have this recurrent fantasy where I’m lost in a forest so deep it’s purple. The grass is black, the moss creeping up the trees is black, the birds chatter like the noise in my head. Hungry wolves are near, always near. Then, there, there’s an opening of light not far off, finally. I walk to it, unable to cry anymore, unable to care anymore with hope. But I go anyways. There’s a field of strawberries spread before me, and mountains in the back like Switzerland. At the end of the field there is a cottage with smoke coming out of a
stone chimney. I walk through the white blossoms. A crab apple tree slouches in the back of the cottage where the pink and white petals fall like snow. I smell honeysuckle. The noise is gone, the birds have turned into song, but I don’t notice this yet. The sky has never been so blue, the grass so fragrant.
I knock on the wooden door but no one answers. It’s unlocked so I open it and enter. An old stove holds pots bubbling and boiling, fresh strawberries on the table by a window that has no glass. Checked curtains sway in a gentle breeze. “Hello?” I call but no one answers. A hound sleeps lazily on its bed by the door, and a cat leaps to the counter by a bowl of eggs. I walk through the rooms, doors framed in oak, a bed swathed in a handmade quilt, a basin of water. I’m suddenly tired. So tired. I’ve never been so tired in my life. And at last, at last, it must be safe to sleep. Safe to sleep. What a relief. I lay down on the quilt, the springs squeaking beneath me. Hours pass, and then days, and then weeks, and then months. I wake to an old woman in an apron, holding a cool washcloth to my forehead.
“Where am I?” I ask, unalarmed–a new feeling.
“You’ve made it, my dear, you’ve made it home. It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay.”