Astray: A Short Story of Love and Hate

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In all my days of travel, I've come across many great and terrible things but none of either match what I witnessed one early morning in the hills of a land that I, myself did not know. This was the night that I met a young man who was wounded in love and another young man who was wounded in hate.

Two young men, both alike in age and stature approached me while I took sanctuary by an old pine tree that was adjacent to the two splits of the road. One man from the East, one man from the West. Both seemed weary from their respective journeys and required rest. I welcomed them to join me, hoping that my presence would somehow benefit them while they took sanctuary.

The man from the East took refuge against an young oak tree, while the man from the West found his place of comfort against a young maple tree. Although we were all relatively close in proximity, it was not hard to tell that each of us were thousands of miles away within our minds.

The East was the first to speak. He began to tell us about his long and exciting trek. His voice was smooth and seemed to flow over us in almost a hypnotizing warming way. He spoke of a young woman who was waiting for him once he reached his desired destination. Apparently, he had been away for a great amount of time and was returning to his home in hopes of marrying this young woman. Then he told us of her beautiful blue eyes and described them as small bodies of perfect blue water that sparkled in such a magnificent way when the moon casted its rays upon them. He told us of her golden blond hair that seemed to radiate beauty when the sun beams shone upon it. The mere description of her seemed to pain the man in a way. Almost as if just the memory of her made his heart ache within his chest. Once he collected himself he spoke of his plans once his journey was over. For the longest time he spoke of happy marriage and lovely children and of a life that any man would be stupid to not be jealous of. When he was done, he cracked a half smile, leaned back against his young oak tree, and seemed to drift back to his daydream the life that awaited him.

Once again we found ourselves lost within our own minds and listened to the nothingness of the forest that surrounded us. I'm not sure how long we sat in silence but it was not meant to last.

This time it was the West that spoke. He began to tell us of his long and painful trek. His voice was hard like stone and seemed to blanket us in a harsh coldness. He spoke of a young woman who he abandoned at the beginning of his journey. Apparently, he had lost the woman that he once love and she had become someone different. Sadly, he could no longer find the love that he once felt for he could no longer find the lover that the love was meant for. Instead he spoke of the dark anger that had slowly consumed him and taken a terribly painful grip of his faint beating heart. Then he told us of her icy blue eyes that seemed to pierce through him with a blackness that was only rivaled by the abyss of a starless night sky. He told us of her golden blond hair that faintly shone when lit by the sun, as if it was just a tasting of a memory that had long been lost.The mere description of her seemed to pain the young man in a way. Almost as if just the memory of her made his heart ache within his chest. Once he collected himself he spoke of his plans once his journey was over. For the longest time he spoke of empty beds and lonely nights and of a life that no man would wish upon his greatest enemy. When he was done, he lit the last half of an old cigarette, lean back against his young maple tree, and seemed to drift back to his empty thoughts the life that awaited him.

Just as before, we retreated into the silence of the woods. Time had no meaning and I began to wonder if the men would soon be back on their respective routes. I decided that since they both had opened their stories to me, I would return the favor. I began to tell of my long and hard trek when suddenly I became aware that both men were gone. I got up from my resting place and looked both down ways of the road. I saw nothing but dirt and trees. At this point I was completely confused by the recent events. I made my way back to my place at the old pine tree and resumed my sitting. As I sat looking at the young oak tree that the East had once occupied and the young maple tree that the West had once occupied, I came to a point of realization.

I met a young man who was wounded in love and another young man who was wounded in hate but I was in fact both. I was the man that was stuck in between. Too scared to chase after love. Too scared to run away from the hate.

I was a man who was wounded in both love and hate. Too afraid to move a single step from my sanctuary of the middle ground. A place of silence. A place of absolute nothingness.

So I stay and wait, taking sanctuary by my old pine tree that is adjacent to the split of the two roads.
One to the East. One to the West.

Created: Mar 09, 2011

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