HER DESIRE FOR SILENT WALKS

She always had a desire to wonder. To find places and spend hours in nature playing chess and other board games, badminton or learning to swim in the pretty cold water. She enjoyed that silence of nature, the music played by grasshoppers and the sound of wind playing in the tree tops. Margareth. Let’s call her Margareth to make this story smoother. Names always allow getting a better image of the character. Her light curly hair was always messy after a day spent near the lake or after hours of wandering in the forest. In the evening she was tired, but her blue eyes were sparkling. Before falling asleep, she was dreaming about new adventures after a week or two. She enjoyed these day trips a lot. Margareth always waited for a call from her dad who promised to take her somewhere nice. She always waited for him. Sometimes he didn’t show up. Her mother used these situations to her advantage and always said something negative about him. Margareth’s parents got divorced when she was a little. She was supposed nothing to hear, see or understood, but she remembers how he said before closing the door “I will come back.” It never happened.

 

They say it’s better for kids to have separated parents instead of seeing them fighting all the time. Though, divorced parents can do great damage to their children by manipulating them and turning each other. Now, when we are talking, there’s a bunch of information how to make the divorce less horrible, stressful or damaging to the kids. Back then no one had a clue or cared about child’s wealth. They were just kids who understood nothing.

Margareth’s dad took her to places he loved to visit when he was young. Sometimes he told here stories how he spent days there fishing, picking mushrooms and cycling for hours. He told her stories about football games and funny moments of his life. But most of the time they were silent.

Margareth’s mother rarely took her out. A girl always wanted to go somewhere on sunny summer days. Though her mom always had more important stuff to do or it was too cold, too warm or she just was too lazy. On those days when her dad left her waiting for a day trip, she was sad and disappointed. Her mother enlightened her negative emotions and indirectly taught her not to have expectations and hopes because men are not the ones who can be trusted. However, she wasn’t a good teacher. When Margareth grew up, she learnt to hide her high hopes and expectations by pretending that she did not care and did not want to go anywhere. But she was always waiting. Waiting for a call. Waiting for that trip.

In early teenage years, Margareth’s relationship with her dad became weak. She became distant and did not want to see him anymore. Her childish brains could not understand why but she just did not want to leave home with him. Maybe it happened because he had started saying things about her mom, and mother found numerous ways to prevent him from meeting his daughter. Later he lost this car, and their dates were not as exciting as they used to be. Their long walks took places only to the parks and river banks where public transport allowed them to go. Sooner or later they stopped going to parks and other green places. After many years Margareth lost connection to wonder and took her mother’s attitude that nature is a horrible place to be.

But deep inside, the grown up Margareth always had an expectation and hope to have a day trip. She saw people doing that. She heard people talking about summer weekends by the lake, singing by the fire and making lifetime memories with friends, family or loved ones. She tried to crash one of those weekends, but she never made it. Her hopes and expectations were broken numerous times by sayings “we will take you next time” or “we will definitely go there!” They didn’t. Margareth learnt about polite invitations that are supposed to mean nothing. It’s just words. She learnt to say nothing about her lifestyle and day offs. She learnt to keep her wishes and hopes to herself only because she knew they would not come true. She learnt to smile foolishly after receiving tons of questions why she was so pale in the middle of the summer. It took her two decades to go to sunbathe by herself.

That sunny day she packed her backpack and took a book. Her heart was beating too fast, and anxiety made leaving the comfort zone more complicated. When she reached her destination, she was surprised how many loners were there. She laid down and almost disappeared in the meadow just like everyone around her. When she was laying, she could not believe how all these trees reduced the noise of the city.  She couldn’t remember when the last time when she saw wind playing in the tops of the trees. How leaves changed their shades of green by the sun. Margareth forgot day trips with her dad. That day she just had some strange feeling of nostalgia which brought her back to the same place several times. Though, she couldn’t understand that feeling in her heart.

Margareth’s desire to spend afternoons in the park was inspired by one guy who took her for a walk outside the city once. When they arrived, she became emotional and had no idea what to do or say. She tried to hide all her feelings and stay normal and apathetic human being who hates nature with all her heart. But it seemed that afternoon the nine-year-old Margareth woke up. She felt all the feelings she forgot existing. She had no idea what was happening with her, and she couldn’t tell anyone about it. Even him. The guy who was asking whether she liked this place or not. She learnt to hide her feelings, emotions, and expectations to come back here again soon. Though, it took her half a year to come back. But not with him. There were someone else who wanted to take her for a walk outside the city. Someone who wanted to show the beauty of nature to a girl who loved pavement and smog so much. The sunset in early autumn looks different than in the middle of spring. She remembered the day she came her for the first time. She knew that this place became memorable and marked something special. It’s her place. The place where she reborn.  That day she looked at him and wondered whether he took her somewhere else, or that would be it. Maybe we just take a walk and took different paths just like it happened after the first time she spent the evening there.

During the first date, she thought about the first guy who taken her here. She had thoughts about him quite a lot. He shook her world. He woke her up. He made her better and shown how much she needed to be fixed. Indirectly. For a couple of months, she was thinking about him when she was passing by the place he lived. She tried to guess which house was his and what he was doing then. She blamed herself for these thoughts because she was hitting the road with someone who wanted to show her the world then. That walk wasn’t the last one.

One night he texted her with excitement that the next day he would take her whatever she wants to go. Margareth had no clue where they could go. It’s been ages since she looked for destinations and beautiful places.  However, he took this challenge and shown her places she never thought of existing.

After a while, Margareth started thinking what was about those trips? Why did she crave so much to go out and feel the wind messing up her curly hair? What were those feelings when she looked at the horizon and started hiding behind the camera? Why did she not care that they were just silently walking and observing the surroundings? Why did it feel so right and calm just to be there?  Is it this magical feeling of being alive?

One evening she was drinking tea with her dad, and she understood everything. She realised that she was sitting with a man who showed her various places. The man who taught her about trees, flowers, mushrooms, animals and a little bit of a history. Probably, she should have felt something positive, but a horrible thought crossed her mind. Had she been looking for a man that was just like her dad all that time? It’s a cliché for a women who grew up in a divorced family. This thought was haunting her and she couldn’t calm down. However, she had a topic to talk about with her dad. She told her father about those places and shown the pictures of trees, forests and beautiful horizons. Margareth needed a while to speak up and say about that guy. She never told her dad about her personal life and if there was anyone. Even her mother barely knew about him. Not that she did not want to tell all the happy or sad details. She just had no idea how. She did not feel any connection to both of them and probably was angry because of their fights, these negative talks about each other and hiding important details from her entire life. Their inability to create a lasting relationship were haunting her like a curse. She read lots of psychology books and articles and knew about the necessity to forgive them. It’s the most important condition in order to move on and fix her life. She needed to forgive everyone who hurt her or taught her things no one should know about. After years she did not feel so much hatred or anger against those people. She clearly remembered how they made her feel and what painful lessons they taught her. She forgave, but she couldn’t forget. No matter what people say, bad memories don’t fade away during the time. Sadly, good memories might be pushed away due to the negative experiences. Simple needs of the nine-year-old might be killed, and grown up women might be taking this coffin of all dreams that girl had whether she goes.

 

Negative experiences shape relationships with parents, with loved ones and with ourselves. Built or rebuilt them might take a life time or one life might not be enough. Due to various selfish reasons, we end up unhappy alone. We do not have anyone to share those secret places with someone or tell stories that we tend to remember once in a while. Margareth also had her place. She always loved one part of the city, and no one could suspect when she went there. It took her only several minutes to take off the route to recharge. To see herself sitting under those trees, having conversations, taking long walks, observing people, and being with people that were no longer around her. Nostalgia. Nostalgia was her companion no matter what route she took and who was by hear side. Maybe it was nine years old Margareth who was always waiting and expecting. Maybe her all hopes and dreams are still alive. Maybe that’s why she feel so alive and calm at the same time sitting in the passenger’s seat. Margareth still did not know what it liked to sit in the driver’s seat. It seems she had never been a driver of her own life. It seems she was only expecting someone to show her that the life created in her own head was existing. It seems she was still waiting for someone who would teach her to drive and let her show those places where she learnt to swim, played chess and took silent walks. Margareth had no idea what a huge impact her father had in her life. How much she was similar to him until that evening when they were sitting silently, drinking tea and she had no pictures to show. She met her dad few days after the last day trip. She looked at her father thinking maybe they were both making the same mistakes. Maybe he was so strange like that guy who shown her all these places. Maybe she was more like her mother who did not understand and accept the differences. She realised she knew nothing about these two people. People who were supposed to be the most important people in her life. She clearly knew she did not want to end up like them. She was scared how much her life reminds of them. She was scared that she could not escape this curse, and she would never sit in the driver’s seat.

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