Second Thoughts

Wait a minute.

Did I hear myself right? There must have been some kind of mistake. Maybe the leaves rustling under my head confused my ears, because it sounded like I was giving up. Is that the way my mother raised me? Is that the way I was trained, or what my friends would expect? No.

I don’t do that.

The sun has shifted. Light now glitters among the leaves. Shadows slant down from the forest canopy to me. Late afternoon has brought a cold breeze, and I feel it on my exposed neck. The sun will be down soon. I’ve got to get moving.

I still hurt. My right side is a solid, throbbing ache, and down deep it feels as though some important bones might be broken. The pain is more direct and familiar in other places: bruises on my face and left arm, that stab wound in my left leg.

Only a few moments ago, the pain felt overwhelming. Now it’s merely annoying.

Time to get up. I’ve got work to do.

What’s that line from that poem? Something about keeping promises?

And miles to go before I sleep.

Yeah. That’s me.

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