She walked with a sense of purpose. She knew what was behind her, not what was before her. She feared stagnanation. She feared the past and craved the unknown.
[[left]] [[forward]] [[right]] [[behind]]She sees the [[distant mountain]]. She wonders if she's made the right choice to leave.
[[forward]] [[right]]She cannot loose focus. She must keep walking. She cannnot let what's behind her tie her down.
She picks up her pace as drops of sweat begin to form on her forehead. She listens for rustling. It's . . .
[[birds]] [[trees]] She glances to her right and watches the sunset.
[[purple]] [[orange]] [[blue]]Vera considers her past and all the things behind her.
Her [[childhood->childhood home]]. Her [[parents]]. Her [[partners]]. The purple part of the sky feels like home. Her [[childhood home]]. The place she lived in fear. Not of harm, but of ridicule. A place she could not be herself. A place of love, but a place of limitation.
Vera cannot begin to think about this pain at the moment. She stares into the sky once more.
[[orange]] [[blue]]The orange part of the sky feels like home. Fall leaves, [[apple cider->Hot coffee]].
This thought of this home comforts Vera. It unearths a deep motivation within her. She smiles at the sky in gratitude. She [[carries on->forward]]
but [[where is she going?]] The blue part of the [[sky->distant mountain]] feel like home. Vera feels like she is the blue in the sky. This dark spot that clouds the beautiful, bright sunset.
Vera distracts herself and stares into the sunset once more.
[[orange]] [[purple]] It's just the birds.
(mouseover-replace: "It's just the birds")[Is it just birds?]
She hears the chirping.
(mouseover-replace: "She hears the chirping.")[She hears screaming.]
(mouseover-replace: "Harmless birds.")[Who's there?]
[[right]] [[left]] [behind]]It's just the rustling of a tree's branches. The wind is more prominent than when Vera began her walk.
[[how long has she been walking for?]]
[[where is she going?]]Vera thought she had been walking for half an hour now. She wonders if that was actually [[right]].
but [[where is she going?]] Vera is going home. Her home. Not her home of pain and limitation.
But her home of [[comfort and warmth]]. A home she has crafted for herself. A place where she is limitless. A place where she is herself. A place for her.She was filled with [[fear]]. Brought back to those moments of dismay and sadness.
She turned back around. She turned towards the pain, and the fear. She knew it would consume her. [[But what other choice did she have.]]Whenever she heard their quarrelling, Vera would run up to her room alone. She would cover her head with pillows to block out the screaming. Tears would often stream down her face.
Constant arguments. [[Sometimes they argued about her]]. [[Sometimes about themselves]]. Vera could not tell the difference though. Every jab hit her hard.Vera always felt [[out->left]] of control. Everything around her felt forced, concrete. Set before her. Every choice made was [[not a choice she made]], but a choice she felt compelled to make. A sort of constricted free will.Vera acted for others. She needed to please others.
Her friends. Her [[parents]]. Her [[partners]].As a young girl, Vera felt the need to be the perfect daughter. She felt she was the glue that kept her parents together. Vera knew if she did something wrong they would [[leave]] each other. She knew if she did something wrong they would leave her. Vera took everything she hated about [[love->cafe]] and her parents' relationship and attempted to [[rid]] that from her relationships
(click-append: "relationships")[ but was unsuccessful.]
She found women she never argued with
(click-append: "she never argued with")[, but those women always argued with her.]
She found women she loved
(click-append: "loved") [, but those women never truly loved her back.]
Vera knew she could change.
(mouseover-replace: "could change.")[couldn't change.]She's reminded of family trips to Grand Teton.
[[Hot coffee]], [[cold air]], [[peace and quiet]].
Her utopia as a child. One of the places she felt like Vera. Home smells of [[pine->distant mountain]] scented candles and cinnamon. A space filled with her best memories. Vera made her space a place of comfort, something she never had before. A place that was all her own. A place for [[gathering]]. A space for the people she loved and the people that loved her. Her mother and her always woke up early during Wyoming vacations to grab lattes from a local coffee shop. Maureen always ordered a hazelnut latte with almond. Vera always ordered a peppermint vanilla latte with soy.
They sat outside the [[cafe]] with their warm beverages and discussed the day before and their plans for their day ahead. It was one of the only times where Vera felt truly connected to Maureen.The three of them would spend the car ride to the mountain staring at the scenic view before them. The scene filled the silence.
Vera always found [[comfort->comfort and warmth]] in the snow-covered mountains. She knew that not even the cold could break down [[beautiful-> things. Every year, [[her father]] would wear his old fur coat from Russia. Vera always got upset at the thought of a [[dead animal]] fur wrapped around him, but Alexei insisted it was the key to survival.
This was not the only time they disagreed, but Vera knew it was the only disagreement they could both handle year after year. Every scream felt like an attack. A punishment.
She wondered why she had to live this life. She questioned higher powers. She didn't know [[why]] she had to live in this pain. She wondered [[if]] she could ever be free.Arguements about whether or not they were a [[good match->partners]] for one another. Whether or not they were better together or apart. [[Whether or not they needed to stay together for Vera's sake->parents]].
Vera spent a lot of time thinking about which way would be better for her.
She decided there was no viable option.Alexei was a complicated man, and his complications were not his alone. Every struggle he faced was passed down, in one way or another, to Vera. He never wanted to make her life more difficult, but he couldn't control it.
His stoic glares and [[high expectations->parents]] plagued Vera's [[childhood->childhood home]] .The years Vera spent at home with her parents were her darkest years. She hid herself from them; she hid herself from everything. She grew hopeless.
She would spend her time wondering if she would ever escape, if she would ever be [[free->right]] of this [[living nightmare->fear]].Her first [[Thanksgiving]] away from home was both her best and worst. Worst because she missed the familial chaos of her youth. Best because she was able to enjoy her day of peace.
Her first Thanksgiving was spent with newfound friends. They feasted on an assortment of dishes - green beans, rich mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet cranberry sauce, bread, pie. For the first time, Vera didn't feel the weight of the world on her shoulders. Vera felt she finally understood the word home.Holidays at home were rarely ever enjoyable. Someone always screamed. Her parents always fought. Vera always hid herself in her room - an escape from the pain.
When she was young, her parents would always try and act nice at the dinner table for Vera. They reminded themselves that holidays were for joy and family. Maureen and Alexei tried to hide their pained glares at one another with soft glances. Vera could see right through their [[act->fear]].
But as she grew older, her parents stopped it altogether. Thanksgiving became a normal day in their home. Every holiday became an average day.
But Vera would still try to hold onto tradition. She would prepare a small feast every holiday. She knew she would [[eat alone->cafe]], but she didn't really care anymore. Vera got used to people leaving. She was never one to leave. She always tried to stay. Even when it would hurt [[her->right]].
Vera would always stay. Her parents stayed [[together->partners]] through the pain and strife, so why shouldn't she?Can you really ever get rid of your past?
[[yes->where is she going?]] [[no]] Vera had always been a frequent coffee shop patron. These places offered her an opportunity for [[private contemplation->peace and quiet]] in public spaces. She felt seen but never watched. She felt alone but [[never lonely->comfort and warmth]].
Vera's favorite moments from her darker years were the hours she spent in a local cafe in her hometown. She would come in most days after school and almost every Sunday. Back then, she would order a black coffee or black tea. She would sit by the [[window->right]]
with her schoolwork, journal, and laptop strewn all around her. Vera would stare at the passersby, wondering about their lives, their futures, their [[fears->fear]]. She wondered if anyone ever saw her and thought those things.
What sadness they would find if they did.Vera tried to [[pull->left]] herself out of these moments of despair, these memories of pain, but it was hard. So much of her life had been shrouded in a [[dark cloud->childhood home]]. She [[wondered]] if it was possible. Vera tried to pull herself out of these moments of despair, these memories of pain, but it was hard. So much of her life had been [[shrouded->cold air]] in a dark cloud. She wondered if it was [[possible->rid]]. Vera knows there are some things in life she may never understand. She tries to remember not to dwell on things out of her control.
No one can ever truly master the art of not dwelling on the past, but Vera vows to try.Vera reminded herself of all the bad memories from her youth.
Could she find a way to move past them?
(click-append: "Could she find a way to move past them?")[ Unlikely.]