I was in pieces. The broken shards of myself scattered here and there. Torn into bits by demanding claws, taking what they wanted for themselves. Outside of myself, looking inward. Seeing the carnage, feeling the pressure. Marrow sucked dry. Nothing left to give. Eggshell bones rattled in the dust. Escape whispered to me, touching my brow. I answered.
A shake and a whistle, and the shattered bits come running back to me. Clutching at the jagged little pieces for dear life, I gather my companion and head for the trail.
As we drive northward, the ugly, functional buildings soon give way to towering trees and dots of wildflowers that pepper the tall grass. Our special place waits for us. Calling our names. We listen, we obey. Unleashing ourselves, stepping forward into that first step. Aw, that first step. Exhaling. Inhaling. The tightness in my chest loosening with each breath. My lungs fully expanding again. The sharp blue-green perfume of the evergreens reaches my nose. My companion’s nose is to the ground, taking it all in. Tail wagging.