By Jennifer Deese
The day started bright and sunny, her coffee was smooth, just the way she loved it. The outside beckoned. Her need to submerge herself in Mother Nature’s earthly embrace was poignant and urgent. Roxie quickly finished her morning routine and donned the active wear she preferred for hikes along the mountain trails surrounding her property. She felt she was on the edge of something monumental but, for the life of her, she couldn’t figure out what. Shaking off the feeling, she stepped off the veranda…reveling in the soft, spongy feel of rich earth beneath her sneakers. Taking a deep breath of the refreshing air, Roxie headed for the trail head. Again, she had to push away the feeling that something was looming above her head. Instead, she allowed nature to soothe away life’s hectic worries and chaotic events. After a few stretches, she was off for the needed exertion of a long hike.
Twenty minutes into her journey, as she was rounding a bend in the trail, she noticed an elderly woman walking towards her. The woman locked eyes with her, and in an instant, she liked this stranger – immediately she felt a deep connection. As the two women walked towards one another, the woman flashed a welcoming smile, waving as if they were old friends. Roxie smiled in reply. “Hello”’ said the woman “I was looking to have a seat, and enjoy a bite to eat. I’ve got plenty, would you care to join me?” Before she knew it, and without knowing why, Roxie said yes – something she would normally never have done. She followed the lady to a patch of flat grass, in a clearing, on the side of the trial. Her brain was having trouble grasping the fact that she had so readily agreed to a picnic with a total stranger. Usually cautious, over cautious actually, impulsive behaviors were a stranger to Roxie. From childhood, she had always been hesitant to open or to be impulsive and carefree, to the point of causing others to steer away from her company. She tended to come off as closed, and unwelcoming That trait had carried over into her adulthood, and if she were to be completely honest with herself she would even say it was the very reason she was still alone in her mid-thirties She had never been in a relationship, in fact, it was rare for any of her first dates to ask for a second. She was well aware that this particular quirk in her personality was handicapping her, it was robbing her of living a full, and satisfying life. To counter that she submerged herself in her work, filling every little void with work, work and… more work in a feeble attempt to chase away the moments of loneliness.
The sandwiches the woman offered were delicious. The lemonade was refreshing. After thanking the woman, Roxie lay back to look up at the sky – wondering what had made her so easily agree to join a stranger for lunch, out in the middle of nowhere. The woman cleared her throat and asked Roxie if she would be willing to listen to her talk a bit. “I so rarely get to chat with others. “My life has been lived mostly alone. I never married, never did much outside of my comfort zone”, the old lady said with a sigh. “And I would so love to just talk to another person for a bit. Would that be okay with you?”, she asked, peering intently at Roxie. Again, Roxie was compelled to comply, something in the aged eyes, and wrinkled face of this stranger rang the bell of familiarity.
“I’ve gained a lot of hindsight wisdom in my years,” the woman stated, “And I have found that when you second guess yourself you make unchangeable changes in your fate. The failure to move beyond what is comfortable to you, and hesitations to make a bold move will cost you a lifetime of
happiness…and companionship. Caution is good in small doses but, if all you ever do, such as I have done, is stress and worry about the myriad of what ifs, then that is all you do…stress and worry. These things can turn a journey with a soulmate into a walk of loneliness. You meet your soul mate once, and if you let that meeting slip by without grasping it to your heart, and soul, it will be a loss felt forever. I once had a chance, on this very trail, to meet my soulmate. I let my own over cautious hesitation take him away. I’ve wondered every day, if indeed, that man I failed to speak to was who the Fates had truly intended for me to be with. Caution and hesitation have been my bane, young lady. Please, do not let them be yours…” As the old lady finished talking Roxie felt something deep in her soul quiver for a moment, it was as if this strange, perplexing little old lady was talking about her. How could that ever be?, Roxie thought to herself.
A few minutes later she was helping the woman pack up the leftovers and utensils. Thanking the kind stranger for the pleasant lunch and conversation Roxie stuck out her hand, and instead of shaking her hand the woman grasped her by the shoulders pulling her in for a tight hug. Right before she released Roxie she whispered, “ Let your life happen, Live!”
As the woman turned back toward where she had come from, Roxie turned toward home, the words of wisdom still with her. To her absolute surprise, she noticed a tall, and rather handsome, man standing on the cliff side of the trail. He was staring intently at the vista of the valley below. Not sure how long he had been there, she was going to ignore him, but something inside her found the strength to push aside her hesitation…maybe it was the words of the old lady. Clearing her throat and, swallowing her nervousness, she called out a hesitant greeting. Fear almost made her scurry away down the path but, the wise words of the old lady made her throw caution to the wind. He turned toward her, waved and gestured for her to join him on the precipice, a warm smile on his face…a smile that immediately felt like a warm fire on an icy cold night. Before she joined him, she gave one last glance in the direction of the old lady.
The kind woman was just about out of view, around the bend, when Roxie called out, “ I didn’t get your name!”
“My dear, you know who I am…My name is Roxie”
More about the Author
Jennifer Deese first officially joined the writing world and became a published author in 2013 with her inaugural novella, The Orchid Keeper. Miss Deese is fond of writing shorter stories versus full sized novels. Her first book will eventually be the prequel novella to a series of short books called The Osipian Chronicles. From childhood, her mother has fostered her imagination and love of reading…which Deese sees as the roots of her love for writing, especially fantasy. As a lover of
As a lover of nature it is not surprising that it tends to play a part in many of her writings. A mother and a Nana, Jennifer Deese looks forward to spending time with her loved ones. She resides in Pennsylvania with her two dogs and boyfriend James and his son.