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I don’t like to be lost (a short story)

(When I can’t write, when I can’t make sense of what is going on in my head- I have found that something that helps me is to make it up. To write fiction and see what truth comes out. It’s been a while, but here is a short story that showed up as I let the story come out.)

I like to adventure. To explore.

I like to know exactly where I am going.

I’m good with directions and with knowing which way is north.

I don’t like to be lost.

It was a Saturday. I woke up, made my coffee and stared at the mountains behind my house. They were mountains I climbed on a regular basis, normally by myself, with a fully charged cellphone and trail maps in the back seat of my car.
I don’t like to be lost.

It had been an emotionally charged week. I had a mishap on a project at work, I’d burned my hand, ran out of gas…

Oh yah, and my boyfriend of two years had broken up with me.

And by broken up with me, I mean I ran into him and his other girlfriend at a restaurant.

I ran out of the restaurant before he could say a word.

I don’t like to be lost.

So I packed some snacks, checked the weather, made sure my phone was charged and clicked my dishwasher on before I walked outside to drive up to a familiar place that I had been going to since I was 16.

The drive took the same amount of time that it always does. I parked in the same spot I always do. Threw on my backpack, locked my car and trudged down the same trail.

I knew the map, and the phone and the trail guides were nestled into my backpack, but I also knew I wouldn’t need them. I also knew they wouldn’t help me if I got lost.
I had a feeling the lost was coming. In this town I’d lived in all my life. In the job I’d been in for 12 years, with the friends I had, had since high school.
I’ve fought the lost off for a long time. By always being prepared. By never risking.

And it came anyway. And my maps, and plans and access to google wasn’t going to help it. 

It took me thirty minutes to get the spot I always stopped at. To look at the view that felt like peace.

But I could still feel the lost coming.

I didn’t think the lost was possible here. I didn’t think that feeling of directionless was possible when you knew where you were going.

I knew where I was going. And it was still there. 

I had a feeling it would still be there Monday, when I walked into work and Thursday when I went out for drinks and next Saturday when I stared at the mountains again.

I needed to make a decision. I needed to not be lost anymore.

My backpack buzzed. 
I shoved my hand in the pocket to find my phone knowing that when I pulled it out it would be Declan calling. As he had been, everyday since Wednesday.

I couldn’t answer. I was letting the voicemails pile up. 

They’d make me feel more lost.

Not just from him but from our mutual friends, from his sister. 

Everyone trying to help me not feel lost. 

But it was too late.

I put my backpack back on and retied my shoes to start the trek back to my car. 

The tears were halfway down my face before I even realized I was crying.

I was lost. 

Every plan, every hope, every dream, every vision I had ever had.

Gone.

A life that was so entwined, now was missing a piece.

And I was lost in the middle of my home.

And I wanted to run. To run fast. To end up somewhere where no one knew me.

To end up somewhere where lost wouldn’t feel so hard.

I’ve heard stories of people getting lost in the woods, or the country, or being in a foreign place and not knowing the language.

But this. Getting in lost when I was in the exact place I knew I was supposed to be?

This isn’t something you tell a story about.

I heard footsteps coming up the path towards me so I quickly wiped my eyes and prepared to give a smile and a wave as I crossed paths with whomever was in front of me.

The minute I was out of hearing, the tears started falling again. 

I made it to my car without anyone seeing me and as I pulled out of the parking lot I had the urge to turn left instead of right.

All of my life I’ve always turned right. Whenever I have met a fork in the road, I choose the right path. The path that won’t cause me to get lost or lose my way.

But, maybe I needed it. Maybe I needed to live in the lost.

My autopilot found me in my driveway. 

Home.

Lost.

My phone buzzed again. I knew it was him. I knew to get myself out of the lost I might need to get more lost.

I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and reached for my phone.

“Hey”.

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