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Ready to let go

PART 3

THE CANOPY


Lifting up into the skies
rise the trees and their crowns.
Getting hit by harsh weather
they'll be knocked and pushed down.

So why is it that most of the wildlife
in this canopy resides?
Because here they grow resilient,
and rejoice in the warmth of the sun.

17TH OF JULY

Samantha

The alarm rings and I get up straight away. I rub my eyes, and then I quickly do ten sit ups and stretch my arms a little. I’m still feeling a bit on edge, but I tell myself I’ve got a busy day ahead, and I can’t worry about any of it now. There’s just so much in my mind, that I think for one day, I deserve to turn it all off and just enjoy this city. The city where my family comes from.

So I head over to Em’s bed, and pull the covers.

“Come on, sleepy head, time to-”

Em’s bed is empty, just a mess of pillows under the blankets. My mind automatically goes back to survival mode, and runs through all of the worst case scenarios.

Em is gone, gone forever. Maybe she was abducted, and now she’s lying dead on a dodgy alley. Or maybe she abandoned me. I look to the side, and see that all of her belongings are still there. Okay, she didn’t abandon me, she wouldn’t leave all her precious things behind. I try to think logically: Maybe she just got up early. But who am I kidding?! That’s not realistic at all!

Before I can think about what I’m doing, I reach down to feel the sheets on her bed, and find that they’re cold. Oh my, she is so dead. She’s been abducted, probably got up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet and got kidnapped by a weird dude or something. No, stop it Sam, you can’t keep thinking like this. This most likely has a simple and logical explanation.

My hand is still resting on the bed as the door to the room opens and I jump up, hitting the back of my head against the top bunk.

“Damn it!”

I rub my head as I turn around, only to find a confused looking Em standing under the doorframe, her eyebrow raised.

“Um, sorry, didn’t mean to startle you,” She smiles weirdly. “What were you doing?” She asks, pointing at her bed and sounding as confused as I feel.

“Me? Um, nothing…” I say as I straighten up and step away from the bed. “Where were you?”

She stares at me for a moment before she answers.

“I woke up busting… so I went to the loo.”

I stay there for a moment, wondering why my mind sometimes overreacts in such weird ways.

“Come on, hurry up, are you not gonna get changed?” She says after a moment of awkward silence. “We have a huge day ahead, and I’m really excited about it!” With that, Em smiles her everyday sweet smile, grabs some stuff from her bag and heads back out the door. “I’m gonna have a shower and fix my hair and make up, see you back here when I’m ready?”

Without waiting for an answer, Emma walks out of the door.

I do a little bit of stretching before getting changed into today’s outfit, a pair of thick black leggings with a red stripe on the side, a long sleeved burgundy top with a drawing of a panda bear on it, and a white knitted sweater. I leave my bag ready by the bed, and pop my winter jacket on top of it. Once I’m ready, I spray some perfume and sit on the bed.

While I wait for Emma to return, I read a new book I started a few days ago. It’s a compilation of short articles that Em gifted me, called This is me letting you go. She said it might be good for me, obviously referring to my break up last summer. I thought it was silly at first, but the reality is that I love how the book is written, and how every individual chapter seems to have the perfect words for a certain moment in life.

I’m currently reading a chapter called ‘Maybe you and I don’t get another Universe’ which so far has been talking about how the theory of the Multiverses might sound really appealing, but the reality is that this is the only universe we have. Just this, here and now, and we need to accept and embrace that. There's a paragraph in it that really gets to me.

It reads, ‘Of all of all possible Universes, we landed in the one that broke us. The one where two halves did not make a whole and every molehill turned into a mountain. This is the Universe where in ten hundred thousand tiny ways, we were wrong for each other. It’s the one where we’re always going to be.’

It gives me a certain kind of peace of mind, reading this and accepting it. The fact that me and Brad were never meant to be is something that I think I can fully comprehend now. And I realise that Em was right in a way, because this holiday made me almost forget about him.

I still don't know how I spent so many years under his influence, not realising that he was a bully. But I’m trying to forgive myself for it, for not loving myself enough to let go. Maybe I just needed to be reminded of what loving myself felt like, or understand myself more. And now, I finally see what he was doing for what it was. I still feel emotionally bruised, but sitting here right now, reading the right words and hugging myself tightly, I’m letting go of the remnants of us still lingering inside of me.

I loved him, I really did, and I know he loved me back, but I realise now that love is not always enough. That in a thousand tiny ways, we were so wrong for each other.

“Hey,” Em says as she walks back into the room, a towel wrapped around her hair.

“Hey girl, What’s up?” I reply as I make myself smile, hoping she can’t see the few tears I feel were threatening to run down my cheeks.

“Weird news,” she replies as she leans down and towel dries her hair. “I ran into Tane in the hallway, he was with his brother, and he told me they had to head out for some family business today or something like that,” she adds as she straightens back up and brushes her long curls with her fingers, a cress between her brows.

“Oh, okay,” I mutter.

“Did you know he had a dazzling hot brother? I know he mentioned his family was around here, but hot damn, I almost fainted when I saw the guy standing next to him!” Em says as she puffs up her hair, trying to make her curls more bouncy.

“I didn’t even know he’d be meeting with his brother today.” I say mostly to myself, lost in my thoughts.

“Neither, maybe it wasn’t really planned? But, he left us the car for the day!” Em adds happily, “I’ve got the keys.” She finishes as she dangles the car keys in front of my face.

“Oh, okay,” I repeat, feeling a bit silly.

I was hoping I could sort things out with him today, as everything felt so weird last night. I wonder why he didn’t mention anything about meeting his brother over here. But I guess he did say from the start that this whole roadtrip was about fixing some family dramas. And again, it’s not like he needs to tell me what he’s up to all the time.

Shaking my head, I stand up and put the book away.

I guess I’ll have to wait. I just hope we can go back to what we had yesterday morning. I don’t know what it was, or where this is going... I only know that I can’t stop thinking about him… About that moment we shared at the beach. Because in a thousand tiny ways, Tane feels right.

✢✢✢

Emma

This place is amazing. Me and Sam are walking side to side through a wooden path in the middle of the Wai-O-Tapu thermal wonderland, and everything around us is just surreal. I look to one side, to the white weird looking soil and read the signs warning visitors not to step off the path. It makes me want to step off the path even more, but the soil does look deadly, so I don’t.

The air is filled with the reek of sulphur, and clouds of fumes linger just above the surface. This is hands down the most epic, out of this world place I’ve ever been to.

“This is so cool!” I say, and the level of excitement is so obvious in my tone of voice.

I’ve felt so full of energy all day, singing away in the car as I drove, jumping excitedly at every new pool of geothermal water we walked past. I’m not gonna lie, Tane is an alright dude, I like him, but having time for just me and Sam today, feels like a blessing. It’s just so much fun when it’s just us being our weird selves, and Sam has been a little weird since we arrived here, so I’m hoping I can help her get back to normal. And maybe I’m a bit pumped because I was texting a certain someone this morning...

“I’ve heard about this place so many times,” Sam says. “I’ve seen the pictures, even videos, but being here… this is a whole different level of amazingness!”

“I know, right? Okay, go stand there, I’ll take some pictures of you,” I say as I point to a deck in front of us. “You can show them to Tane later,” I add with a wink as she leans against the handrail.

“Why would I do that?” She says. “He’s just… a guy, you know.” She shrugs, and I can tell she’s trying to look unconcerned. “I probably won’t ever see him again after this trip, so we should stop talking about him.”

I raise my brows as high as I can muster, and then point the camera up as Sam stands in pose.

“I know you don’t really mean that, Sam,” I say, “It’s okay, you’re crazy for the guy, I can tell! What does it even matter if we’ll be gone in a few weeks? You can still be crazy for him.” Sam looks up at the camera, and she looks ready to complain, so I click the shutter.

“Hey!” She complains, and I click it again, and again, and again. Sam starts walking back towards me, laughing while the shutter keeps on clicking, and when she finally reaches it, she covers the lens with one hand.

“Oh, stop it, Em!” She complains, but she’s still laughing.

She pushes the camera down, and I start scrolling through the pictures straight away, looking for something. I stop when I find it, and point the camera’s screen towards Sam, showing her one of the photos I just took.

“Look,” I say.

It’s a picture of her standing awkwardly mid-step, a huge cloud of fumes and mist behind her back. The greens and yellows running through the white ground behind the wooden platform make a beautiful abstract picture, and matches Sam’s hair pretty nicely.

“It’s a good one” She says, not sounding totally convinced.

“No, look at the stupid grin on your face, Samantha.” I say as I point at the screen. “I know you, you can fool yourself, but not me. This is the same silly smile I see on your face everytime you look at Tane and you think no one is looking.”

Sam looks back at the picture for a second, and I know she sees what I see, how her eyes are shining with so much happiness. How her smile is running from one ear to the other, half laughing. But instead of agreeing, she punches me softly in the arm.

“Fuck off, Em, I barely know the guy.” She says as she turns to walk away.

“You now, love doesn’t always need to last forever,” I say trying to sound as casual as I can, and then I punch her back as I follow along.

I already know I won, Sam never curses that badly, so that can only mean I’m right, and she’s mad that I am. So I change the subject before Sam replies to my last comment. I just want her to think about it.

“Come on,” I say as I start to prance away. “Let’s go check that crazy lake with the bright orange edge.”

---
Note: The book Sam is reading is 'This is me letting you go' from Heidi Priebe, which I can't recommend enough.
And Wai-O-Tapu thermal Park in Rotorua, New Zealand is a magical place! Highly recommend you look into it💕

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