She followed him quietly towards the edge of the nearing forest “I haven’t been out here since Frederik died”—she outstretched her arm to move away the overgrowth of weeds and wildflowers—“he used to keep up a trail so that we could come through here, and as you can see, it’s been a while.”
“Not so bad”—Ed nodded and looked back at her smiling—“we have to remember how to first travel the lands before we enjoy them.”
“Though I admire your enthusiasm friend, I still don’t understand why you want me to bring you this way.” She struggled to pass through a thicker patch of weeds and bushes while swatting away pesky clouds of mosquitoes and other flying pests.
Ed noticed her struggle and then assisted her until the both had come to the edge of a running creek. Jen admired the gentle running waters caressing the rock bed and searched the waters for any fish or turtles. She recalled numerous visits to the creek with Frederik and how they’d bring a 5 gallon bucket and a fishing rod with some bait and fishing knife.
“We used to sit here long into the night and try to hook up some trout or rock bass.” She explained while searching the waters. “Over there was our spot”—she pointed to a giant rock to the left of them—“he called it the lucky rock.” A smile came upon her face at the memory.
“Sounds like you both were pretty happy”—Ed examined—“not something that a lot of people have nowadays.”
She shot a glance of sadness towards Ed, “were …”
“What happened to him if you don’t mind my asking?” Ed perched his body against a nearby tree, crossing his arms in front of himself.
“Hard to tell”—she began in short—“one night he just didn’t come back and it was explained to me that he was found dead down there by Trevor’s point but they sure weren’t forthcoming with any detail. Course, this is one a those towns where people start talkin’ and spreadin’ rumors so there’s speculation of everything from murder to faked death.”
“You can’t get a straight answer from a medical examiner?” Ed questioned.
She sighed, and then took a seat on a medium sized rock, “I have no business because I wasn’t married and his family never really cared for me so … I am left like this.”
Ed could see the sadness spill into her eyes “Do you mind if I come over there and give you a hug?”
Jen glanced towards him through a shimmering film of tears, and simply nodded.
They embraced in the arms of another; Jen felt like she could finally release the tears she’d been choking back since the funeral. Her knees felt weak and shaky as she collapsed onto him, grabbing at his shirt to keep positioned upright. He held her tight and let her drain the pent up emotion that had been building deep within her soul.
“I tried to bury it deep”—she sipped in a breath—“It’s so hard to keep my cool though, it’s killing me I… I just want to give up!”
“I will not let you.” Ed said coolly.
But you barely know me she thought as she then pulled away from him in confusion; “Maybe we should keep moving.” She blotted out the tears from her eyes and continued to step away from him.
Though his presence had set her at ease, she was now lost in a whim of confusion and continued to step further away in a desperate effort to keep her walls up and remain safe.