Jean

Out of breath, I paused, leaned up against a tree. I took up running to satisfy my anxiety. Be faster, stronger, build up the body, wear out the mind. Giving into the voice that demanded I move, kept me from burning up from the inside out. Trouble was I was getting too good at it. Took a lot longer to get to the point where my legs tingled, leaded down like the earth was magnetized. My brain kept thinking when I wanted it numb.

With my back pressing against rough bark, I looked up. The clouds were darkly gathering and splaying like an ink blot test ever changing form on a moving canvas. Tendrils of association overlaid innocent shapes, bringing past images into the present—that cloud looks like a scream. Why not a canopy of green branches, draping a path of pink pebbles—exactly like where I was standing right now?

The wind picked up and I shuddered. I pictured Paul reading my dream journal as if the words on the page could be an infection. Images can seep into skin. My intent was to treat that journal like an effigy, instead all that mess had the chance of gaining hold inside of someone else.

A roll of thunder growled above me and the first spattering of fat, cold drops fell. It made me take notice. I scanned the path I was on. Trees and trees and more trees. Dark skies. A building wind. A second ago, the sunlight dappled. A minute ago, the air caressed and sighed amongst all the sounds of nature and the scent of dotting wild flowers. I was out here in the wild world alone. And the world didn't care. It was big enough to change and stay the same with or without me. I decided that was a good thing.

I ran back to the house, burst through the door, grabbed the journal from Paul. I must have looked a sight. His startled face gave me joy.
"That was then." I said, deliberately tearing out the first page and ripping it up. "This is now. Shouldn't we make now better?" I tore another page. "Why should then mean more than now? There's nothing in here for you or me. There's no clues. No patterns. No reason why." Page after page eradicated until he took hold of my wrists.

But it was his eyes that stopped me. I was mistaken before, Paul's eyes looked nothing like Matt's. Paul's eyes were like a forest. A brown both warm and strong, a place to rest yourself after being out in the sun too long. He'd be fine with or without me. And that was a good thing.

"Hey." He said. "It's all right." And he helped me destroy the rest of the book.

There is no reason
why—No Reason is Why—why
can't change what happened.