The Guardian

Catherine loved her morning walks. It set the tone for the day. To her it was a must. She suffered terrible anxiety ever since a concert she attended a couple years back. It was her first time in the mosh pit. Her girlfriend had won the tickets in a radio contest and invited her to join. It was an early birthday gift. Had she known what would transpire, she would have declined.

Mosh pits are known for physicality. Catherine knew this but at the same time she had no idea how violent it could be. The concert had barely begun when the crowd started surging. More and more people rushing the stage. People were being trampled. Catherine had been knocked to the floor and tried time and time again to rise to her feet. Each time she was stepped on and knocked back down. Out of nowhere a stranger came to her rescue. He pushed people back and picked her up, carrying her to safety. She sat safely in a corner, shaking and trying to gather herself. It seemed impossible. The tears ran down her face as she gasped for air. She looked up and saw the stranger that had rescued her. He was a handsome man with dark hair and piercing eyes. He smiled at her and handed her a bottle of water. Her hands were bleeding from being trampled. She dropped the bottle and bent over to pick it up. When she rose, the stranger that had saved her, was gone.

Since that night she suffered anxiety and panic attacks. She’d have nightmares about that night and would wake up in a full blown panic attack. She found that her walks helped with her anxiety. She never missed a morning walk. It was as essential to her as the air she breathed.

This morning she decided to check out a new walking path that had just opened. The town had been working on revitalizing the downtown area. She had heard about the natural beauty of this new path. Just what she needed.

She walked the path slowly as it was her first time. There was so much to see. The gardens and statues were breathtaking. Near the end of the path was an area covered on each side by trees. The shade was a welcome sight. The morning had heated up quickly. She wasn’t even but a few feet in when the trees seemed to be closing in on her. She could feel herself start to panic. She knew she didn’t have the time or energy to turn back and walk another five miles. She continued to move forward. She tried to anyways. Everything was closing in on her. She went to her knees trying to keep from going into a full blown panic attack. Slow steady breaths. Breathing in and breathing out. She lifted her head and at the clearing she saw a shadow of what appeared to be a man. He was motioning to her.

She felt like someone had lifted her to her feet. She looked around but the only person she saw was at the clearing. He was still motioning to her. She took a step forward, the tears falling like rain. Then she took another step. She just kept moving towards the stranger at the clearing. It seemed to be taking an eternity. She finally made it to the clearing and there she saw the man that had rescued her at the concert. He smiled at her and put a loving hand on her shoulder. One regret she had, was never thanking him for what he did for her. She gathered herself and found the words this time. He smiled. As she walked towards the parking lot he walked alongside her, in silence. She finally reached her car and she turned to thank him again but he was gone.

-LA Vent Aug 2019

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