She from Perth
—was fumbling around in the dark looking for the light switch. I hear the front door open and panic. I haven’t had the chance to introduce myself yet.
I hear footsteps leading to the room I’m in and before I can think, a figure is right behind me.
To not unduly frighten, I whisper “Hello, sorry I—” and hear a gasp. I brace for a blow, praying for a hand and not something more sinister.
Instead, I feel arms wrap around me warmly. A hug.
“You’re finally here,” a feminine voice softly breaks the dark in a vivid Australian accent.
“I am,” I quietly reply. “A few friends of mine said they’ll be here too.”
Her embrace calmly releases. “When do they get in?”
I think for a couple breaths. “I… don’t know, actually.” I ponder their absence for a while.
“Well, the sun’s just coming up, I’ve got some things to show you. Shall we go?”
My heart replies “Yes,” before my head has the chance to question. Her voice could heal the world.
We walk together through the neighborhood on the edge of the wilderness before arriving at a dirt path that leads into the forest.
Her accent blooms again, “I think you’ll like what’s beyond the road.”
We step through into a luscious emerald forest, with all colors of life erupting in every direction. Every blink brings a new painting. It stretches for kilometers.
Together, we talk about the many faces of life around us. The ten-armed palms that shade the path. The hibistanthiatus flower that closes when looked at. The orvulofolescence that perfumes the air with a molecule that binds to your favorite olfactory receptor.
At the end of every path—conversational and terrestrial—she repeats to me, “Life finds a way.”
It’s a refrain I could get used to hearing.
She leads me to a cliff overlooking the trails we’ve walked, with a waterfall in constant motion at its edge. We sit together, breathing mindfully and taking in the scene.
A minute passes. Then the day.
As the sun sets, her voice emerges again. “I hope you’re planning on staying a while.” Compassion fills my heart as it hears the invitation.
I open my mouth to reply and a something crosses the path below. My head snaps to find the shadow. My body tenses in instinct. My meditative hands turn to fists.
And in that same instant, I feel two palms come to rest on my hands.
“It’s okay,” she reassures me, “It’s okay.”
My fear freezes in place, then melts as her words sink in. I un-ball my fists and turn my palms up to meet hers.
She grabs my hands with a smile. “Will you stay a while?”
My head and heart answer unanimously this time. “Yes, I’d love to.”
The moment fades as I wake to the slightest mist of sunlight diffused on my curtains.
Birdsong taps on the glass of my window. For a moment, my pillow smells of forest air.
My dream is already half-forgotten as I get up and walk to the bathroom. For the first time in a while, the image that meets me in the mirror looks rested.
Brushing my teeth, a subdued thought rests on mind. I’ve never been to Perth. Something tells me I have to go.