I stood within an isolated garden, surrounded by brilliant green leaves punctured with pink and red roses. Following a floral path I put my nose to a near by Calendula allowing the sweet smell to flood my senses. A cottontail bunny hopped happily over grass blades that swayed at the tip of its toes. A harmony of birds chirping nearby fell upon my ears like bells. Stepping back I took in the enormous layout letting its welcoming appearance take hold of me. I was not sure when or how I arrived here but lost in it’s beauty all questions fell from my mind.
My eyes rested on the heart of the garden, where a circular fountain lay. Automatically I walked to the fountains edge, it’s surface flashed red and orange as coy fish fluttered merrily below. I sat upon the fountains edge, stuck in a trance watching the water surface dance, my whole body seemed to be transfixed by its calm, kind, generous beauty. Foolishly I leaned too far over the edge and fell head first. In that split second I thought I knew what to expect as my dry warm body made contact with the colorful wet surface. I expected to feel the soft crash of cool temperature, I was even a little delighted to meet the invigorating feel it gave my skin. But no such feeling came.
Instead of floating I sank at an alarming speed. Although it seemed impossible for the fountain to be so deep I continued sinking into darkening murky still water. It was neither cool nor warm, were it not for the pressure I would have seconded guess I was actually in water. I felt nothing, like I was falling into numbness for what felt like days. Until, finally, I felt its muddy floor seep between my toes. Instantly I kicked off and at that very same moment the need to breath took over all my senses. Concentrating all my strength to my legs I swam towards the surface. Eyes wide open I search for the surface but only darkness starred back giving me an eerie feel that no surface actually existed. But the need for air burned my insides and the pressure of the water seemed to increase. My chest felt it would collapse inward, my heart seemed to have shrank but because I knew it was still beating I did not dare stop. I struggled to swim as algae attached itself to my limbs weighing me down, the muscles in my legs stiffened from exhaustion but I fought the robotic feel that took over them. At last some dim light appeared above.
A spark went off inside me, bringing to life a flame of hope. Now even harder I kicked as if the heavens were my destination. My face broke the waters surface unexpectedly fast. Chilly dank air filled my thirsty lungs and I choked on the vinegar taste of the water. I opened my eyes blinking in shock, there was little light. I flinched at first as I realized there were other things floating in the pond with me. I squinted staring at the gray figures then jolted out of the water as I realized they were the rotting carcasses of the coy fish. I stammered to my feet and took another breath foolishly expecting sweet air only taking in more thick, bitter air. I surveyed the garden through the fog, the once welcoming oasis was now a rotting wasteland.
It was all a ruse, thought to be a safe haven garden it was actually a calamity. The soul of this haven was the embodiment of false hope and broken dreams. The fountain was a heart I heedlessly dove into only to find hatred and pain within its depth. And once there it grabbed hold of me hoping to steal back life it once contained. Falling in love was falling into dark dank hell. I could not stay I had to leave.
Trembling, I looked down at my hands they were not almond-red full with life but gray as if blood no longer flowed beneath the skin. I looked back at the fountain wondering if I had died there. The roses and calendulas were dried and molded. Bushes and trees bare, not a bird or bunny in sight. There was just no life here. Then gradually my ears picked up on muffled voices dispelling all else from my thoughts. It was coming from outside.
I ran to the high bushes that encased the decrepit garden and even though the bushes did not have leaves I still could not see past them. I screamed for help but stopped as no sound escaped. Stricken with fear I screamed three more times the next one longer than the last but no sound came. Suddenly the need to escape hit me just the same as the need to breath when I was in the fountain. I plunged my fist through the branches shocked but relieved as I was able to feel warm dry air on the other side. Adrenaline now took the wheel and I pulled and broke back branches in a fury. I wrestled against sharp tips that sliced and scratched my skin. Finally my right foot landed on soft grass and I contorted my body to twist completely out of its wicked constraints. Trembling now with joy I looked at my hands full with life again. I placed my right hand over my heart. It beat fast but felt smaller than when I arrived but I knew I was safe and I knew one day it would become whole again.