I was a little girl again. With a ribbon in my hair that matched my dress which flowed down towards my socks which were pulled up past my ankles.
I was running away. From or to what I cannot say. I suppose from everything. And to whatever I could find.
When I came upon the inevitable crossroads, I chose “the road less traveled.” The road marked for sinners and mad people.
At first this hellish road scared me. Water filled the grass like a swamp. Another little girl stood under a tree ripping sticks and throwing them into the murky river. When she looked up at me and smiled her face was dark and twisted; that of the insane.
I was frighted. Should I turn back? Should I have gone down the simpler path?
I walked on and soon the swamp was no longer a swamp but a sprawling rice field. The sun shone brightly overhead and everything felt clean. Open. Fresh. Alive.
I looked across the field and saw a huge elephant standing watching me. Right away, as if I had always known, as if it was what I had been looking for, I thought, “That is life.” The elephant was life.
Next to the elephant stood an old men with a white beard, also watching me from across the field.
I ran as fast as I could through the watery grass but when I finally reached them, the elephant was just a baby and the old man had turned into a little boy.
Without a word, the boy took my hand and we began walking back through the field, the elephant moving alongside us. As we walked, we aged. Getting older and older with each step. The elephant too grew as we did.
The boy began talking to me. About life. About what is important and how to be happy. If only I could remember what he told me. All I remember is watching as the three of us grew old together as we walked hand-in-hand through the fresh water of a rice field.