The wrappings around Trinity’s ears were thicker this morning than usual. She pulled the hood of her extra large hood over the top of her head to disguise the extreme measures she’d been forced to take. She locked the motel door and shoved muffins and a bottle of juice into the giant pocket in front of the sweatshirt. She walked slowly to the rent a car that glistened with some morning dew in the midst of the gravel parking lot. She could smell the pine trees that swayed silently with the help of many layers over her ears. She stopped to watch their thin tops sway and appreciated their dance. She didn’t see things much anymore.
She felt gravel grind under her feet and the scratch of some weeds on her calves. Their sharp odor bit at her nose as she crushed the stalk under her shoe. Nature smelled. She smiled. She felt peace for the first time in a long time. She breathed in the new air that barely held any night chill in it. It was 8:00 and the heat was already claiming the day. She drove away from the motel following the GPS that guided her to an old abandoned campground, the gate tipped and broken on its hinges. She lifted it as high as she could and opened it wide enough for her car. She felt the creaking in her bones. It was two hours from the motel. She did not want to risk attracting attention, even with the overgrown road that turned off a numbered road with no name. She just couldn’t risk it. She needed to be alone with her thoughts and her hearing. People were a complication she couldn’t tolerate anymore.
Trinity pulled her car through and rested the gate in the same place she had found it. She brushed over the damp earth that was turned up with pine needles and crawled through the gate. She hid her car near the old lodge that was missing all its windows except a few jagged pieces that hung like loose teeth.
She pulled down her hood and began unraveling the wool scarves from her head. A flood of static hit her and she stopped to draw a breath. She could do this. She just needed to take it slow. She shook her trembling fingers and rubbed them until they had enough blood in them to undo the clasps on the first layer of ace bandages from around her ears. She should really just buy the ear protectors they wear at airports. It wouldn’t look any less ridiculous than a hundred scarves. She pulled the bandages off and wrapped them into rolls. She stopped. A sharp tweet of a bird, but she couldn’t stop now. She still had two more bandages to remove.
When she had three rolls of bandages resting on a tree stump, she stopped to listen for quite awhile. Chipmunks skittered across the ground and crawled through their underground tunnels. Wind flickered through bird wings. They landed in the trees and called to family and friends. Something strode through the undergrowth just out of sight. More chirps and creeks as bugs and birds chased each other. Squirrels jumped from branch to branch. An owl stretched as it settled into sleep. Deer chewed on greenery. The wind plucked the pine needles. A thousand more lives filled the gaps of her hearing. She sorted through the noise and tried to place them all into different columns and then she pulled out her earplugs. She felt herself drown in the very sound of the earth breathing. Black smudged around her vision and then dragged her under. Her brain shut down.
I used “listen” as my writing prompt today. Pick a word and write. It’s fun. You’ll like it.