Megan Barnett

United States


July 9, 2015

The fields here were once green and teeming with the promise of life. No trace of the bitter winter was apparent in all of its beauty. I remember walking to the fields, not even a mile away from my house, walking through on the concrete path that divided it, and steering off the path just before my feet could touch the wooden planks of the red bridge that shaded over the stream next to them. The trail was clear as day, all you had to do was follow it. Through the bumpy curves and broken earth it brought me closer to my destination and the sense of independence.


The sun was just about to set, creating a soft angelic glow in the corner of my eye. I picked up my walking pace, starting instead to jog, run, full on sprint. The excitement of being off on my own, without anyone knowing, lifted the weight off my shoulders I didn't even know I had. I was lighter and on a natural high that could only be described as living. My curly hair flew against the wind as I ran to the fork in the trail. I stopped, breathing heavily and smiling.


It was just another "left or right" situation. Nothing too drastic, but I chose the right. The trail ended not even thirty yards from the fork in the road, and came to an open space at the side of the stream. A tree sat near the edge lazily leaning to its right, tall and proud and ancient looking. I walked to the tree and stood on the roots that pierced the ground through curly wave-like motions. Somewhere above me birds chirped and the sound of the leaves rustling in the wind captured my attention. I looked up above me, into the green canopy, and glanced over to the setting sun. Placing a hand on the trunk of the tree I felt the grooves and crevices and excitement poured into me once again.


My foot on the trunk of the tree and my hand wrapped around the lowest branch. Each move half-heartedly thought out as I climbed higher and higher. Soon I was high enough to touch the tallest leaves. Adrenaline coursed through my veins, even when I rested on a branch. Below me the stream followed silently and the birds had fallen silent; everything below me seemed to fall out of existence. I watched from the tree as the sun was casting its final glow.


Recklessness was the only thing to describe my actions. No longer was I the Anchor. I was free and unbound. My past didn't define me and neither did the scars on my body. The necklace around my neck felt more and more out of character than it ever had before. As I gazed past the trees and the green fields I knew in my heart that I wasn't meant to be tied down to the formalities of humanity. I wanted to explore and discover and live my life to the very point that I could say, "There was nothing I didn't do." I didn't represent the thing that I'd been displaying around my neck day after day for the past year. I unclasped the chain around my neck and looked at the small bronze anchor that hung from it. All I wanted to do was drop it into the stream, but doing so would mean that there was no turning back. That I was going to keep chasing this feeling of lightness forever. It was something I couldn't do. As insane as it sounded this necklace was my security and safety. It was what kept me grounded and secure.


I placed the necklace into the pocket of my jeans before looking at the horizon one last time. I breathed in the crisp air once more and started back down the tree. On the way back I felt the weight come back and placed on the necklace that, not just two hours ago, had represented who I was. It was more of a pretense.


Six months later and I am an anchor; a stable and rational human being. I am known as Anchor because I am calm, cool, and collected. I never get angry or sad, and never show disapproval. I am the wall my friends and family lean on, the one they know will catch them no matter how hard they might fall. "You shouldn't concern yourself with their problems. Always put yourself first," My dad said to me at one point. But I can't help that I want to come second or third or fourth or fifth if it means that the people I care about are happy.


However I've lost my anchor, and although I miss it I'm glad it's gone. It just means I'll have to become myself. 



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