It had been more than a year, due to the pandemic, since I’d last been in even a small group of people, so being surrounded by a large crowd made me feel as if I were inundated by a sea of humanity. But I was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time and I suddenly found myself caught up in a burgeoning crowd that was gathering in the square with the statue of Robert E. Lee across from the main library.
My situation was such that I needed to get away. It wasn’t that I had no sympathy for their cause, but I was feeling suffocated, like a single little lamb in the middle of a flock of sheep. So I managed to maneuver my way through the protesters and started to walk away from the crowd.
I just knew I need some peace and quite, some solitary time. I walked without direction or even awareness until I found myself surrounded by tall trees on a path in the middle of the deep woods. I stopped, looked around, and found a place to sit just off the path. I finally felt like I could breathe again. I reached into my backpack and pulled out an apple and took a bite. It was delicious and refreshing.
I must have fallen asleep because it was dusk when I opened my eyes. I got back up and followed the path back into town, made my way to the square, and saw that the statue in the square had been pulled down. A crew was moving it to another location, somewhere I didn’t know.
But what I did know was that the impact of the past year of isolation was having a lasting effect on me. I had been politically active and never hesitated to participate in demonstrations and protest marches. But that was in the before days.
Written for Sadje’s What Do You See? prompt. Photo credit: Eric Muhr @ Unsplash. Also for these daily prompts: Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (inundate/solitary), Your Daily Word Prompt (burgeon), Word of the Day Challenge (statue), MMA Storytime (library), The Daily Spur (situation/apple), and Ragtag Daily Prompt (lamb),