Nearing the tracks and finally hidden in the trees, the old feelings began to surface. Echoes of the last words the doctor said were repeated in my mind:
"Don't do anything that hurts."
Life hurts. What am I to do? Live a miserable, safe existence? My neck feels great, but I am unhappy. She alone has the answer. It took me days to recover from my last visit. The better I feel, the more I want. The more I take, the longer the recovery, and the greater the regret. I am powerless, the lure twitches and I move forward, mouth agape. Even the ghosts of what once was great and now lies in ruin, cannot breath reason into my aching lungs. I am in the grip. I am lost. The warnings mean nothing.
I pass people walking, they are clueless to the magic next to them, they don't see it. I take the left and leave the park. I cross the bridge and into the wilderness. I read the signs, I know I should resist but I turn anyway and forget logic. I am back in her arms, the primordial smell of the wet leaves and the closed canopy, are all I feel. I am a man again. Reason is gone.
I remember every part of her, every curve. I know from experience not to get comfortable, not to ignore her, she has punished me before without mercy. It is a delicate dance, and the beauty is in the details, not the destination.
I reach the intersection. The choice is brutal. Go forward and get the immediate gratification, only to suffer for days, or be sensible and head back. I have to ride less, to ride more. I have to be smart and go slow. I have to fight every instinct of what I want. The visceral and cerebral wrestle for supremacy. I take the path of reason, and turn my back on the best of her, laid out before me like a dream. Her skies go grey and heavy. The tears fall gently at first, and then heave in waves of sadness. I retreat back to my world. I can't be with her now, and if I am ever with her again, it may never be the same. I have to live with my inadequacies and face the changes that are coming with or without my consent. I have to lay down with my flaws like an enemy. I have to befriend it and learn to exist in its shadow. I will never be the same again. The adjustments never end. Move forward.
Lightning flashes and the thunderous roar envelopes the air for miles. I am unafraid. To die in a beam of light would be glorious, but I have a new burden to endure and I know I will not be taken. The rain buffets me in sheets and flows by the curb like a river. My sins wash off and float away to the pipes and the ditches, dispersing into distant lakes. I am reborn. I will never take her for granted again, but first there must be pain.