A Trail Revisited- S. Collin Ellsworth

Bio: In the writing world, Sarah Collins is known as Minnesota based author, S. Collin Ellsworth. She published the novels, "Answered", "Finding the Route 40 Phantom", and "The House Joey Built" under her pseudonym. Ms. Ellsworth also hosts the podcast, "10000 Lakes, 10000000 Books", featuring interviews with other Minnesota authors. Although born in Dayton, OH, Ms. Collins has called Minnesota home for over thirty years. She is a graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead. Along with her life partner, Matthew, Ms. Collins raises her daughter and son along the trails of Nine Mile Creek and Moor Park in Bloomington, MN.

Rebecca drove one of the few assets the judge granted her away from the courthouse. The proceedings ended quickly. After a decade of fighting, there was nothing left to say.

With the kids still in school, Rebecca drove aimlessly until it was time to get them. She mindlessly drove around downtown, uptown, and into the suburbs. Somehow she ended up at the nature reserve outside the city’s border, the same nature reserve where she met Him. “What am I, a masochist?” Rebecca said to herself.

Rebecca got out of the car and walked the trail. Her suit and designer flats were ill-suited for the wet, muddy terrain. Brown water seeped into her shoes. Isn’t this great, Rebecca thought, after being dragged through the mud in the divorce, I am covering myself with it!

Rebecca saw a heterosexual couple holding hands ahead of her . The sun generated a sparkle from the girl’s left hand. Isn’t this great, Rebecca internally retorted. I came to forget the past.

The only way to get in front of the couple on the narrow trail was to break through their hands. She squashed the urge to be obnoxious. The couple stopped at the dock overlooking the pond. “Here would be pretty,” the female said.

The male nodded in agreement.

This would have been the perfect time for Rebecca to continue onward and be rid of them. Instead, she stopped as well, looking out at the view she used to admire with Him.

“It will be a small party,” the female said. “I am sure the guests won’t mind standing if we offer them a pretty view.”

“Maybe,” the male said.

“There’s a tree that grows sideways to the left,” Rebecca called out. “A bride and groom can walk up the trunk. It makes for great Instagram.”

The couple looked at her. Rebecca gasped. She stood in front of Herself, nearly fifteen years ago, with Him! They walked through her. Rebecca followed them to all the spots they had considered: the pond, the hill that overlooks the prairies, and her favorite spot they considered, the fallen tree.

Rebecca shouted at them to get their attention as they chattered about how perfect their wedding pictures would look at each spot. Rebecca needed to tell her younger self not to be blinded. Her younger self remained fixated on the meaningless details of creating a wedding that demonstrated the magic of the love she and her ex shared. The wedding didn’t happen the way they planned that day. Rebecca’s mother-in-law influenced her son to have the ceremony at his family’s church and the reception at a nearby hotel.

“Not only that,” Rebecca yelled, “One of you will have to sacrifice your career for the children. It won’t be him! You’ll find yourself the only one willing to compromise to make anything work! It will be all for naught!”

The ghost of her younger self and Him disappeared.

Rebecca walked back to the pond. Her sad reflection broke into two, forming into the faces of her children. Rebecca shook her head as she realized she nearly tried to erase their existence. The marriage wasn’t all bad. Her children made it worth it.

Rebecca walked to her car. It was time to pick them up and begin their new normal. In this normal, she wouldn’t have to compromise.

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