Solitude at Laurel Fork Falls, Cleansed by the River and Learning How to be Vulnerable

Boots Off to Dennis Cove Road:

     I went hiking alone today to connect some dots of the section I accidentally skipped. I immediately felt a sense of home when I was off in the woods alone again. When I made it down to Laurel Fork Falls, I watched as the river of water flowed beneath my feet and I remembered how wholesome it felt to experience the sensation in solitude and silence. I got a confirmation that it was time to part ways with my lover.

     There has never been a guy who I was able to see myself having a real future with, nor a man who has seen me truly, which was partially my fault because I wasn’t so vulnerable nowadays. I had grown tired of opening my heart only to start at ground zero again.

     Something I genuinely loved about myself was that no matter how much of myself I gave to someone, if there were certain boundaries that were crossed, I would turn the other cheek and walk away—it was not worth my time/energy to settle. I would rather deal with a feeling of heartbreak over being in a relationship for several years that turned sour because I was denying the signs in the very beginning… guarding my heart, so to speak.

     After I finished the section, I hitched a ride back to Boots Off and got picked up by an older Eastern European guy. He asked how old I was and if I was hiking alone.

     He said, “Someone as beautiful as you should be married or at least have a boyfriend.”

     I could tell the way he attempted to make the vibe sexual, but I just kept brushing it off. He drove me all the way back to Boots Off and I saw JJ at the bottom of the gravel road.

     I yelled, “That’s my friend!” Then, I hopped out of the car and thanked him for the lift.

     He said, “Bye, baby,” as he eye-fucked me.

     JJ told me to leap onto the running boards of his jeep and hold onto the “oh shit” handle. As I hung on for dear life, I laughed and squealed all the way up the hill as he picked up the speed and the car rattled me around on the gravel road. He drove me directly to the front door and I hopped off all giddy.

     Voodoo came back from helping out Sidetracked with some work. I quickly got a taste of him as he just looked so deliciously grimy and sweaty. He tasted musky and salty, as though his sweat mixed with the dirt, just the way I loved. He said he wanted to take a shower and I begged him not to.

     He goes, “Baby, my ass hairs are like two inches long. I NEED to wash my ass hair.”

     “Okay,” I said, “but only that! No face or armpits or hair.”

     I’ve actually gotten more and more turned off by the scent of shampoos and soaps. Over time, my body simply became disinterested in the “cleanliness” smell on a man.

     We hung out with Sidetracked and his crew for our last night—the boys smoked cigs and doobies while I sat on Voodoo’s lap. Sidetracked made us feel so wanted and appreciated since we had entered his space; often making comments about wanting to hold onto us for the whole summer.

     I felt so grateful that he was so open to doing an art trade with me for a place to stay, too. I got the opportunity to make him several pieces while at the same time being able to dive into a craft that brought me so much joy, and for that, I am forever grateful.

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