The day is warm, but still very wet. The melted snow has yet to find its way down a drain and into the river. The sidewalk is mostly clear as I stroll home, but I watch my step. A makeshift stream flows down the hill, first on one side of the sidewalk, and then the other. I step over the water with ease. As I continue along, the path flattens out, and I have only the occasional puddle to step around. I carry on. Suddenly I’m confronted with a puddle of a monstrous size. It stretches across two or three sidewalk squares and is at least 5 centimeters deep. The murky water stands in my way. I freeze. I contemplate going further; I want to go further; if I am ever going to get home, I have to go further! But I can’t; I’m stuck. I think about turning around, backing away, or calling a friend to ask for a ride home. I can’t call a friend. They’d laugh at my problem and say it’s small. Besides, who would I call? My problem isn’t small. It looms over me, unconquerable. I have to get home. I can’t. I can’t get home. I’m never going to make it there. I’m trapped. My vision blurs. I feel a tear sliding down my cheek. I bite my tongue and blink away the tears. There has to be away, I tell myself. But, I cannot see the way. I cannot see past the puddle that forbids my progression. I’m ready to give up. I sit down and wait for the puddle to dry up. It might take days and I am helpless. A sudden wind comes upon me, causing me to shudder. I can’t stay here. I can’t wait for things to change. I have to do something. Tears are sliding down my cheek again. They’ll only make the puddle bigger. I have to do something. I stand up in search for another way around. On either side of the puddle, the grass is saturated with water, marshland. Walking there would be no better than walking through the puddle itself. I look up at the sun, feel its warmth against my face and push aside the discouragement that keeps creeping into my mind. When I look back down at the water, I see my reflection looking up at me. She’s pathetic. Her eyes red from tears, her hand clutching her phone, hoping that someone will call and help her along, or at least listen to her complaint. “I’m here,” I tell my reflection.
“I can’t do this.”
“Come on. We’ll do this together.”
I look again along the banks of the puddle. A short distance to the right lays a strip of packed snow that I hadn’t noticed before. If I can get there, I can follow it to the other side. It’s not much of a leap, but I’ll have to jump. I look around once more, but I have no other option. I focus on the snow, bend my knees and then I’m in the air. When I land, I left out a sigh of relief. I follow the slippery island to its other end, and with one large step I am back of solid ground. I glance at the puddle splotched sidewalk before me, hold my head high and carry on home.