Esme decided to climb the mountain and find enlightenment because it was the only way to win Lonnie back. If she had a spiritual experience at the spot Lonnie described as “the definition of sacred” that would prove they were meant to be, right?

It was auspiciously sunny the morning Esme set out. She had stuffed a backpack with granola bars, water, a pink and teal meditation rug she’d bought online, and a journal she’d bought at the coffee shop. The trails were lovely, and she took lots of pictures as evidence. She heard birds cawing and a lot of droning, buzzing noises she assumed were bugs, which meant she was definitely experiencing nature.

She tried to think of all the things Lonnie would like about being here. She couldn’t help thinking of all the things about Lonnie she missed.

Clouds had rolled in by the time she reached the overlook. At some point on the way up, she had stepped on a condom and had to scrape it off her shoe with a rock. Seated on her rug, empty journal in hand, the first raindrops began to fall. Esme wrote a single sentence before retreating:

“I hate being alone.”

* * *

Story by Gregory M. Fox