Jessie strode along the path with a purposeful energy in her stride. The sort of energy people hate looking at early in the morning because it reminds them that they truly are not morning people. But no one sent vengeful, envious glares Jessie's way this morning. On a glorious warm Saturday, when all the girls her age were at the beach, Jessie was out hiking. Alone.
She shouldn't be alone though. And she wouldn't be, if Michael hadn't broken up with her last night. He said he needed his space. Needed time. Jessie had been hurt but accepted his request. Until a couple hours later when she saw him and Amanda with tongues down each others throats. She had been so surprised. Shocked. Until Catherine told her that Manda and Michael had been sneaking around for months. Now she was angry. Angry at the betrayal. Angry no one had told her. Angry she'd been so stupid.
Jessie wasn't sure when the tears started. Or when she began to run. She couldn't really see the trees whipping past her or the path in front of her. She sort of felt them, felt the warmth of the sun and the trees and the earth...
She ran and ran and ran. When she started to cramp up, she'd jog, choking, until the pain passed. She was deep into the woods now. There was no path any more. She'd left the town, left all civilization for dozens of miles behind her with the pain and the hurt and the betrayal. The woods were still and quiet. She'd been running along the spine of the mountain and now, as darkness began to creep in around her, she started downhill, towards the river. By the time she reached the water, darkness had fallen. She didn't want to go back. The pain was waiting for her back in town. Her parents would miss her, but they wouldn't freak out until tomorrow night. She could always go back tomorrow.
She didn't bother lighting a fire. She curled up on a sandy part of the river bank, pulling her sweater tightly around herself. She couldn't hear anything but the water, and it's soothing ripples lulled her to sleep.