It's been a long day. You stumble in the door, wearied by the stresses of the day. You reflect on everything that happened as you stagger to the bathroom to wash your face. It was just one of those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days. Nothing went right! Your thoughts simmer as you look into the mirror, seeing only a tired, disgruntled face looking back at you. You're tired of people. You're tired of work. Your tired of responsibilities. You ask yourself out loud why life is so hard, a sharp edge of bitterness in your voice. You make a personal goal to take tomorrow off, and not to talk to a single soul. Yep, a good day of lounging on the couch, watching movies, maybe some ice cream... that will give you the boost you need to get back into the flow of things.
For now, you decide to collapse onto your bed, clothes and all. Sleep takes you almost instantly.
You open your eyes, squinting, until your eyes focus. You rub them, shivering. You are standing in a tranquil forest glen, but the branches are empty and the trunks cold and bare. A thick layer of snow is covering the ground, and the sky above is a deep, roiling gray. There are snowflakes glittering through the air, one lands squarely on your nose with an icy bite. Where are you? As you look around, you see a trail. Since the alternative is glomping through the snow, you decide to follow it.
You walk for what seems like a few minutes, but perhaps a few hours, and you come to a clearing in the trees. A pond slowly comes to view, and the trail ends right at the bank of it.
Now, your natural instinct tells you this is the end of the trail. But you feel something inside you, encouraging almost, to step onto the ice. You stand there, hesitant. You've been on thin ice before, and that was an experience you won't soon forget. The feeling doesn't go away, and you again receive the strangely comforting prompting to step onto the pond. You take a deep breath, and step forward.
For a moment, you think you must be dying. Your life is flashing before your eyes. But these aren't the memories you expected... You see yourself, young, stealing your little sister's candy and pushing her to the ground. The image flashes forward to another of you, furtively, slyly, stealing a snickers bar behind your mom's back at the grocery store. More and more flit before your eyes; fights with your parents, lies you told to your friends... hurt feelings, bitter choices, angry words. As the memories progress, they seem to gain speed. You are in high school, now leaving to college, being fired from your job, leaving your old apartment for a cheaper one, the memories flood on. Then, as suddenly as they started, they stop. You hadn't noticed that you had fallen to your knees during the onslaught.
You are in the middle of the pond now, but you realize you are quite safe. This water is frozen; probably several inches, if not feet, thick. Still on your knees, you realize your face is bitterly cold, wet with tears. What was the purpose of all this? Why did you just relive all the worse memories of your life? Wasn't your life at least fairly happy? Why can you only remember the worst parts? Exhausted, forlorn, your shoulders slump and the tears continue to track down your freezing cheeks.
Suddenly a voice cuts the icy silence.
"Maybe you'd like to know what this all means?"