Standing at the brink of success or failure, Tom stopped in the middle of the clearing. The autumn leaves littered the ground, in a crazy paving of colour. He loved being here, never felt like he was alone. Amongst the constant chatter of the birds, speaking to each other, he felt a sense of peace he could never find in the city.
Today, there was nothing to do but walk.
He had travelled this path, once when he was a young boy. He remembered going with his parents, to a cottage with roses over the doorway. Inside one bedroom, one kitchen and a front room. The warmth from the log burner called to him, and he knew he would find peace there.
The loss of his wife, his children grown up, he needed to take a step back from life. Take back his roots, and just give himself a break for once. Sometimes you could only help others, if you put yourself first.
One step, then he was walking into the trees, going towards them as a man, but ending his journey as a child.