The snow around him was perfect, save for the tracks he had made behind him.
Evan Bourne's eyes only looked down as he hiked through the snow covered path in his neighborhood woods. He was more careful than he normally would have been since he was nursing a broken leg and was using a pair of crutches to get around. Usually, he would have been climbing trees and jumping off rocks in his healthy state, even if there was snow everywhere. However, he was currently unable to do so, and each step was taken with severe caution.
Flakey precipitation began to fall from the sky. Evan looked up, and a few flakes fell onto his eyelashes. He let out a heavy sigh as he continued his adventure and prayed that it would only be a light dusting that fell from above. His journey had only begun, and he promised himself before he left his parents' house that nothing would stop him from doing this.
He needed to think.
It was stressful enough for Evan that he was currently trapped at home with a broken leg. The only silver lining in that scenario was that he could spend time with his family, as he currently was. Evan took the opportunity to get away from his own home in Florida, which he rarely spent any time at as it was, to visit his family in St. Louis. Of course they warmly opened their arms to their son, who they haven't seen for more than a day in years, ever since Evan took up wrestling as a serious profession.
He should have been more careful…
Evan's younger brother, Mike, still lived with his parents in St. Louis. He was Evan's only sibling, and he felt very protective over Mike. When Mike took up wrestling as well, Evan warned him to be careful and to not do anything stupid. Mike really wanted to use the Shooting Star Press to keep the move in the family, but Evan said it was way too dangerous.
At a show in front of a crowd of over two thousand people, including Evan, Mike Sydal attempted the Shooting Star Press in homage to his brother. That night, he was admitted to the hospital with a cracked skull.
Evan blamed himself. He blamed himself for signing his WWE contract. He blamed himself for becoming famous. If he stayed in the independent scene and stayed in Ring of Honor, maybe Mike wouldn't have done such a thing. Maybe Mike would have listened. He wouldn't be confined to a hospital bed, not in a coma, not knowing if he was alive or not. He could still be in the ring, soaring like both Sydal boys were meant to.
Evan finally reached his destination. It was a small clearing in the middle of the woods. There normally would have been a pond in the middle, but it was frozen over for the winter. Around the edges of the clearing were fallen logs that were often used as benches. Evan sat himself down on one of the aforementioned logs, right under a large tree that he and Mike used to climb when they were younger.
The childhood memories spun through Evan's head. He lost himself in them. He found himself laughing at the good times, and sighing at the sad ones. He'd give anything up to have his little brother right there by his side, laughing along with him. Anything, including his career that he had worked so hard for.
Evan wasn't fazed by the voice behind him. He figured it was just a couple passing by, and the woman was preparing herself to ask her boyfriend a question. Evan paid it no mind. However, the man never answered.
Evan jumped at the hand on his shoulder. He looked up and saw a woman who was bundled up for the cold weather. Sadly, she must be mistaken. His name wasn't…
Matt. That was who he was before he was consumed, before his identity had been stripped. It was him.
The woman removed the scarf from around her neck and face.
"Sarah?" Evan asked. The woman looked familiar, but he couldn't be sure.
"Yeah," the lady said, taking a seat next to Evan on the log. She was a childhood friend of the Sydal brothers. "I went over to your parent's house to see how Mike was doing. They told me you took a walk, and I figured you'd be here. We had so many good memories here."
"Yeah, we did," Evan said.
"I heard you were at the show when…"
Evan didn't respond. Instead, he gazed at the forest of naked trees around him. They were bare. They were cold. He understood how they felt. They were his snow covered trees. They understood what it was like to be alone, just like him.
Once again, Evan didn't budge. He wasn't Matt anymore. He was simply Evan Bourne. No past. No family. He was just a young man who enjoyed doing stupid things for a living.
Sarah sighed. "I'll leave you to your thoughts. Your parents wanted me to tell you that they're going to visit Mike soon. You should go. I'll see you later."
Sarah's retreating footsteps went unheard by Evan. He was still staring at the trees, getting lost in their emptiness. He feared if he kept up with this lifestyle, he would end up like the trees in the dead of winter: cold, bare, and lonely. He did not want his little brother to suffer the same fate.
Evan finally decided to boost himself up, aided by his crutches. He made the long journey back to his parents' house, which seemed so much shorter than the way there. When he arrived, he discovered that his parents had already left to visit Mike without him.
Evan sat on the front steps with his head in his hands. How could he be so selfish? His brother was dead or alive, and he was in the woods worrying about himself.
It should have been me.