it makes sense...that it doesn't.
- six-word story
sitting around, scrolling thru photos on the ipad, trying to muster up just an ounce of motivation to start work on my presentation due tomorrow @ 17:00 hrs. she's on the phone in the porch with someone and couldn't help but overhear the conversation about doctors and illness and that sort of thing. and then she said something that went like this:
"my doctor said i need to walk with a stick and i asked him: how do you expect me to dance?"
i figured that was the cue i was waiting for.
he had been on this, his chosen path for several years now. it had led him away from many he was once close to until finally he was walking in solitude for most of the time. now he found himself someplace new - in an evergreen forest gently sloping up the mountainside. the air was cool and damp with the freshness of lush greenery and the loose dirt he walked on was soft and dark, slightly crumbling beneath his every step. he loved nature; he loved this, and lost himself in its wonder, embracing it all for several moments until the thought occurred to him to look around. the sudden realization that he was all alone rudely snapped him back to reality. and he didn’t want to remind himself of that, not again, because the thought depressed him lately, more than it ought to. but it was time he became accustomed to it.
changes. there were many this past year, good and bad, and he made the most of them as best he could. and he decided it was time to make serious decisions about the person he needed to become. his motions could no longer be influenced by the masses, nor by musings as random as the changing tides. he had this idea of where he wanted to go and was already heading in the general direction, but was no longer content to merely take in the sights and sounds as he leisurely wandered across there. he knew what needed to be done, at least for the time being, and that would be enough to keep him busy for a bit. he walked on, slightly faster, this time with an inkling of purpose and renewed resolve.
he eventually made his way to the edge of a clearing far above from where he first started. his eyes were staring out at the world below, but his thoughts were elsewhere - inward - upon the fears and insecurities that somehow plagued him all this time. but something was different now. from this vantage point his view was unobstructed, his perspectives clear, and the clouds of uncertainty and confusion that manifested in his mind dissolved like mist in the warmth of a new day. the sense of clarity he was searching for so long was finally found and the sensations of relief and victory were quietly taken in.
“not all who wander are lost” she had said, comforting words echoing his experiences over the last few years. he was glad those words were uttered by someone else because it meant that there were like minds out there, somewhere. he would perhaps meet up with them someday, but until then he needed to focus. he stood with his forehead touching the cold stone wall, pausing, his hands gently grasping at the protrusions just above. he inhaled deeply, his eyes closed, his gear already carefully selected and secured in his backpack. the time was now, and he realized that everything he went through, all the trials and tribulations, victories and defeats were mere preparations for this one moment. he knew that now. and with determination rediscovered, he started the ascent.
sometimes you wonder if you'll make it through. and then you do.
but that's the problem, isn't it? when those who are wrong hold this unwavering belief that they're right.
"it’s unfortunate, and i really wish i wouldn’t have to say this, but i really like human beings who have suffered. they’re kinder."
- emma thompson
There's no noise in the corridor anymore; they've all wrapped up their business and left for the day. It's just him now, seated quietly in the second row from the back. He's one of those hard-to-read people, his face void of expression. If he was worried, you couldn't be sure because his gaze never met yours and so it never gave him away. But he had to be, any normal person would be - especially now because the waiting is the hardest part and because there's nothing else to do. If anything is going through his mind, it's worry. And anxiety. And maybe even regret.
He's second-guessing himself now cos' he's never done anything like this before. He's not a troublemaker, quite the opposite actually. There are several ways to express love and support and his was to defer to authority, to obey without question. But the authority isn't there anymore and the new powers that be - well - they didn't care. Didn't care about his work, his contributions, his sacrifice. They didn't care about him. Fifty years of unwavering dedication was suddenly for nought.
So he did what he did, and that was all to it really. It's been difficult. It's been tiring. And now it needs to be over and done with. He got up and walked slowly to the front of the room, shuffling his feet as he made his way to the lady beckoning him forth. He stood in place as instructed.
"Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?"
It was like writing. On occasion her thoughts would flow naturally, easily, effortlessly, steadily - each word was intentional and every syllable enough. And in times like those her essence, her being, the very best of her would be replicated on paper and immortalized for all time.
But mostly it wasn’t like that; in fact - quite the opposite actually. She was not writing in solitude on a page clean and crisp but rather on a shared page with several others at the same time. She's fighting for space and in the commotion her garbled thoughts are imprinted as crooked text and messy blobs on soiled paper. Her best work was pathetic, and now she's all flustered and flushed because the collective result ain't inspiring shit - and that's what bothered her - how that sheet of paper, once nice and new wasn’t the canvas for a work of art, but rather a scratchpad for the incoherent thoughts of anyone with a pen.
But she eventually figured it out. She took a step back to take it all in. She stared in despair at the negative words and doodles, reflected on broken lines of poetry, and cried at stories so sad. She drew inspiration from the intricate artwork and bold statements of creativity. And she found solace in sentences of hope. She paused for a bit, to tie it all together: the good, the bad, the sensible and senseless. And she collected herself - her passion, grit, and her renewed sense of purpose. And she started to write again.
it takes a lot, sometimes. and sometimes it takes a lot more.
he sat as he often did - with his elbow on his knee, palm propping up his chin, his index finger bisecting his lips. and his sister spoke:
"we were worried about the weather, but it's a sunny day. she had wanted that."
he nodded quietly, agreeing with her. a soft smile formed slowly as the words registered with him.
and they all looked on at the pyre, now fully ablaze.