Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Walk of Life - Chapter 2

Can you still remember the night that I've met you? It was a cool August night, with a smooth wind caressing or in my case engraving our senses. The stars were shining strong and bright on the blanket of the sky, it almost felt like an illusion, and the new-born moon was hardly able to make its presence known on the pathways of the earth. Music was in the air, reaching as from afar, distorted, like a symphony gone wrong.

You were sitting quiet and desperately alone at a remote corner of that small park in old Nicosia. It was a very late hour but that didn't seem to matter to you, as you looked inside, licking a wound close or trying to make it even bigger. You were smoking, almost without realizing it, a soon to be dead cigarette, letting tears rush down your cheek like torrents and rain down the land. I, a creature of the night, and constant wandered of the city streets, did not quite find myself there by accident. Passing through that park was something I did often, almost every night, but the sight I saw that night was a first for me. People usually hide away in dark rooms or deserted corridors to shed their tears, but there you were, hidden though in public, crying as if the world could no longer impose its rules on you. I've heard your cries. I approached you. I wanted to see if I could do something for you though I was sure that if I were to offer my help you would refuse it. That's what most people would do. As I was standing by your side I could clearly see the flood of tears running like wild rivers down your cheeks and lines of pain cutting through your face also, and I knew that the source of your torture would not run dry any time soon. So I walked on for a few more steps only, and went and sat on a bench nearby.

The song of your sobs would be the only sound that could reach my ears if not for the cars passing outside the park or the notes escaping the nearby pubs and restaurants.

Since I had nothing else to do and I was in no hurry to go anywhere, I've tried to escape your sounds and sight, by turning to my inner world, by concentrating on something that wasn't really occupying my mind. But that proved to be impossible, so I've decided to focus all my attention to your face, without seemingly doing so. Of course that was ridiculous since I couldn't look straight at you, and the weak lighting in the park didn't help much either. You seemed to be half-hidden in the shadows, physical and emotional. As you were sitting there, head bowed, I couldn't see your eyes. The only thing that stood out was the flame on your cigarette. But I already knew how you looked. A pale face. Long straight painted-black hair. Not tall nor short. Thin but not too thin. I don't know why but I felt an instant tenderness towards to you, a sympathy that had no real reason to be there since I didn't know you. It was as if a sixth sense of sorts was letting me know that, well, being there was where I was really supposed to be.

Now, as I look back, I cannot exactly find the words to describe how I felt when I met you. Joy? Perhaps. Wonder? Definitely. Uncertainty? Of course. I was overflowed with feelings, questions, hidden sensations. It was as if your tears were entering without really trying my soul and penetrating my kingdom of silence.

Anyway, as you know, I stayed there watching you for a long long time. Watching you and waiting. For what I did not know. Or, perhaps I did know, thus I'm now lying. Yes, I knew. I was certain. You would make the first move and talk to me. About what and why, that I really didn't know.

I was observing you, and yet you took me by surprise. I don't know for how long I took my eyes of you but then I heard you walking with light footsteps towards me. I'm glad I wasn't watching you when you did that. Instead I was looking to the sky, or the shadows of the trees, or whatever. It doesn't matter anyway. You stood right in front me and asked me if I please had a cigarette. I didn't, but being the pedestrian knight that I was I offered to go and bring you some. Never mind, friend, you said, but I insisted and you gave in. When I came back a few minutes later, you were standing still exactly where I left you, staring into the darkness with eyes that could hardly see. Will these do? I asked you, showing you the packet, bringing you out of your bleak trance. I have forgotten to ask your choice of brand so I just bought the ones that looked good to me. They will do, you said, and gifted me with half a smile, sad though it was.

You sat on the bench, lit up your poisonous comforter, and remained silent for a while, watching the fire as it burned it, following the curls of its smoke as it was driven away by the wind. I asked you if you wanted to be alone and you were fast to cry out, no. You seemed afraid of solitude at the moment. Even your voice, though harsh, sounded wounded. So I sat next to you, listening in secret to your irregular breaths, which I wish were smoother, like the sounds of the night waves in a serene sea. I gave, now that I could, your face a better look, studied. It was really beautiful and it was cracked by pain. Your eyes were black, tar dark, eyes that could speak. You were a creature of sadness.

Your cigarette came to the end of its course and you put it off. It was erased like every moment lost. You lit up another and asked: Why? There's no reason that I found myself here, I said, there's no answer to your why. Things happen. This just did. As for the cigarettes I brought them because you needed them. You took a big breath and let it out, and then you offered me or someone I could not see yet another melancholic smile. I don't believe in coincidence, you whispered, and then rushed to ask if I always went out of my way to satisfy other people's needs. Not always, I replied. You asked whether I'd like to walk with you for a while. I did. Besides, that was what I set out to do in the first place anyway. But I didn't say the latter part. Instead, your wish is my command, madam, I said and smiled. A little laugh escaped your lips and for an instant the grey clouds of sorrow seemed to abandon your tear-washed face…


The image was taken from here.

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