Source: Garden of words

He took a good look at the scene before his eyes. Nature afar overshadowed whatever artificial in sight. The caressing wind turned into violent slaps sporadically. He enjoyed the hits, hoping they will knock some sense into his thick skull. That same wind seemed to sweep away all the human noise much to his liking. He closed his eyes.

***

“Why must you leave? When will you stop running away and start staying to fight?” Her voice sounded like a half plea, half blame.

“Fight for what? I have nothing here. Nothing, Karen!” He wanted to say she was the only thing that had kept him all these years. Then he stole a look at the ring on her finger and it didn’t seem to matter anymore at that time. That was the last time he admired her shining beauty.

***

His eyes opened again to find a black bird taking a dive then spreading its wings to catch the next gust of wind. From the distance, he couldn’t tell how big the creature was but that tiny blot on the deep blue painting in front of him was magnificent. It represented what he had always wanted — freedom to roam. Unconsciously, he felt the eyelids lowering again.

***

The flip side of freedom is exactly what it ensues — loneliness. He had left everything behind and found himself in a brand new place, starting from scratch yet again. The terrifying nerve was soon replaced by hysteria as he explored every nook and cranny of the new town. He had met amazing people and soaked himself in new and intriguing knowledge almost every day. But one can run away from everything except loneliness.

He wondered since when a deep connection with another human being had become such a scarce luxury. He surfed the surface of all the relationship he had at that town for years and slowly developed an intense abhorrence for it. People would often inquire, “What’s wrong?”, to which he would excuse himself back to the company of his cigarette. Those moments watching the smoke dancing itself to the thin cold air were ones he felt most real to himself.

***

He looked up for a sign from above but as usual, God seemed to have better things to do. He was grateful that at least God had left some cloud and a cool weather for the day. He wouldn’t want to spend this special moment soaked in sweat.

Since the above refused to answer, he decided to seek the below. He slowly lowered his gaze and felt his heartbeats picking up. He was nervous but not fearful. He had been scared of a lot of things in his short life but he had never been scared of this. It was a mixture of nerve and excitement.

Below him, the people hustled around like tiny dots moving on an ugly screen. Most people were looking down on their phones. Few were looking forwards, mostly because they were answering their phones or looking for customers. Nobody was looking up.

He took a deep breath, bracing for whatever would come next. Not like there was much to look forwards to anyway.

He took another glance down and found a little kid holding her soft toy, hand in hand with her mom who looked like she was berating the phone. The little girl was the only one who looked up and saw him. For what seemed like a very long time, he felt as if their eyes met. He smirked at the irony of finding that special connection at this ridiculous distance and very moment.

The girl pulled her mom’s shirt, trying to gain her attention. The mom held her palm in front of her kid, continuing hurling violent words at the inanimate object. After a while, annoyed by the kid’s insistence, the mom turned to say something to her and pulled the little girl away. He thought he saw the little girl waving goodbye. They disappeared into the sea of black dots.

He looked up at the sky once more, murmuring something probably only he and God would ever know, and stepped forward.

The slaps from the wind suddenly became much stronger. He didn’t mind that one bit. He felt like the black bird earlier and spread his wings. This freedom felt different from all the freedom he had ever had. It was a class above. He could feel his heart racing and his face distorted by the wind resistance. He also felt the curve of his mouth and closed his eyes again. The last thing he heard was some screaming and the cry of the black bird.

t/p