He bent over to tie his shoelaces, before straightening up, looking again into the little arched and tree-lined entryway into the forest.
He’d just moved to Canada from his hometown in Europe. He’d gotten a new job and would start in a couple of days. As it was, he’d already gone in to meet his new colleagues, and everything was exciting and good.
It jarred him that there was just this little imperfection.
So here I hang, dangling by a thin rope over a sea of lava, while a horde of screaming monkeys chatters on the edge of the cliff from which I dangle, with a few of them trying to apply the heat of a flickering candle to the rope that holds me bound. Sitting at one end of the cliff, is Edgar the Barbarian, who continues to turn the skull he holds in his hand, seemingly still trying to make sense of life, the universe and everything in it, as he was hours before, staring emptily at the skull. I’m trying to make known to him my personal views about life and how short it can be as you’re cooking over lava, but I’m severely hampered by the ropes that tie my hands, and the gag in my mouth.
Wait. Let me back up.
The little boy walks into the room and plomps down on to the beanbag next to his dad, who’s working on his laptop. He beats the beanbag and huffs a couple of times, and when that doesn’t work, he sprawls open like a sea star, and stares at his dad, willing him to give him a glance.
It seems to work. Dad, with a sigh, snaps his laptop lid shut and looks at the boy. “Yes?” Just a hint of resignation, and a hint of forbearance. The boy ignores all that though. It’s his prerogative to command the full attention of a parent after all.
Have you ever seen a sakura tree blossom? If you haven’t, it’s a beautiful view, scented subtly by the delicate perfume given off by the sakura flower. This is most famous in Japan, of course, and is a reason for tourists to swarm to Japan just for that season, to catch a glimpse of the trees cloaked in swatches of pink.
But have you heard of the sakura fairy?
Have you heard a sunbeam speak before? I have.
A sunbeam comes from the sun (duh) but that’s all we think it is. It actually is much more than that.
This sunbeam found me one day, when I was walking along the road, looking up into the sky, feeling the warmth of the sun against my skin. I’ve been struggling emotionally for a while now, so the feel of the sun was actually nice. So I tilted my head to expose more of my face to the welcoming heat. I must have turned my head a little as well, for one little sunbeam flitted into my ear, and dived right in.
He was young when he finally tasted freedom. And it was bad. Really bad.
He’d been at an amusement park when it happened. An amusement park is a wonderful place, and when you’re a young boy with lots of energy, it’s a place of mystery and wonder. All those dark alleys and tents that your parents pull you past, instead of letting you in to soak in all the different joys that mystery has to offer. He wanted to taste them, and he knew, just knew, that it would be wonderful and fun. Parents are there for a reason – to take away fun. Therefore, by extension, anything that his parents denied him must be fun.
He never told them that though, for fear of being punished. Parents, you know.
So when the roving amusement park came to town again, and they were queuing for a ride, he waited for them to be distracted with his sister’s incessant questions, and then he ran. He ran.
He sat with his hands placed in his lap, on top of the blankets that covered his knees, as he stared out the window. Light shone in from outside, but he never felt the warmth that should have come with it. Instead, he watched, and waited in silence.
The door opened behind him, and clicked shut again. Footsteps softly padded behind him. And her arms, her warm arms, reached around him in an embrace as he closed his eyes and leaned back into her. “You’re here.”
“I am.” A whisper, a familiar voice. Floating past his ear, entering his consciousness, as he raised his arms to cling on to hers. An act of desperation, one that didn’t go unnoticed.
Why do I struggle to breathe, when breath comes easy?
Why do I struggle to see, when my sight is complete?
Why do I struggle to think, when my mind is intact?
Why do I fight to live, when life is still extant?
He listened as the chocolate cake screamed.
He watched it writhe in its box, the screams bursting out every few seconds. He covered his ears, but his eyes continued to watch the cake dancing, vibrating in its agony. He wanted it to stop. He had to make it stop.
I stepped to the bar, and he looked at me,
A rag in hand, a smile for free,
I asked if he knew how to make any drink in the world,
He nodded, and said he’d give anything a whirl.