She came, laid her elbows on that rusty iron fence, pinned her fingers together and sight-fully dived into the deep ocean. It was her who inspired him. It was her stillness that irritated him. Why? Why did she come every sunset? He knows why he came! For him, it was meditation, it was setting his eyes loose and traveling to where the end of the world lies. Why did she come? He decided to ask her.
Clapping his hands once, pressing his palms on his knees, he rose up and marched like a determined soldier toward that mystic fortress.
The moment he reached her, she turned her eyes to face his questioning face. To his pathetic attempt, she imprisoned a silent scream in her eyes that were flooding with tides of tears. Then, she lifted her pain with the movement of her perishing smile and spoke with a trembling voice:
“To the deepest of this ocean, I set my secret for sail. To the eyes of this world, I keep my pain unnoticed. To this ocean of secrets, I reveal my wounds and share the burden of hearts, the hearts that are broken with losses.”
It was after midnight when sleep suddenly fled out of his eyes. It was after that when he traveled all over his bed to find the perfect spot where sleep resided. It was then when he surrendered to the urge of going up and writing. He must write the guilt and shame out of his heart. He squeezed his eyes one last time; maybe sleep will get in and finally rest. But, all was in vain, and he must explain.
Grabbing the papers and the pen resting on them was a hard decision to make. But the remorse storming inside of him must be sent away. If he is going to write, how should he address her? Dear Beloved? She was never a beloved. She didn’t take his breath away. She didn’t make his heart beat faster. In fact, she almost slowed it down, he thought.
Dear friend? The plan was to fall in love. He wanted her to be the one that will fit in that empty frame carried in his heart, he thought.
No, she was not the one. But yet, she turned his life upside down. The memories of all who came before her bumped in his head. To leave him, they were always right. And by them, he was always left. Why did this one stay? Was she that desperate? Or, was he that good? Oh, yes, he remembers. He was that good. Good in lies that is. Pretending to be perfect, claiming morals he never had before, and radiating the honor he always desired. He didn’t break her heart for her sake. No, he remembers now, it was for his sake. But breaking her was breaking his pride, was crashing his ego, and was turning him from the usual victim into the perfect slayer. And for that, he must not ignite the flame he put out. He must not break her again.
He must go back to sleep, and find the lost peace that he had once before.
Right there, around the corner, wind raves a paper, flipping it in a circular movement. Small rocks tumble along with the flow of that old dusty road. The road’s endless rounds carry the sight and twist it with every corner. Right there, around the next corner, that tree stands still. Surviving every shimmering season, surviving every dry inexistence of rain. Yet, it falls for the brown episode of time that absorbs the green out of every vain.
A dried leaf falls down silently, surrendering and laying down peacefully. Life ends. Another leaf falls, neighboring its precedent. The mother tree can do nothing to save its flurried children. Life cannot get any harder. How can a tear drop out of inanimate? People can cry, shout, yell, and mourn. How can a tree mourn its loss? How can a tree wail the loss of its falling children? But, what do we know? A man knows nothing. Man cannot break into the silence of nature, nor comprehend the agony in stillness. And again, what do we know?
We cry, spill tears, and with those tears, we spill our rage and pain out. What would a tree spill? Is it possible that these leaves are not the children? Is it possible that these leaves are what a tree would shed in a moment of sorrow?
Trembling footsteps, barely heard, barely moving, approach from that other corner. Hesitant and reluctant that young man disturbs the stillness of nature, moves toward the tree. Touches the aging stem, goes around it, looking for something in particular. There is it, a trembled carving of a heart with two letters inside. At the sight of this heart, the young man drops to his knees, puts his hands on the nearly erased heart, and cries. He cries so hard, and so loud that as if the wind blows were in harmony with his screams. Could it be that this tree has witnessed a broken love tragedy? Or could it be that it has witnessed the arrogance of a child who grew up in age and pretended to grow up in value so he never came back for the shade of this old tree? Or could it be that it missed the sweat of a wounded runaway who craved for shelter under her branches? Could this silence be resembling the loss of any of them? What do we know! What do we know!
Curled in bed, bleeding tears, wrapped in darkness, and loneliness is his only friend. “Will it end soon”? He starts to think! He does this to himself. It cures him to get his feelings down. It cures him to draw tears out of his eyes. Maybe because at daytime he believes that life is great. Maybe if he cried his nights, he would laugh his days. He rolls back his day, his moments, in his head. How many shared a smile with him? How many shared a laugh? But no one to share his meals with. He eats alone, and chokes with every bite. Moon rays crawl inside, sweet and soft humming floats from outside. He must go out. As soft breeze moves forward, touching his skin, cooling his cheeks, putting the remaining tears back to where they belong. He walks down the road, puts his hand out, above the rising plants. Calmness reaches his head and peace gets into his heart. So much to scream out, yet no one to share the burden with, no one to give a hand in this heavy carriage. Suddenly, he notices the only friend that has always been with him. Never demanded a thing in return. Never complained and has always been there under the sunlight, it’s there, under the moonlight, it’s there. “Oh dear friend” he says. A joyful tear slips out, “If you could only talk to me” he says. And there he stays, his unconditional friend, his unconditional shadow. Silent, anticipating, and un-revealing.