Waves

As the water gently lapped against his feet, he felt frustrated.

The storm had blown over them earlier in the morning, leaving behind a slightly electrically charged air, crisp with the smell of rain and sea mixed together. The waves over the reef at the end of the lagoon were still adamant, the whitewater shining brighter than the clouds above as they caught the sunlight over the barrel. The sunlight, however, did little to diminish the anger that was boiling inside him.

She was back in their bungalow, crying softly into her hands as she sat at the edge of the bed. He knew this because he left her there when he couldn’t handle her tears anymore. He was a caring, loving man, never raising his voice nor hand against anyone, and especially not at his wife, and when anger did take control, he always chose to walk away and ponder it himself until he calmed down and thought rationally. Today was slightly different, though; today he didn’t want to calm down.

He wanted to stay here on the beach, his feet kissed by the water and his face slightly warmed in the cold air by the sun that peeked past forlorn clouds drifting westward. He wanted to bury himself in the white sand, drown in the shallow pools surrounded by corals left dull in daylight, be carried off by the sea breeze that always had somewhere else to be. He just didn’t want to walk back to the bungalow, rather, he wanted to walk past it as the road twisted towards the town and… where would he go? The ocean gave him a false promise of always being on the move, running from shore to shore, rivers coming in through streams, meanders and kissing the ocean at the mouth as the waters of the world got mixed and taken away. The ocean gave him the idea that day by day he can find himself as a wanderer, starting all over again every time, but how would he, a mere mortal with two legs and a scarred heart, emulate the ideals of an entire sea?

Was this really the lesson left by the vast, dark, wine-colored world that lay before him? He looked down at his feet, observing the waves going and then approaching, a certain discipline to the movement, a dance to a different beat. The repetition spoke to him, something between the washy sounds and inhaling receding water felt like a breathing pattern to him now, and inevitably his breathing levelled out, following the ocean. A sense of calm settled over him like a blanket, wrapping around him and making him feel relaxed and safe. He looked around in his new-found peace and then began noticing something previously disregarded. 

There were branches, leaves, and debris blown on to the beach by the storm that morning, a war zone of nature, the fight between the ocean and the air now resolved and the collateral left behind. The branches seemed, at first glance, out of place and savaged, but those closest to the waterline were slowly being tugged away. Leaves, haphazard in their arrangement, now seemed to get coaxed by the breezes to gather and congregate, becoming residents at the base of the coastal trees, mangroves and other flora. Debris just seemed to get absorbed by both the water and the sand, finding permanent homes and to be permanent homes for the fauna that thrived around it. 

He could see how the world around him wasn’t all about turmoil and being on the move; it had more to do with healing. The storm was a temporary reset, a shuddering force that brought out half truths and made them bare; when the stagnation of life reached a peak the waters unsettled and began a purification of sorts. Sometimes the damage seemed like years in the repair but when things healed, the scars were outgrown by the beauty of rebirth. Death was inevitable, he realised, seeing how a tree was split in half by lightning, the sand surrounding it turned to glass in a mosaic so beautiful, but life was equally inevitable too. After every storm, the crabs came out, repairing their homes, and birds came a-calling. The air seemed to be thicker with oxygen, every breath deep and full and invigorating. The world seemed to be coming to life, blink by blink, the gloom of the clouds being replaced by an afterglow. 

He realised that the beauty of life was in how it was lived, thriving against all odds, a constant dance between birth and demise. There was no need to run from the storms that came and went, the nights that came and went, the gloomy mornings that came and went. Every wave was a breath, the world breathing with him, around him, making him see that irrefutable magic of handwork and determination. He wasn’t going to be mistaken, though, as he saw the burnt tree slowly fall into the water when the ground around it gave wave under the insistent tide. Somethings do need to be cleared away, to make way for better things, but all in all, it was all to do with living, being, growing. Besides, he thought as the charred trunk got slowly pulled out to the sea, sometimes what’s broken needed to be somewhere else, to give life where life was needed. He could imagine already, how the ocean would house it’s children on the wood, how the hardened driftwood would end up being a piece of art to liven up another man’s home, years later. Life was inevitable.

In a bungalow behind him was a woman who meant the world to him, crying broken trails of tears as a result of not only a conflict but the differences between the both of them. They had found each other, fallen in love and made their own little world out of the universe they found themselves in and now they were at a crossroads. Loving never came easy, he knew, but the beauty was in choosing to keep loving. She gave him so much to celebrate, and he knew he gave her as much too. The ocean taught him the truth in life, and it was to love and keep on loving as long as breath remained. He decided to sit for just a moment more before he went back to her.


As the water gently lapped against his feet, he felt thankful.

Gardener

The dirt felt like life to him; rich, full of texture, and slipping through his fingers.

He was years younger the first time she made him scoop up the black soil and fill pots with it. He would be given a small handful of seeds and told to slip his finger into the wet soil and drop them in, space them around so those that reach for the sun would be unhindered. The watering can oblige some water to the dark earth, leaving it damp and secure as the two of them moved onto the second pot. 

She loved gardening, and for the life of her, she couldn’t fully explain why. Her house, which he called home despite how far he went, was one full of life, wonderment, and the smell of fresh leaves and trimmed trees. Pots were stacked on steel racks made specially for her, racks with three steps bowing under the weight of over thirty different plants on each of them. He remembered fondly how she would point out each individual one and name them, telling him about how long it takes to blossom, how much water it needs and if it needed constant care. She would sing to them softly, urging him to join her as they watched them grow bit by bit every day. He found so much peace in the garden, watching her walk around and give her blessings to each plant. There was a cactus his family claimed she planted, and knowing what little he knew about said plant, he always wondered how in the world it grew to the impressive eight feet height it last stood at. Patience, he thought to himself, and a whole lotta love.

She was stern at times, her usually loving eyes becoming search lights of fault if she could find one, but reprimands weren’t what she dished out. There was a lot of love carried across when she told him what he did wrong, so much so that he would swear to himself he would never do her wrong ever again, as much as he can. When it came to her garden, he was the one she would seek out from all other members of the family just so he could learn something new and in the process cement the beautiful bond they had. It was an enviable bond, the cause of a lot of frustrations from without, yet she nurtured him, teaching him the way she lived her life. There was a certain grace to the way her guiding hand taught him everything he knew, the wrinkles of her smile making tracks on her aged, beautiful face every time he got anything right. Yes, she was firm, but she always had a warm embrace in store.

Hardships didn’t avoid their family. When she had to leave the country and stay in another state, he was worried about her garden. Obviously, she couldn’t take it with her, so the whole family helped her stay in a large house with a beautiful lawn and as big as a gardening space as she would need. He saw her at times few and far between, but their bond never wavered. However, his tendency to tend the earth waned and was replaced by the more pressing matters of superficial living that plagued the patrons of his generation. Soon, he even forgot the smell of fresh leaves and trimmed trees, and through hard times and not, he kept on growing, learning a new lesson whenever he talked to her or spent time with her. Yet, he saw her at times few and far between. 

The family never managed to stop mourning her passing completely. They held strong, held fast, living her legacy to the best of their individual abilities and he was one of them. He still might shed a tear or two at her fond memory, whenever the scores of young people she had raised to adulthood came together to remember and celebrate her. They had learned so much from her with the biggest lesson of it all being humility, a quiet sense of purpose in a world that had so much urgency. They lived through whatever the world around them put them through, keeping in mind how she would advise them, how she would tend to them like the little plants she used to raise. She taught them perseverance, the power to be vigilant in times of trouble, and now he had to use her lessons to get through the cold winter left behind as her warm summer came to an end.

She was his grandmother, his hero, and his mentor, a woman who stood the test of time and left a legacy of love matched by few. He walked among flora with a new perspective on them, a more prominent sense of awe and respect, wondering which of these leaves held an essence of her reborn. She was a gardener in all aspects; she sowed seeds of wisdom in the hearts and minds of everyone who called her mother, and of it, there was more than a few. She spread love and respect across households the way pollen flies to create more life. She tended and loved those who were near her, showing them the light when there was nothing but darkness in the soil of life they were born in. Finally, she gave life even in her passing, bringing people together in celebration of the good the world had to offer.

Now, he walked through an overgrown garden, his hand brushing against the leaves of those that reached for the sun, feeling life coursing through his airways with every breath. There he saw it, the sentinel that seemed to mark time by its mortality. It lay dead, broken at the middle and hanging by mere fibers, making his heart break by what he saw. Sniffling and resisting tears, he approached the pot and saw a small cactus already sprouting, looking healthier than ever for a lifetime of growing. He reached to it, and then moved it to another pot of its own, patting the soil down. He smiled, a thought waltzing in unbidden.

The dirt felt like life to him; rich, full of texture, and slipping through his fingers.

Horizon Blue

There was something truly magical about the horizon blue.

The breeze kissed his lips and left him wanting more. The water softly slapped the hull as the boat cleaved through open ocean, sails furled and the engine running. The course was true, the waves were gentle and the wind was light, leaving him with little to do but wait for the craft to take them where they needed to go. The wood was old and tested, having crossed atolls day and night for a few years shy of two decades, his father once the helmsman. He knew every nook and cranny, every barnacle-free plank and splintered board his dear friend and companion. The thought of splintered boards made him cringe slightly, not at the cost of the refurbishing, but the loss of a dear friend. Even though be it with new repairs or old parts, they were still going forward, forever traveling yet that horizon never seemed to get closer.

There was something truly daunting about the ocean dark.

The helmsman stood at the stern, his foot holding the tiller in place, his arms placed loosely on the aft mast upon which lay the sail jib, his eyes gazing lazily ahead. He didn’t seem like he had a worry in the world, just a need to keep the rudder true until they reached home. The captain of the small boat exchanged a tired smile with him, both of them knowing full well they enjoyed the silence deafened by the sounds of the mighty dark blue as it raced by them. The ocean was once described as being a ‘dark, wine color’ in the times when the word blue was not invented, and the man at the bow could see why. The darkness below him felt so pregnant with life yet so devoid of movement that he felt so truly alone, so alone.

There was something truly menacing about the clouds gray.

A sudden breeze made him look towards the port side and beyond, where once there was the wide, expansive blue of the sky now existed a patch of darkness. It was a storm, just above the horizon, coming their way without heed of who was in its way. He admired the tenacity of the weather, how it threw the sun and sky into the mix with storm clouds and lightning, the unplanned contrasts of it all. The breeze grew slightly stronger, the harbinger of heavenly devastation, but the captain was not new to this, and neither was the helmsman. They were veterans of storms, within and beyond the atolls they called home, but only a man with a death wish would underestimate a storm rumbling towards them in the middle of the ocean. They had nowhere to take shelter.

There was something truly liberating about the lightning white.

When the rain hit, they were ready. They had judged the direction of the waves and shifted their course slightly to both prevent the boat from rolling over as well as not to be blown off course. Not much being spoken between them, the helmsman stayed at his post while the captain stood at the bow, holding tight. They had a little signaling system between them, using his arms the man at the bow would advise against the waves, so as to maintain stability, whenever they hit a crest and before they dropped into a trough. With tried and tested nerves they braved the storm, the winds whipping their clothes against their toughened, tanned bodies, the rain hitting them horizontally, stinging their eyes but they didn’t pay heed. His right arm, and then his left, helped the captain signal his partner, and they hit each wave with determination. Colossal walls of water were nigh invisible in the darkness of the storm, the lightning streaking and flashing the ocean in an angry blue. The lightning brought with it the drums of thunder, a heavenly drum-line beating their journey forward. Yet they paid no heed. They braved the storm through to the end.

There was something truly wonderful about the people brave.

The storm left them drenched only for a while; the returning sun took out the moisture from their clothes and rewarded them with the warmth of a lover. Both men traded smiles as they returned to the state of mind they were at before the storm came by, a relaxed sense of purpose, a timeless moment of serenity on the open ocean. They were voyagers, travelers like any other, and the sea was their terrain, their realm. Countless people had made this journey before, countless storms braved and a multitude of worlds discovered over ages of humanity. Both of them upheld the courage of the best of them, regardless of the intention of the destination, the sacredness of the journey an age-old custom. Before long, they saw land in the distance, a mere disruption in the smooth horizontal line that circled them. They had made yet another successful trip so far, with more to follow, so this was an achievement, albeit a small one. An achievement, all the same. As they cut the waters with the polished, barnacle-free hull of their trusty craft, both of them stared into the distance, a sense of wonderment in their eyes.

There was something truly magical about the horizon blue.

Flying

Alone in a row of six people, he looked outside the tiny window. There wasn’t much to see.

It was shocking how easily people entrusted their lives to these bullets with wings. He didn’t hate flying per se, but he always felt like he thought about it more than other people did. Encapsulated in aluminium, hurling across the sky at a height of more than thirty thousand feet, navigated by hands of a stranger tapping, pulling, twisting and flipping switches, knobs, sticks and gears in a room he couldn’t even see; that’s what he thought of flying.

A frequent flyer, he planned to fall asleep even before the plane taxied to the runway. He knew the security and safety procedures enough to not give a damn, but not so much that he would blatantly ignore the stewardess. Oh, it was a steward for today’s flight, he thought as he saw the man in the middle of the cabin, gesticulating and berating the passengers without a word being said. By the time the passenger put on his headphones, the near-arcane ritual that was the safety briefing came to a close. He turned his attention to the screen in front of him.

Finding equally obsessive boredom, he shuffled and adjusted himself against the young man that sat next to him, most probably with his lover in the aisle seat. They were whispering loud enough for him to hear their little jibes, giggles and sugary words, which the man smiled at. Young love was so naive, he thought, imagining how his family would be waiting for him back home, a mere four hours of flying time away. A nap would get him there faster, he chuckled at the thought. A stretch here, a blanket adjusted there, sleep was welcome any minute now.

Thundering down the tarmac, the 737 spared no time in climbing into the night sky. It was half past a healthy 2 am, when boogie people would alight and create havoc under the beds of children. A childhood memory stirred, so he let it grow, capturing him in a moment that would hopefully lead him into that elusive land of sleep. Yet, by the time the plane levelled out at cruising altitude, he was still awake. A sense of panic settled over him, being forced out of his usual routine by a force he found extremely annoying. What happened on transoceanic flights during cruising time anyway?

An hour passed. The couple next to him were softly snoring away, as they had done for the past half an hour. There passed a slight turbulence that made him grip his seat slightly tighter, his face a mask of impassiveness forced over anxiety. The turbulence passed within moments, the captain assuring the fellow passengers who were awake that the minor episode was the only one expected over the duration of the trip. The man’s grip loosened, a sense of embarrassment settling over him like a slow fever, wondering what the other passengers would be thinking of him now. Even this passed within moments, and once again he wrestled with the need for sleep. 

He jolted awake.

Damn it!

He looked around for the culprit that disturbed his much sought after forty winks, and then noticed that the window shade was pulled up; he had forgotten to drag it down earlier. There was light peeking at him, a cheeky ray cutting across the vast sky and through clouds and right onto his face. He frowned, annoyed to the point where he shifted his weight around, waking the innocent man sleeping beside him. The man stirred, opening his eyes slowly, taking a deep breath in as he also gazed outside the tiny porthole. A smile came to his face, full and joyous, his eyes slightly glistening too. The first man wondered at the sudden transformation, wondered why brought such wonderment to the stranger for him to shake awake his partner in the seat next to him. The man watched the couple get excited, and then release a collective sigh as they gazed out the window that rudely woke him up. Curiosity getting the better of him, he decided to look outside too.

It was shocking how easily people ignored the wonders of the world around us. He didn’t hate flying per se, he just never appreciated it enough. Encapsulated in aluminum, he saw shades of purple, blue, red, orange, yellow, colors he never dreamt of and shadows where the light was brightest, pictures painted across the sky, just outside his window. This part of the world was coming awake, as they glided across the sky at thirty thousand feet, piloted by wizards at the helm, and he saw everything. He saw birds in the distance, the coast below them, clouds lazily wafting through the atmosphere carrying bane and bounty to distant lands he had never seen. His breath caught short, he watched as the sun majestically rose beyond the horizon blue, the magnificent blip of life-inspiring fire lighting up the world in a flood of yellow. He heard sounds behind him, around him, as people stirred and came awake, children squealing in the excited voices he used to religiously avoid. He heard the captain’s announcement over the intercom, the garbled voice talking about his it was a new morning over the land they were flying, describing the weather’s benevolence and the smooth ride ahead. The man didn’t listen, though, he didn’t care about what was happening around him at that moment. The magic of the view took him, as it took everyone else on the flight along with him, to that awe-inspiring well of imagination in their mind.

Together in a row of six people, he looked outside the tiny window. There was so much to see.

Absent

I wish I was there with you, as you sit on your bed, propped up against the wall, the computer on your lap as you streamed Jane The Virgin. I never thought I’d ever enjoy the show, but I already love it, can’t wait to know more. Is it ironic that I haven’t seen a single episode yet? Here I am, though, away from you where I will stay, anchored to where my reality will find me.

I saw you at the café today, but for some reason, you seemed so far away. I guess sometimes the more you need to hold something, or someone, the more distant they seem when the circumstances aren’t right. Your mind wandered on plains I didn’t fully appreciate or see, a little worry here and another question there, but my mind was drowning in thoughts of you. The milkshake we shared was the closest I could come to tasting you again and even that made it worse; it left me craving for so much more, while I stay anchored to where my reality should find me.

I wish I was there with you, as you scroll through your phone, reading the angst and joys of the populace mundane. Sure, they may all be amazing people, with lives so vast, so different and so vital to the turning of the world yet their existence paled beside the light I saw you in. Tonight, especially, I felt the heat of your halo with renewed ferocity, as if your aura itself threw lassos around me, dragging me towards you but here I stay anchored to where my reality finds me. 

I heard your voice today, the connexion was stable and the timing was right, but for some reason, I seemed so far away. I guess sometimes when you can’t figure out where your sadness stems from, you just feel like you’re adrift on a plank in the middle of the ocean, alone, however much someone tries to reach out to you. You did what you could, methods tried and tested yet not up to the job, even though I do admit my happiness did return when you told me about your day, about the things that made you smile. It made me crave that smile so much more, so much that I felt hollow being unable to see your beaming face before me, as I stayed anchored to where my reality found me.

I wish I was there with you, as you quietly slipped into the comfortable shirt that hugged your figure through the cold night. Beneath the fabric was a body I worshiped, day in, day out, within which was a soul that put flame to the embers that were my passions. There was so much about you that transcended your physical presence, a certain magic to your mind and all its processes. I am fascinated by the trove of lessons held inside your heart, as you taught me something new every day, as I stay anchored to where my reality could find me.

I dreamt of you tonight, as I thought of you wrapped in your covers, safe from the horrors of the world awake, but I guess sometimes the horrors do cross over and tap your peaceful sleep. I hope that doesn’t happen to you, and that your sleep goes undisturbed until the morning light brings back safety from the prowlers of darkness. You wished me goodnight, tokens of your love sent over texts as your eyes slowly blinked to a close, or so I dreamt. I dreamt of how we held hands as we crossed a bridge over a narrow, tamed river, as we walked around a marshy lake that was teeming with life. It was more a memory than a dream, a place we both had been, a place I yearn for as I stay where my reality must find me.

I wish I was there with you, as your body curled up, sorely missing the big spoon that I always was. I remember the warmth we shared on that single bed, never complaining about the space because we always melted into each other anyway. Sure, there were times when your helix would protest as my arm would carelessly hinder its healing process, but you still loved me through all of that pain too. With the pain receded into the background, I could have slept the night unencumbered yet here I stay where my reality might find me.

I wake up breathless, my dreams leaving me running and running through tunnels just to find you. I guess sometimes missing someone so much makes your mind chase them through the darkness it knows so well, leaving you dying on the outside too. You really weren’t further than a few clicks away, a few hours before I saw you again, a few days before you’d be in my arms again. Time was just the bookmark that kept track of how far we’ve come and how fast we were going, so I never blamed the cruel entity for keeping me from you. My nightmares sometimes felt timeless, endless, yet time saves me by leading me to another morning, another call from you, another text spinning me a sentence of love and devotion from you. Time was what we had between us, what we will have again, even if I stay where my reality keeps finding me.

I wish I was there with you, as you wait for me to write you words of love and stanzas of hope. You are my well of inspiration, and when you’re absent I fall back to being that old man devoid of motivation and ready to lay to rest. You revive the passions in me when the rains of emotion pat the flames down, never once demanding a form of return for all you’ve done for me. Yet here I choose to go find you and be with you, where you are and where you will be, where you want and where you’ll need me. To hell with what should be, the devil can take my place and stay where my reality hopes to find me.

Afloat

As always, there were few things he wished as the year came to a close.

All superstitions and beliefs ask their main benefactor for good health, so borrowing this idea he would check this on his list as well. A slight sneezing bout left him angry at the world earlier this week, but good music, a good book, and a doctor’s appointment left him feeling better by the ominous Thursday. Why ‘ominous’, you may ask? It just sounded nice to say, he would reply.

He sat in quiet contemplation to wring in another wishful idea. He chuckled at the pun, which gave him an idea. ‘Start every day with 5 good things about yourself’ said the computer screen, the place marker at the end of the word winking at him. The nerve, his own laptop being coy.  As he waited for the third idea to alight, he looked around the café, wondering how he landed here anyway. A quaint place with an artsy atmosphere, aptly named to tickle the funny bone, it was slightly louder than he’d like. Coldplay was a welcome addition, yes, but if the music is loud the patrons tend to get louder.

Oh and there goes the prayer call. Louder still.

Letting the sounds fade away in the sanctuary of his mind, he wished for the ability to not be distracted so easily. Many a time he knew the thoughts of his mind had derailed just shy of a life changing decision, days wasted when he could have exercised his responsibility to exercise, projects that lay dusty on the shelf of his long-term memory. He wanted to achieve something this year, something to give back to the society that didn’t actually give much in the first place and having been more than a thousand miles from home for nearly half a decade, this year he knew he had to start. That was when his friend came calling.

Why? He asked himself, why try again? Why take a leap of faith through that open door when you know that chance might have taken the ground right beneath his feet? Why should he think this year would be any different? Why should he try? His somber thoughts came unbidden as he compared his situation to that of the café, as it swayed in the breezes of economy close to breaking. He knew their story, the story of the family of people that owned and ran the place, about how they felt they had to jump ship before invisible waters drowned them.

Truth was, misery didn’t just love company; misery had a tendency to drag with him those that were hopeful and young in dreams and aspirations along with him, with those deep scarring, deathly claws of promise of failure clawing hard and clawing deep. It was the curse of a small neo city, where everyone talked about dreams like they were achievable, and in the next breath talk about failure like it was inevitable. The place where everyone knew everyone by face yet not by story, not by life and certainly not by a mile. 

It was the reason he left home in the first place.

But running was not always an option. He knew it now, sitting there and wishing things could get better. He hoped the restaurant would stay but the faces of all the waiters told the same tale. He knew them by name, he knew them by the stories they shared and he also knew them by the smiles they weren’t smiling. His heart ached for them, the inevitable permanent off-day that they feared when owners exchanged the deeds to the place. He knew the way their hearts drooped, their hopes given wind and dusted away. He knew it all too well because he felt the same, time and time again, and tonight, he knew how it was to see someone else forsake trying. He knew now how people who counted on him to carry on strongly would feel when strength was the last thing he felt he could feel. He knew now how it was to observe lovers of dreams staring into the abyss they themselves decided to walk to.

He knew now what he had to do.

Giving up is not an option. Compromise? Yes, even improvising to meet changing tides head on with a determination to move continents was the way to go. He wanted to tell them things were going to get better, that the last hill, the last mountain, the last cloud hid the sun they sorely sought. He ordered another drink, hoping that the money he was paying would patch the holes in their sinking ship. There was so much potential here, but more than that the place held a special spot in the hearts of the regular patrons such as himself, giving them a beacon for change and for better things to come. Here was a well of toxic dreams, a town-turned-city sprawled with people running with nowhere to go, and the little café served as an antidote. There was love brewed in the cups, respect served on plates and a whole lot hope wafting through the air. People came here to get inspired, to experience an innocence of aspiration sorely missed on the streets of paved stone and parked vehicles. People needed a place like this more than people knew.

His fourth resolution, or wish, so to speak, was to fight the stagnant waters that crept through the halls, the naysayers that thrived on the desperate. As he watched the people he called friends share laughter, smiles and an undertone of joy, he knew, he knew.

Home was worth fighting for.

Dedication

Before she came along, he wondered why he was writing in the first place.

It started off as an experiment. He wanted to be a novelist. He wanted to build worlds of fantasy using the expansive set of tools he had at his disposal, having read libraries of books, but never enough. When he put those words onto paper, they twisted and turned, gnawing at the structure he thought they deserved, they rebelled and he let it fester. When the fight was done and the dust settled, he didn't write much, but he had said so much.

Before she came along, he wondered where his writing would take him.

Lines were uncaring of the rules he thought they had to follow, and he loved it. Every story seemed to breathe a new version of the truth, because that was what it was, a perspective of truth. His writing slowly started to unravel his inner demons, and slowly but surely they started to lay bare his ideas of love, his ideas of pain, his ideas of giving up yet wanting to start again. His heart slowly dusted off its wings and prepared to take flight while during his time away from writing the same heart yearned to beat for someone else.

Before she came along, he wondered who he could write for.

Yet the wings, dusted and feathered, stayed closed. It wasn't the right time just yet. He still wrote, now writing stories about people he loved and cared about, and he felt like this was all as a testament to those people. This didn't necessarily drive him like the passion he'd hoped it'd be; he felt a certain laziness in it, a sort of laid-back approach that he knew was not going help him finish the stretch. Did he want to finish this in the first place? Did he want to write a book?

Before she came along, he wondered where he was going.

The answer came that one night a friend in lands distant told him how a single story saved his life. A single story he wrote about someone else in his life, with the intention of just immortalising a sense of purpose in his life, stopped someone else from pulling the noose over their heads and around their neck. That night, the writer couldn't sleep, couldn't bring him to accept the weight of the responsibility he felt on his shoulders. If one story could save a life of a single person, he might have tapped deep enough into his passion to find the fire. He found something beautiful in his art he had not noticed before, and this gave him the drive he needed. He was going to finish that book.

Before she came along, he wondered if he was good enough.

That was when he started seeing everyone else who seemed to be writing too. Some seemed to garner fame much faster than he thought possible, some work seemingly mundane ad half hearted seemed to be the best thing for people around him. This halted his progress; what if people didn’t like his writing? What if his books didn’t sell? What if the reviewers were so harsh on his work that publishers decided to stay away from him? Reality hit him like a train derailing, the tracks to his future goals seemed further and further off course. Nights were hard to get by, days were harder to write during. That was when she walked in.

Before she came along, he wondered how long his fires would burn.

She fanned his flames again, breathing new life into his soul with words of encouragement, lifting his chin when all he wanted to do was give up and stop even before he started. He finally looked her in the eye and found a spark, a flash of lightning that hit him right at the core, at once firing up a string of stories he wanted to write about her. Anything to make her smile, he began again, putting pen to paper, fingers on his keyboard, making his words paint the pictures their love created, still frames of his favourite movie starring the both of them. He found a blissful need to keep making his art.

After she came along, he found answers for questions that were never asked before.

The morning after she left, he felt numb. Words seemed to come easy, he managed to say what he wanted to say but passion’s flame turned blue. He felt cold, alone and stranded, yet he knew his goals, he knew how to get there. She taught him so much about himself he never knew, about the world he never saw even though he was busy living in it, about his writing he never managed to read between the lines. it was never the same again, a long winding road that seemed to blend with the bushes that lined it. Here he got lost. When solitude finally crawled over him, it brought with it an answer. He knew his writing, his poetry and his need to express in words were akin to prayers, a need to be heard and remembered and a wishing for a happier tomorrow.

After she left him, he knew this book was going to be for her.

It started off as an experiment. He wanted to be famous but that quickly faded. He wanted to write about people he loved and cared for but that became a characteristic of his writing, not a goal. He wanted to save lives, and even that became a part of his writing, not a goal. No, now he knew the book was going to be not just a compilation, not just an expression, not just a contemplation of life and it’s various truths. This was going to be a dedication.

Maybe she would love him again.