The snuffed lantern…
It was 00:44hrs on a Sunday. It was cold and it rained heavily outside. The whole world was silent except for the sound of raindrops smashing themselves onto anything and everything on the ground. The melody of the rain continued as lightning danced across the skies while thunder was busy clapping to the performance. A lone aircraft carrying a cargo of blindfolded human beings resting on their seats with neck pillows glided beneath the dark skies. I was one among the flock but I was neither awake nor asleep. Perhaps I was dreaming or I am dead. I do not know for I hear not the wind or the roar of the turbines. And I was drifting deeper into pitch black and zap! I was somewhere else.
I was on my bed, buried beneath the layers of snug blankets under the stone roof of my mansion. There were large windows on both the sides of the room and I was lying on the bed with my feet to the door. My tired body was asleep but my restless mind was still awake. It kept replaying all the questions and experiences I had gained during this lifetime and the one before.
I started out a hyper active kid with overflowing dreams, and as the years passed, the importance given by people to my failures over my victories were shaping me into a doubting man who found it hard to see beyond his next step. The world around me would constantly question me, pretend to encourage me only to laugh whenever I failed.
I may be naive but, I am no pushover. I spent a lot of sleepless nights working hard to cultivate my skills, I trained my mind & body alike, saved myself from pitfalls & traps by playing the man & not the odds. Because of that, I graduated top of the line from the academy. On that day, I knew that I had given every person around me who told me that I wouldn’t amount to much, a run for their money. And as a bonus, I was rewarded with a title, a new identity, a high paying job and I was going places.
Then it happened again as if it were a curse. At a very important phase of my career, I fell sick and I lost everything I had sweat and bleed for in an instant. My attempts to regain them were futile. My life took a turn for better or worse.
Each day, it seemed almost impossible for me to make my dreams & desires and my daily situation meet each other. And one day, the fight left me. I was no longer willing to stand up for myself and I let all the cards from my hand slip away into the abyss.
I lay there motionless. It was as if, I had lost every feeling in my body.
Suddenly, a powerful lightning bolt struck nearby. It lit the room revealing the contents of the room to my eyes. And then, something made me feel that I was not alone in the room.
I looked around and dear me!, there were people around me. “What the hell are they doing in my private space?” These words echoed in my mind but they never manifested into words. I strained my eyes and looked around. There was a young guy in a suit to my right, he was sitting on a stool, and in his hands lay an alto saxophone which transformed the very air around me into music that sent shivers down my spine. Next to him was a little boy who hummed to the tune while building model kits. Beside the boy was a chef who was cooking something appetising standing next was another guy in a sports jersey who had a soccer ball dancing around to his movements.
Below my feet I saw a masseur who relieved shadows of pain while giving pleasure. To his left was an artist busy capturing a moment from his heart on the canvas. Near the door was a biker who waved at me from a motorcycle and seated on his rear was a happy guy carrying a lot of camping gear.
To my left was a well built engineer in a boiler suit who was singing as he fixed a boiler. Next to him was a guy doing pushups with a little kid laughing on his back. Far to the left I saw a guy singing a lullaby while stroking his lover’s head on this chest. And on the portrait above my head was guy who wore a hat that had feathers. He was deeply thinking & writing.
I had no idea who these people are or what they were doing inside the room of a tired man who just wants to roll over and get it over with. Then I realised that there was something common between all of them. From a distance, they looked similar, but on closer inspection, I found out that they all have the same face!
The next realisation almost threw me off my bed. They were all me!!!
I did not know what to do. These people look like me, they do things I did but they are far from who I am now. Fear, Guilt, Regret and Desperation ruled me at this moment, but these emotions were short lived.
The saxophonist smiled at me and then he played my favourite piece, the little boy gave me a beautifully built robot, the chef served me my favourite dish with a bow, while the soccer guy amused me with his tricks. The motorist and the camper were beckoning me to join them, while the masseur massaged my arms and legs. The artist had painted the visions inside my mind on canvas, while the engineer’s boiler warmed the room. The guy doing pushups now flexed before while giving me a thumbs up and the lover boy to the right, threw his beloved gently into my arms.
The writer on the portrait showed me the story he had written for me and beckoned me to look at the woman in my arms.
I was overwhelmed by everything that happened around me. I paused for a moment and then looked at the woman in my arms. She was warm, beautiful and her smile blew the worries of my mind. I realised that she was none other Hope! She gently opened her eyes and ran her hand on my face. Her caress ignited me and I felt alive again.
She then pointed at the roof. I looked up and the roof unravelled a sky full of stars. The rain had stopped and the thunder was no where to be found and a hand reached out to me from the sky.
The hand was from none other than my future self, who was formless. He is yet to be given a shape by me. I stood up, grabbed his hand and before I leapt into the future, I looked around. The spectres of my past were overjoyed and overwhelmed with tears of happiness. Perhaps they have been more afraid of fading away from existence before living their moment than I had ever been. Or perhaps they still are. Despite that, they have entrusted themselves and their fates to the current me. And it is my god damn responsibility to carry all of us to glory until I pass on the baton to the next me.
I held onto Hope and we flew into the sky from where I saw a whole new world. In fact not just one but many worlds, many lives and many possibilities waiting to be realised.
I neither had words nor complaints anymore, not because I was empty but because I was free again…to dream…to choose…to live for my decisions and desires…unbound by contracts of life and the confines of my mind…
“Sir! Excuse me Sir! Are you alright sir? Your destination has arrived! Please wake up Sir!” I heard a sweet voice from a woman in uniform. I opened my eyes, gave her a smile and slowly got up on my feet. I took my bags and got down from the aircraft while wondering about the things I felt just awhile ago. It felt not like a dream but as if I lived those moments.
The air hostess waved at me and bid me good luck. I waved back and the aircraft took off. I turned around and started marching ahead. Funny, I was not able to hear my footsteps. Probably due to the fact that I was not walking on land, but instead over the sky, for my whole world no longer remained bound to earth. With me, it had now taken to the skies.
And there was nothing holding me back anymore, not even gravity!