That One Day
Today, when I opened my eyes, I was cranky and unwilling. I lacked a sense of purpose and did not know what today had in store for me. When I got up, the first steps were the hardest but they got surer with every step I took. I started walking and my spirit grew buoyant. “A beautiful day for a walk”, I thought. I appreciated the chirping birds, the colours of flowers that lined my path, the smell of wet sand, the crisp breeze….it would be a good day, I convinced myself. I met a group of my friends along the way…we talked for a little bit and laughed at jokes and as I carried on, I was sad at parting but thankful for the momentary company. I continued walking down the path watching the sun grow brighter. As the walk wore on, my step lost its bounce and I was starting to consider turning back. But I wanted to know what lay ahead and I kept walking. I saw a bird I had never seen before near a lake I never knew existed. I paused, taking in the sight…thankful that I had continued walking. I was energised by my discovery; I broke into a run, tripped on a rock and fell on all fours. I swore at the rock, yet realizing that the fault was my own. I drew blood and began cautiously walking on. A fellow jogger had seen me and offered me a drink of water. I was starting to feel lonely and she had an easy smile, a pleasant manner. We stopped to rest and spoke for a bit. Turns out, we were headed the same way. The walk turned fun, she showed me places I’d never seen, told me things I hadn’t known. I was thankful that the company would last the whole day, though we didn’t know what path to take, we knew where we wanted to reach. We would figure out the way together, we had decided. As the hours rolled by, words didn’t flow as readily…feet hurt and we walked in silence. Was it the weary feet, the hot sun or the lack of topics, I would never know. We hit a fork on the road and could not agree on which route was better. We discussed and decided to part ways….we thanked each other for the wonderful time we spent together and carried on with a slightly heavy heart.
The sky was starting to darken and it was unclear whether I was still on track. I ran up and down several roads, came back to points I had left behind. I wandered helplessly all alone for a while, asking passers-by for directions to a place they didn’t know of, desperation growing by the minute. I stumbled, lost complete sense of direction and fear took over. I had to take a breath, sit down and compose myself, looked at the setting sun as if for guidance and followed my instinct. I chanced upon a map along my way and hit a signboard further.
I trudged home and finally, completely drained, disillusioned and weak….slid into bed and feeling every bit like a person who had learned a lesson the hard way…
I badly want to sleep, but I can’t….that walk took me an entire lifetime and now, as I lay in bed at the twilight of my time, I’m plagued by why not’s and what if’s. Sleep is not easy to come by…nostalgia hits like waves on rock, resounding with guilt and regret…did I make the most of this gift of life?
This walk recapitulates everything that I experienced over a lifetime- the stumbling, the friends I once enjoyed being with, my companion who brought life to my years and the glint of excitement to my eye, the pain of separation, excitement, desperation, the highs, the lows and the absolute rock bottom, chance and luck, opportunities taken and lost…..
If all we do will one day culminate into a moment with a sigh, what is the higher plan????