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................................................................. 17 05 – WINTER APOLOGUE .......................................................... 23 06 – MEETING EXPECTATIONS .................................................. 28 07 – THE SHORTEST PATH TO FREEDOM .................................... 33 08 – A LITTLE BIT OF YOU AND ME ............................................ 38 09 – ANOTHER YEAR, ANOTHER ENDING .................................... 43 10 – THE FULFILLMENT OF THE EMPTY-MINDED .......................... 50 11 – WORTH LIVING ................................................................ 53 12 – EXPANDING BOUNDARIES ................................................. 58 13 – SHALLOW INTERLUDE ...................................................... 63 14 – THE NIGHT OF DEMISE ..................................................... 68 15 – ALWAYS WILL BE ............................................................. 76 16 – I DON’T CARE ABOUT SQUARES ......................................... 83 17 – NIGHT KNIGHT ................................................................ 87 18 – HONEST HOPE OF RENEWAL .............................................. 97 19 – PISCES OF TRUTH .......................................................... 103 20 – ESCAPING THE FATE ...................................................... 108 21 – WALKING ON THE EDGE OF INSANITY .............................. 116 22 – THE HOUSE OF SEVEN GENERATIONS .............................. 125 23 – THE LULLABY TO ETERNAL SLEEP ..................................... 134 24 – IN A TIMELESS WORLD, NOBODY IS LATE ......................... 142 25 – THE GIRL IN THE PHOTOGRAPH ....................................... 150 26 – CHRONICLES OF A DISTANT PROXIMITY ........................... 158 27 – HEARTBLOOD SYMPHONY ............................................... 166 28 – THREE OF A KIND .......................................................... 174 29 – DIVIDED ROADS ............................................................ 182 30 – THE COLOR OF MY SOUL ................................................. 190 31 – THE ROAD THAT ALWAYS TAKES YOU BACK ...................... 197 32 – A SUCCESSION OF TALES ............................................... 204 EPILOGUE – THE DAY THE WORLD REVIVED ............................. 211
01 – Beyond the Stars It was one of those nights where I was lying in the grass at her side. The ground itself was still a bit wet from the afternoon's rain so we brought one blanket each keep moist away as we stared into the dimly lit sky. Those nights were usually pretty quiet at the start since we believed it was a bit disrespectful for the stars to begin talking about life and philosophy while they were still asleep. Under those circumstances I would occasionally take the time to think about useless things and make peace with my mind. As the first stars began to shine in the darkness she spoke. "I wonder how far they are", she said with a melancholic tone. I wasn't certain of what she was talking about but I still asked in a semi-certain voice "The stars?" She didn't reply yet, but I still got a confirmation when she raised her hand to the sky, trying to grab something. "When I was younger", she said, "my parents would call me their 'little star', but as far as I know stars are probably a few more times larger than the planet we live on!".
I was a bit surprised at this statement for a topic starter tonight, we usually had easier conversations to warm up our brains, but she seemed pretty confident and serious about this so I decided to let her continue, giving an approving silence. "I learnt today that stars are the biggest things in the whole universe! How awesome is this? One amazing thing is that they somehow all fit in our sky. Another amazing but sad thing is that not much people care about stars these days. This is what I don't get." I was still confused about where she was leading this monologue but I still kept quiet, I wouldn't really know what to say anyway and she looked like she had a pretty good starting idea, well maybe it was only an illusion but I felt she had some strong feelings about this. She still paused, as if she waited for me to say something to give her a chance to sort her thoughts but when I finally decided to open my mouth to talk she proceeded her one-sided conversation. "Everyone tells me that the big things are the most important in my life, that I should be thinking forward to them, like getting married, having children, school, work."
"I get it that those are big chunks of my life but if the big things are the most important, why are we ignoring the stars? What's the impact of a town girl not getting married early versus two stars colliding with each other, creating some kind of new world and maybe even life?" This felt hard for me as I was taking my time to choose every word before saying it, not to get misunderstood and derail the conversation somewhere we both didn't want to go. Still gazing at the constellations, I answered her on a (I think) convincing voice. "Even if everyone wants to focus on the big things, we all tend to care more about the little things. It's like trying to find a little bit of happiness in everything so in the end you're happy whatsoever the result you get, right? If you work twenty years without ever smiling once, there isn't any end to this that will justify the sadness you would have been through, do you understand?" I asked her a question, but I kind of already knew the answer so I kept on talking before she could even try to say something. "Big things like stars are too far from us, too gigantic to grasp like it's nothing. Sure they look really tiny from here, this hill that has been host of many discussions about life in the past and probably for the future too, but even if you try and reach out your hand to them, you won't catch
them like that, it's not the way it works, you don't have to stretch your arm every night in hope that someday your arm will be long enough. I believe it's how life works and people who care too much for things they can't even get a glance of yet are fools who cannot appreciate enough the present time and are eager to be something they aren't." "That's how I see the whole thing; I prefer getting every feeling and memory from the present and enjoy it than wait for later, like those nights spent with you under the stars, talking about useless stuff. That's how life should be." I finally turned my head at her to see her reaction. I was expecting either a confused face or a boggled mind. At the opposite, she rolled herself in her blanket up her nose and was looking directly into my eyes with hers being wide opened. I felt a bit uneasy and shy about this turn of events. I wasn't the only one. "W-why are you blushing?"
02 – It Will Rain for a Thousand Years Tonight when I arrived at the top of the hill, I found myself being alone sitting on the grass. I arrived a bit early I must admit, there were still faint orange rays of light piercing through the treetops from the last bits of a sunset already forgotten. The wind was gently blowing in my hair, bringing up the sweet scent of autumn to my nostrils. I took a big breath in but it ended up being a sigh when it came out. "Why are you sighing? Did you miss me that much?" a familiar voice said behind me, followed by a cute giggle. I turned around and saw her in a seasonal red coat and a fitting scarf that covered her mouth in a lazy but delicate way. I didn't answer her question with words, simply sending back a smile. "Are you afraid of getting cold?" I asked jokingly. She didn't seem quite irritated but she looked away for a moment. She was looking at the sky as her hair received the same treatment as mine from the wind. I thought it was more graceful and spectacular when blown into long and silky hair though. "Aren't you going to sit?" I asked her since nothing was happening.
Not because I disliked silence or the smooth sound of rattling leaves in the trees but because I was afraid she would begin a conversation while standing and I, comfortably sitting in the grass, would feel awkwardness towards this situation. "No", she replied, "It's going to rain, I saw it". If she saw it, that was no mistake. I looked up to the sky to find clouds, to no avail. People considered her a prophet, in my opinion she could just have some good intuition or ridiculous amounts of luck but since I'm a human, I tend to believe what I'm being told, even the inexplicable. This "myth" started a few years ago, we were still young and clueless. We're still clueless but that's not what I'm trying to say. My father is a fisherman, he leaves the shore every week or so for a few days and then comes back with food for a handful of people living near us. He never asked anything in return and would refuse any kind of payment. One night, there was a thunderstorm raging outside and the wind was blowing so hard that walls were shaking. Obviously, she was afraid of thunder so she didn't sleep at all during this night. In the morning, she woke up my father early and she told him not to go on the sea today. He told her that the storm was over and it was safe but she insisted that another one was coming and he had to stay home, he didn't want to be mean to her but he kind of had to go.
As he wasn't replying, she started to cry, repeating the same words over and over again. In the end he decided to stay home but his fishing pals went anyways. This very night, all of sky's contents fell down on earth. Two weeks later, they were still missing from the coast and it's only one month after that somebody found the floating body of one of those men ashore. Since then, she has been able to predict major events that were taking place around us, not only related to weather but I think she saved a few lives with this "power" of hers. That's not something I can boast about, the only life I saved is some mouse that was going to get eaten by a snake, I just scared the snake away and the mouse fled too. I wonder what kind of feeling you get when you actually save someone's life. I guess you're happy for the person to be still alive and able to see the life's wonders. I guess it's also heart-warming to get thanked honestly, it doesn't happen anymore recently with all this selfishness around the corner, at least there are still a few heroes in this world. "What are you doing?" she asked me while being surprised by a stealthy drop of water on her nose. "It already started raining, stop spacing out!"
I jumped on my feet and followed her as she turned around and leaped down the hill like a little rabbit. I guess our discussions can wait for later, we still have a long way to go, what if we ever run out of topics? It probably won't happen but if it ever does, we'll have one more night alone with the stars, talking about everything that would come to mind. And as I was going down the hill I turned my head around to see big rain clouds, I'm not sure why I didn't notice them at first but they were aggressively coming at us. I wanted to at least give her a hug before going part ways, but when my head went back to its original position, she was already gone.
03 – The Season of Dreams She was eating an apple when I set foot on the top of the hill that night. It was getting colder every day and I even had to bring something to keep myself warm. An old leather jacket was lying around in my house, untouched for years, with the smell of wood fire smoke impregnated in its layers of fabric. It was obviously the time of the year to collect the most delicious and tasty apples from the trees of our region that were growing them. I kept my jacket under my arm as I sat next to her. I didn't want to disturb her feast so I waited until she was done to start off the night. "Today felt like it would never end", she looked at me mysteriously as I kept on talking. "I have been chopping wood all day in preparation for the upcoming winter!" She didn't seem impressed and her gaze went back to the apple core she left in the grass. I wondered if she got saddened by something today since she was pretty silent, she usually was the one talking and initiating conversations. "Have you ever wanted to climb a mountain?" she asked me out of the blue. I wasn't prepared for such a question and I believe I've let my face translate my feelings of confusion for a moment since she almost instantly resumed her speech.
"Oh, it can be something else than a mountain, I meant to ask if you ever dreamt of doing something really great and rewarding?" Honestly, I didn't have any idea of what I should answer to this question. Did I ever set a goal for myself in my life or had any idea of grandeur like the one of climbing a mountain? Such an achievement was far different from climbing this grassy hill when the night falls and when the cicadas go to sleep. It almost became a habit; something my body would do on its own without needing me to think about it. I don't really hate it, it means fewer efforts for me and I must say that those nights were kind of enjoyable. Taking the time to stop running and actually speak and think about life was somewhat refreshing for me, escaping the redundant life I had. We could speak for hours, always switching topics but always having something to say about it. While I was pondering about her question, she started to stare deeply at me. I could easily feel her gaze pierce right through my soul like a sharp but not painful arrow. I kind of had the feeling she was trying to read my mind to try and guess the answer before I would even dare to open my mouth. I kept the suspense for a few more seconds before finally answering with the most boring answer I ever said.
"I don't know, not really, a mountain's pretty high isn't it? I think I would get scared by heights." As I was speaking I wondered for a moment if I was really suffering of acrophobia or if I was afraid of something even bigger than a mountain. I'm lucky that I wasn't going to add anything else after this because she decided to talk anyway. "I think it's another reason to add in favour of doing it. Don't you want to challenge yourself, overcome something bigger than what you can leap? I think it's exciting just to think about it, going beyond the limit of what you can imagine yourself being capable of, you can come back from this pilgrimage stronger and more confident about yourself than before, right?" I listened to her in awe; I was a bit surprised by her again, for the second time tonight, that she would say something like this. I started to believe she had some kind of crazy idea floating around in her head and she probably already knows I would follow her anywhere. Fearing the worst, I tried to poke at it with the care of a tailor. "It's great for you to have such aspirations, but it's a bit silly to only dream of it and never be able to gather the courage of actually doing it. I must agree though that such a rewarding event would be pretty groundbreaking for something as monotone as my daily life."
"I understand it's a bit hard to start since you could easily get depressed if you failed at what you were aiming for. Some people would probably just abandon before even trying because they're afraid to fail." I said all of that on a serious tone like I spoke with years of experience, I barely knew anything about life yet, still experimenting things and here I was, giving advice to the young. "What if you fail? Does it mean you're incapable of doing it? What exactly is this obsession of succeeding everything at the first attempt? I think life is a game of trial and error, where you learn from your mistakes and succeed from experience. People who don't even want to try and that would rather stick to things they have for granted make me sad. What is going on with everybody wanting to get everything the easy way? It's like people don't like challenge anymore, isn't that mundane?" she said on the verge of tears, with a bit of pity for the rest of the humanity. I guess she realized something really important tonight, I don't know if it would actually change her life, we're only discussing, not taking life decisions on this hill. The stars would sometimes guide us through difficulties and maybe I once believed I could tell the wrong from the right, at least for myself that is. "I think there's more than truth in what you said" I replied to her, without giving further explanation or context, I think she understood on which ground I stood and she was happy with it.
We spent the rest of the night staring at our reflections in the cloudless night sky, our heads full of ideas and thoughts we didn't bother sharing now. The cold wind began to slightly bite my skin but it was more pleasant than annoying, I could however notice that she was shivering a bit. I placed my leather jacket on her shoulders without asking permission. "Thank you..." she said, with the quietest voice in the world.
04 – Lady Winter My arms were still hurting from today's labour and I was already headed for the top of the hill, unable to wait anymore for tonight's event. There wasn't anything particular going on today but this was now part of my routine and I was always looking forward to it. I started to ponder what I would do if she decided not to come. Would I still watch the starry sky alone? I didn't think about it for too long since I saw her from a distance, already lost in her thoughts, leaning back on her arms. I climbed the hill and silently took place next to her, assuming a similar position as her. We waited quietly until the nightfall, I was sometimes rubbing my arms to ease the pain and before the sunset, I could barely feel it anymore, Just as the first star lit the cloudless sky, she slowly opened her eyes and spoke. "The winter is coming faster this year isn't it?" she asked. I couldn't agree more, we barely dived into autumn and we already had signs of an upcoming new season. My father and I have been working all week to make sure that everything would be ready to welcome the winter. "We'll definitively have an early winter, it's too bad... I kind of like the color scheme that autumn has. It feels warm even if it's a bit cold sometimes, the way I like it!" She giggled to herself as she was completing that complicated description of the season we were in.
"Yes, it is for sure coming faster than expected but I think we'll still be well-prepared for it. Do you think we'll be getting any snow this year?" I asked, hoping for some spoiler that she could manage to predict. We weren't really lucky with that, we had freezing winters but uncommon were the years we could even see an ounce of snow so we had a saying that told that if it would snow during the winter, the earth would be happy and grow larger crops when spring came. The immaculate flakes would then rejoice more than one when they fell. It was also some light of hope for those who relied on the earth to feed their families, helping them through this hard and demanding work. Even if it wasn't true, they believed it so they would feel like they're were working together with the ground to make things grow. She laughed a bit at my question before replying on a frivolous tone. "Not if we kill Palsye!" she thought she was funny but she took a semi-serious face when she saw that I didn't understand or knew what she was referring to. She proceeded to try and explain to me. "There's a legend that was quite popular when I was young in my hometown. It was the one of a young girl named Palsye that supposedly lived a few leagues from the place I grew years ago. She had skin white as snow, short pale blue hair and blue eyes. From the outside, she almost looked like a little angel but she wouldn't talk quite often, she always seemed depressed and sad."
"The story also says that she would be staying in her room during the day and sometimes wanders around in the town during the night, her parents shut her in because everyone felt uneasy in her presence." "If you stood in the same room as her, you would feel a deep chill run down your spine and even tough blacksmiths would be shivering. Needless to say that she was lonely in this world where most of the people prefer when it's warm so it was probably the reason why she was so depressed." "As the years passed, people of the village would start to hate her, they blamed the rudeness of the winter on her and said she was a witch or a demon that brings bad luck. To add to her behaviour, people who met her during the night said that they were scared to death when they got stared at by Palsye, receiving a glance from her as cold as the cruellest winter. Her parents loved her but didn't really know what to do with her, she wouldn't probably ever get married or have children and she might not even want to anyways." She took a pause, giving me a rest, some time to assimilate what she said and even ask a question if I ever had to. Since I'm a good listener I made her a sign to keep on.
"One year", she resumed, "the winter was really strong and harsh, it came so early that people from the village didn't have time to collect food and wood before it began. Everyone was having their own difficulties and they all felt the need to blame someone else for their laziness. They blamed Palsye for the early and violent winter, for the snow drowning their vegetables and the ice covering the lake where the fish was caught." "Her parents tried to defend their daughter, telling everyone that she was only a little girl, she couldn't do such things but the people of the village wouldn't want to hear anything. They really had a strong hatred towards her and they wanted to let her know. When some of the townsfolk barged in her room, they started yelling at her, they plaid they would all die because of her. Not once the little girl looked at them, not once her mouth opened. Her parents were also being targeted and made accomplices of the town's foreseen demise so they kept quiet, while being killed deep inside." She took another pause to breath and immediately started storytelling again. "I'll skip the details but the townsfolk decided to kill Palsye in order to save the village. They thought that the winter would stop, that their misery would end by killing this girl. Weeks after, the winter was still raging and many villagers died from famine or cold, it was a terrible year for this little town. It was also the last year this town ever saw snow falling down the sky; the winter would still be cold, as it is here, but many people thought that Palsye's death was the reason why
they wouldn't get snow anymore. She had many different names through the years, I think the most popular one is Lady Winter, it's a pretty poetic name and many writers wrote tales of her, being all alone in her kingdom of silence, where no one wanted to live." As she finished her story she rested a bit in the tall grass as if she was extenuated from talking. I think she was happy to have been able to tell me this story. "Well that was a pretty interesting story, a sad one for sure, I wonder if it's also the reason why we rarely get snow too." I started to think about Palsye, how would have she been if she actually spoke to people and what would have happened if they accepted her even if she was different. I also thought that the cruel winter that fell on them was probably a punishment for them being selfish and blaming someone else for their mistakes, that's somewhat pathetic. Do people really hate cold that much? I understand from a biological point of view that humans tend to stay at the same body temperature so they can function normally but I think that cold is also part of the nature and of the seasons. Why not try to live with it; I can only see good things happening. She has remained pretty silent so I decided to end it so we could be thinking by ourselves without having the awkward feeling to have to say something.
"I wonder how it would have been if I lived in the same town as her. I would probably try to be friends with her, I kind of like cold and mysterious girls, they're my type." on those clever words, we stared at the stars for a good moment without saying a word and then I decided to head back by myself. As I was stepping down the hill I looked behind me to look at her, I think she was looking back at me but I kept on walking down the hill.
05 – Winter Apologue It was really the winter now. Autumn flew like a swift and splendid bird across the trees and shook their leaves to the ground. They were curled on themselves as if they wanted to shelter from the violent cold. I had a pretty basic and plain coat to keep me warm, I wasn't really fond of fancy stuff but I think I could have used another layer of protection tonight since the sun wouldn't be there in a few minutes. The sky was slowly turning black and I was still alone on the frosted hill. It was a peaceful night, I couldn't hear anything but the current in the river at the bottom of the hill and wind going through the naked branches of the few trees surrounding me. I was a bit surprised at first that the lake wasn't frozen yet but the currents were stronger than most of common rivers. It is told that it was once empty but after an earthquake hit the mountain far to the west, I think it was actually a dormant volcano, some rock moved and water that was stuck in the mountain's valley poured down the land, forging the ground into a river. I started to think back at what I was asked before about climbing a mountain; there was actually that one tall mountain that gave birth to the river. I could barely imagine how much time it would take to reach the top; it would most likely take more than a few hours, maybe even days! I'm not certain if I would like to do this alone, I would
need a partner and that partner would probably be the person who would drag me there. The peaceful melody of the water got broken by some sneeze echoing from afar, it was an highpitched one so I could easily imagine that it was coming from my not-so-cold-resistant friend. I raised up my head a bit to see a little girl coming up the hill, she wrapped her arms around her frail young body to keep her warmth. When she saw that I noticed her, she waved at me with and honest smile, I think I received a bit of her wellkept warmth since she wouldn't greet me like this normally. As she arrived at the top and sat next to me, I could notice a faint red taint on her upper cheeks, she sneezed again and then spoke. "I think I caught a cold, I stepped in a water puddle this morning and by the time I could dry my feet, they were already frozen!" she giggled like it was nothing and laughed it off. I appreciated the fact that she came to talk with me tonight even if she was sick but I was also afraid that she would push her little body a bit too far, it was really cold outside after all! A cold wasn't something that would kill but if you wouldn't get some rest it could hit really hard on someone, shackling you down to your bed for days. "Shouldn't you get some rest?" I asked, worried. "I think you should be in bed right now, not in the coldest spot you could find in the region." I hoped I didn't overdo it since I guessed she wouldn't want to feel pampered or being told what to do. I
found out that my expectations weren't only illusions when she pouted back a bit at me. Once again I didn't feel like she was angry, I don't think she ever was anyway, but it wasn't probably what she wanted me to say. "I know... but I still wanted to come and talk a bit with you." she explained. I felt relieved I must say since I can't picture myself talking alone with the stars. Well I wouldn't probably be speaking but loneliness is a terrible disease, sometimes really hard to cure, so I had difficulties hiding the satisfaction I had when she said this. I'm not sure why I wanted to hide it though, it's probably what she wanted by coming all the way to me. She wanted to make me happy and the only reward I could give back to her is to show my satisfaction, at the very least. I think it was in my nature to hide my feelings, most of the time it would only fire back at me if I let myself loose so it's probably some kind of innate reflex I had. I think I should reconsider and be a bit more expressive when it's worth it. "I appreciate the thought, really, I just don't want you to get worse." I chose my words carefully not to put too much emphasis on how I felt about it but more to thank her. "Did you have something special you wanted to talk about then?" I asked, hoping she had an interesting topic she thought about. She lied down in the chilled grass and stared at the stars for a moment that felt longer than it actually was, I decided to lie down too.
"Oh not particularly", she said in a joyful tone. "I just had to talk to another human today, I've been in my bed all day! The more I think about it, the more I feel that it is a human need to talk with someone else. I'm not certain that someone would survive alone on a deserted island even if he had enough food and water to survive for years. I'm pretty sure that boredom can kill people, it might be the reason why people want to get married, they want to make sure they'll always have someone to talk to. Even if it's not an interesting topic, even if you always have opposite opinions, being able to talk to other people on a regular basis is a little blessing that shouldn't be taken lightly." she said without a doubt, like if she had a revelation. Like always, I had to add up something after her monologue, she was waiting for it as she was staring at the night sky. "You're totally right, that's the reason why you want friends too. You can have fun with them but you can also talk with them and listen to what they have to say. Sharing life experiences, making jokes or talking about the weather are actually things that keep you alive and make you feel less like a side character to the story of other people's life. Eventually you'll make memories with those friends and when you reminisce those years after, you will realize how much your friends helped you through your life without doing much more than just talking. Speech is a strong thing we have and it can do much more than just convoy information, you only have to know how
to use it." I said, with a bit less insurance than her and a sloppy explanation. I spoke highly but I had trouble to put into words what I was really thinking. I still think that she understood and liked what she heard since I could see half a smile on her face. She got up on her feet and faced me. "Thank you for your insight! I think I will do as you said and get some rest now though, it's getting really cold." she said as her words took a foggy shape when they left her mouth. "I'm going to head back now, good night!" She started to go down the hill and I was wondering if I should at least escort her to her house. It also grazed my mind that she might have wanted me to go at her house to keep her company, it seemed like she felt lonely in her house. I got back to a sitting position and looked at her go down the hill, I'm still unsure if it was because of my bashfulness or my laziness that I didn't go with her.
06 – Meeting Expectations The sky became dark so early today it was almost scary. The sun could hide behind big clouds while they were crossing the sky and once they were gone, it was already time for him to wave goodbye to this side of the planet. The stars didn't showed themselves yet though; we still had to wait patiently for them to come. It wasn't a really painful wait, it was certainly relaxing and I took the opportunity to close my burning eyes that have been smoked all day long. It was still deadly cold outside but since we were dressed enough we had a stronger cold resistance than usual so it wasn't too bad. I closed my hand in the grass and the frosty weed crumbled under the weak pressure I applied to it. I thought it was kind of sad that most of the beautiful vegetation didn't have any defence against cold and would survive through the extreme conditions of the winter. It would be a less depressing season if there were colourful flowers and blooming trees all around, but there's only frozen and dead stuff everywhere. Since my eyes were closed, I couldn't tell if the stars woke up yet or if they haven't, she did that job for me. "I... I saw something today." she said, unsure if she was using the right words. I was expecting the worse, not very often were the times when she told me about what she saw during the day. It was either some prophecy that she saw or something worth telling, like a black rabbit.
For some unknown reason I wished for the rabbit, after all, knowing the future would probably not be really exciting, since the main excitement of life is to discover what tomorrow holds for you, without you knowing it. Sometimes there are good surprises and other times it's an unwanted one, it's part of the game. What if you knew every bad thing that would happen to you in your life? Would you try to escape your fate? Would you refuse dating someone because you know that he would cheat on you in ten years? Would you kill yourself now because the way you die is too horrible? I prefer let the life go without expecting too much of it, life isn't always reliable. "What did you see, a rabbit?" I said jokingly, but still with an edge of hope that she would say yes. I laughed to myself as I made this statement, I couldn't possibly wish for someone to say something in particular, might as well speak to myself every day and having the perfect conversations. "A rabbit? No, I foresaw something. We are going to climb a mountain, you and me!" She took a pause as I looked at her, flabbergasted. "And it's going to be... this one!" she was pointing at the mountain that held the river's water years ago. I started to think if she wasn't reading my mind instead of reading the future, that would be more plausible but still improbable. It might as well be some kind of sixth sense girls have, I haven't met a lot of girls in my life so I couldn't really tell but that was definitely mysterious. She resumed her augury. "We'll be departing in a week from right now, make sure to get ready".
At this moment of the night, I had a thousand questions to ask her, but I started by the biggest one, I wanted to let her take responsibility but I played the game along. "And why would we do that, did you also see the reason behind it. I'm mostly curious about the reason why I accepted" I asked to see if she wasn't making this up. She frowned a bit at me, I got surprised by her reaction, sometimes I can't really tell what she wants me to say, but I always end up giving the 'wrong answer'. That's how it should work I guess. "Did you forget already?" she asked me in a semiaggressive manner. "We talked about dreams and doing big things not too long ago. You seemed all worked up back then to climb a mountain so you shouldn't be saying no now" she said with a bit of excitement for herself. It was clear for me now that she didn't foresee this and she only wanted someone to accompany her on this long path, I'm not sure I was fit for this but since I didn't forget about it and was thinking about it the other day, it would be hypocrisy to myself to say that I didn't want to go. Still, I didn't know if I was ready to leave in one week. "Are you sure? It's really cold now here, going up in altitude will only make the temperature drop more, it's risky! And do you know how much time it will take us to climb this mountain? It will probably be more than a day and I'm not even talking about going back down.
Do you think we're prepared for this? Isn't it too hasty?" I said, with a bit of hesitation. I don't know if I was merely trying to push back the day when we would do it or convincing her to just abandon the thought. "What are you talking about ‘risky’? Where's the gain if there isn't any risks to take? I think you're contradicting yourself, you were the one saying that we had to seize the day and enjoy life to its fullest, waiting to do something we could achieve now is just being lazy or coward. You shouldn't be afraid of the big things, they aren't scary at all. I think you could learn more than how to step on a big rock by climbing this mountain, it's not something you can afford to miss!" she said with all the devotion and conviction she had. I must say that her words had a big impact on me. It's true that I believed all of this, but faced to reality, I was stepping back... hesitating. I said a lot of meaningless words up to now that seemed to make sense to people. It made sense for them because they believed I actually thought it was my way of living but those words were only thoughts of a delusional world that my imagination hosts. I thought I knew everything, or at least I looked like it but in the end I knew nothing, I felt like a total stranger, a newcomer in this world. She easily caught my anxiety and her face changed quickly, once again, I thought she could read right through me, like an open book.
"Someone told me once 'You don't even know enough to realize how little you know'. Back then, I didn't understand what those words meant but I thought they sounded great so I kept on remembering them. Just now I think I found the exact definition of this quote and I also believe everyone has his own definition that fits with his life." I stopped talking and I stared at the moon. I noticed that I never really looked at the moon, my attention was always on the stars, how could I miss the moon, it was bigger in the sky and it was mainly the source of lighting in the night. I somehow felt bad for her and kept on watching her cross slowly the moonlit sky. I wondered for a moment if the moon had a different look when observed from the top of a mountain. I kept my eyes at the sky but I opened my mouth to speak again. A little cloud of vapour came out of my mouth as I started my first word. "In one week, right? You can count on my presence." I said, I didn't watch her reaction but I'm pretty sure that she was happy with it, I smiled mechanically and told myself that I either did a good choice, or the worst mistake of my life. It's a good thing she didn't tell me the outcome of our pilgrimage yet.
07 – The Shortest Path to Freedom We decided to meet at the top of the hill, that sure was original but at least we couldn't have issues finding the meeting spot. It was still early in the morning and I could barely hear the song of a courageous distant bird. We wanted to be able to get the most climbing time we could get from the day since the night's temperature would probably be unbearable at high altitude. I wasn't sure if I brought everything we needed in my backpack, I mostly packed it with food and water because if there's something we don't want to run out of, it is certainly that. I brought some dried mutton flanks and bread, I even took the care of wrapping the bottled water in some blanket to prevent it from freezing. I saw her coming up the hill so I went to meet her halfway. From a first glance, she didn't look like she took a lot with her, at least she thought to bring some kind of tent to protect ourselves from the cruel wind. I offered to carry it and she gave it to me. "You sure didn't bring much with you, will you be alright?" I asked, a bit surprised. It wasn't uncommon to see a girl bringing a lot of useless stuff when going on a journey, it wasn't probably her style though and I always felt that she was someone who liked to keep things simple. It was definitely not a bad behaviour but I was afraid that she would have forgotten mandatory items.
"I only want to climb a mountain, not move my whole room at its summit!" she said with an amused expression. I think I once again underestimated her, she sure is a master in the art of looking good when being careless. On those meaningless words we started to walk in direction of the mountain at a steady pace. We didn't talk much on our way there, I bet she had, like me, her head full of thoughts and worries about what we're going to attempt or she might only have been tired, it was still early after all, and almost unforgivable to be thinking at a time like this. After a few hours, we finally arrived at the very foot of the tall mound and I must say that I was impressed. The mountain was really bigger than what I thought, I always observed it from far away so I couldn't really tell but now that I'm standing next to it, I almost feel insignificant, how in the world could that so much earth would agglomerate in such a place, this went so high in the sky that it probably touched the clouds. She was looking at me, a bit amused by my amazement. I don't know how my face looked but it was probably worth the show. My mind suddenly felt the need to imagine myself being really high in the sky on a tiny path, I had an unpleasant feeling in my abdomen and I felt like losing balance, even if I was on solid ground. She put her hand gently on my shoulder to make me wake up from my delusion.
"Hey, stop daydreaming, we have a mountain to climb, are you ready?" she asked. Without waiting for my answer, she started to walk on a manmade path into the mountain, I followed her. "I've been here before", she continued, "I used to come here sometimes but I never have been really far, there are some roads at the bottom of the mountain since it's not too steep but not much more." It seems like she was more prepared than what she looked like but since I just learnt that I couldn't really rely on this feeling to actually know what she was up to, I tried to not feel overconfident about it. We kept on walking but as she said, at some point there weren't any more roads to guide us, we had to make our own path, I thought it was a metaphor on life, when you're young, you always have people to guide you through life and helping you making decisions, but as you grow up, you're more and more on your own, you can't be depending on other people too much, and that's how it should be. Would we really be climbing that mountain if there was a road carved by others that led to the top, it would ruin the concept just a little bit, just enough to not be doing it. We will get to the top by ourselves, using everything we've learnt so far, without anyone telling us what to do or what not to do, it's what some people would call freedom. It's pretty common to hear that real freedom doesn't exist anymore, no matter how free we feel, that it's a fake freedom and we're still being restricted to follow the cast of modern society.
I think that's not really true, maybe it's only because people want more when they get more but I think the freedom I have is more than enough. There are some rules to follow to make sure the world keeps turning, it's like if we wanted to fly to the top of the mountain instead of climbing it, should we stay reasonable for once and think about those who really have limited freedom, those who can't even set foot on the mountain, because they don't have feet, those who don't have the right to dream, those who are restricted by their own stubborn minds. Once again, everything is relative to something else, but everyone knows that so I don't really have to mention it now, it's just a reminder. As we kept climbing up, it became harder and harder to keep a good pace, we would take breaks sometimes and talk about useless things, as always. The sun went down early too since it was the season of short evenings so we decided to stop climbing when it was completely dark since we would probably just get lost. We set up the tent with the last ray of light coming from the moon before she got overwhelmed by dark clouds. We ate a bit before going to bed, I think I made a good choice with the mutton since she devoured it, that made me feel somewhat good I must admit. I had trouble falling asleep, it was so cold even if I had a thick blanket and the tent was blocking the freezing wind. I tried to think about tomorrow to forget about the cold, we could probably reach the top before the nightfall if we woke up early and kept a good climbing speed.
As I was estimating time, I felt a little and delicate hand grabbing my arm. Her hand was really cold and I felt the urge to take it and give it some warmth, but I didn't. She dragged herself up to me and rested her head against my arm, she looked so peaceful that I decided to pretend I was already asleep and subtly looked at her. Body warmth was great after all.
08 – A Little Bit of You and Me I woke up as the sun pierced through the thin but resistant membrane that protected us for the night. I decided to venture outside alone for a bit since she was still sound asleep, I wasn't planning on let her sleep all day but I would probably have been punished by the gods for interrupting her slumber. There wasn't a big area to explore, we found some flat ground to set up the tent for the night but everything else was a steep mountain, going all the way up to the sky. I went to the edge of the platform I was standing on and stared at the skyline and realized that I had a clearer view of the sun than when I was on ground level, I guess it was because there were less obstacles that were blocking the sunlight and therefore it was plausible that really high mountaintops would get morning light while the land would still be dark. It would really be amazing to see only the apex shining in the darkness, like a lighthouse. I couldn't stand anymore on the edge so I took a few careful steps back and turned around. I could clearly see that the little one in the tent was rummaging in something since where was a lot of movement in there, I dared not to enter and I waited for her to get out on her own. "Good morning" I said as soon as she poked her head out. "Are you ready to climb a lot today? We still have a good distance to climb before we reach the top!" I hurried her to get ready.
I made a few calculations and we should be at the top of the mountain by the end of the day if everything went well, but what could wrong anyways? We couldn't really get lost, it's a mountain, there is a way up and a way down and since it's not nearly flat we could easily find our way. What if somebody fell or was injured? That would slow us down but first of all I wouldn't want something like this to happen. I started to be afraid that something bad would occur today, I had a strange feeling but I thought I could probably count on the fact that she would be able to foresee it before it happened. What am I talking about? I didn't even believe she had such powers in the first place and knowing her, she probably won't tell me as long as it doesn't kill us both, so we can fail and learn from our mistakes, but would have she seen this even before inviting me to climb this mountain with her? Was it planned that somebody would get hurt, was it planned to fall at least once to get back up on feet? Was it... fate? As I was imagining things that didn't make sense, she spoke to me with a half-asleep voice. "I'm happy to see you're hyped for this, let's get moving now before it's too late." she said while starting to pack our things in our bags, drinking a bit of water to get rid of the morning breath and yet here I was, paranoid about the 'before it's too late' at the end of her sentence, she really had planned something and it could happen at any moment. I think the heights are doing bad things to my brain, I'm acting weird and I lost reason.
Even if I told myself that I was stupid to doubt her, I still had my senses at full capacity while she looked pretty relaxed for someone who was climbing a mountain. We went up for hours and I didn't have the feeling we were actually getting higher, it was like the mountain was an endless staircase that you would escalate forever. I suggested that we should accelerate a bit and we did so, but we became tired more often and had to take more breaks so it wasn't really helpful. We stopped again to drink a bit of water before continuing and I noticed that her forehead was all sweaty while mine wasn't, I guess it was a bit harder for her to do this. I had a physical job so I was used to physically challenge myself, I didn't know what she was doing when she wasn't with me, on the top of the hill, I never really asked and I'm fine with it. I didn't need to know those kinds of things from her to discuss as we always did. We resumed our work towards the top and for once I felt that we were really progressing, we were almost there. A bit before the sun disappeared behind the far away trees, we were finally standing at the stop of the mountain, on a little plateau that had enough room for us to actually stay for the night. It was necessary since going down would also take a lot of time and we couldn't do it during the night. Setting up the tent was a bit more challenging than before since the wind was so strong at the top, but we ended up victorious in this fight. Once we were done, the sun went down and some stars appeared in the sky, we looked at each other and without saying a word we agreed.
We lied down at the top of the mountain, staring at the night sky and it felt like there was an handful more stars than usual. I thought it was a bit crazy to see the moon from a different angle, to be honest she looked the same as before, was that normal? I believed that one of her faces would hide something shinier than the sun, I just had to find it. Now that we succeeded to get to the top, I felt that I was a fool to think we wouldn't be able to, how could I even think of something like that, I don't know why I was that afraid. I decided to speak first. "You were right, this experience sure was rewarding to me, I finally feel like I did something big and now that I know that I can do it, I will probably be wishing to do more impressive achievements to challenge myself, it's really great when you succeed at something hard!" I said with the excitement of a child, she looked amused. "I think I could die here..." she said with a sigh of relief. We took a bit of our time to get this magnificent view burned in our minds and took a new load of fresh air in our lungs. The air was freezing but it still felt good, it was almost like if they were getting cleaned. I closed my eyes for a bit, I was a bit sleepy but I wanted to stay awake a little more, the temperature fell down again and I turned to her to see what she was up to. She had her eyes closed too but I think she fell asleep, I couldn't blame her, we had a tough day and I was myself quite tired.
For a moment I wondered how she could fall asleep in those conditions but her long and beautiful red hair looked like it was ablaze, giving her the warmth she needed to get a good night of sleep. For some reason I really wanted to touch this hair to see if it was actually warm, so I carried her to the tent so she could at least sleep under her blanket. As I turned around to shut the tent, I witnessed something wonderful, a miracle. It started to snow.
09 – Another Year, Another Ending The night was short and soon enough, we were back on our feet ready to go all the way down what took two days to climb. We planned to do it in only one day, it seemed possible to me and it would be a perfect challenge to complete our achievement. It was still hard to have a good walking speed at first because it was so steep we had to be careful and since it snowed the day before, the ground was slippery. I wonder if it only snowed on the top of the mountain, it was plausible that snow would only fall and stay at high altitude and thawing on its way down to the land, even if it was very cold. A fancy thought crossed my mind; the snow could have been a sort of reward for the brave souls that would challenge their bodies and minds to climb the mountain so they would finally see snow. I think it's far more than what it looks like, there is some hidden meaning behind it and I guess everyone has his own reward upon completion of a hard task. I don't know why mine was snow, I never really wanted to see snow, though I must say it is beautiful. A pure white powder descending from where I watch every night in search of answers, could it be interpreted as some kind of answer?
She looked more amused than me to see this snow and she would take a devilish pleasure to throw amorphous balls that would scatter before even reaching me. It was funny at the very least because I can't say that going down a mountain is as fun as climbing it, we weren't even discovering new places or things since we took the exact same path to go down, we both felt uneasy about our directional senses so we went the safe way. "Don't you think it's funny that it snowed for the first time in years on the day we decided to climb that mountain? It must be a sign of the gods!" she said with enthusiasm. I began to think she had something to do with this chain of events, I decided not to think of it too much. "It might be the beginning of something we're not even aware of, wouldn't be amazing?" she continued, lost in the euphoria of the natural wonders. I have to admit that I was also impressed by the weather but I didn't take it as a blessing of the gods so I just kept on smiling back and nodding at her rhetorical questions. I felt that the temperature was a bit higher than the day before, I guessed that snow made that change so we could go down the mountain without freezing to death so I ended up being grateful anyway. It's all about being in a cycle, reaching the extremes and then getting some respite when everything normalize itself, it somehow always happened to me like this.
"What do you want to do once we're back on solid ground?" I asked out of nowhere, I think I only wanted to fuel a discussion that was led nowhere, we couldn't do much more than talking anyway, aside of throwing snowballs with the rare snow that was still left at this altitude. My guess was right, only the top of the hill would get covered in snow, and it wasn't probably as rare as on the land. I thought it was one of those little wonders that you might miss if you don't look at the right moment, life is supposedly filled with them but I think I have gotten blind of near-sighted since I would miss most of them. I guess luck isn't on my side for this. "I want to go watch the stars at the top of the hill!" she said with a joyful voice. That wasn't exactly the answer I was looking for; I meant it a more general way, like what she wanted to do next as a challenge for her life or something, anything would have satisfied me, except what she wanted to do tonight. I can't say that I hate spending some time with her, she was good company but I had to go home soon, I was away for a few days now and I had responsibilities to take care of, oh what a busy man I am! But since I knew I wouldn't probably be able to see her again in a few days, I decided to accept her offer, even if she didn't really say that she wanted me to come, I implied it.
"Alright then, the top of the hill to conclude this journey, I think it's a good choice you made here, it is a clever way to tell the stars we're not forgetting about them even further away from them." I said, a bit like a poet. I wasn't really serious in the way I said it but as I think about it, there's a hidden meaning behind those words that would be worth looking for. We finally came out of the mountain safely and with a sigh of relief, we walked in direction of the hill as the night fell slowly above our heads. The cold wind was whispering a melody of emptiness but my heart was filled with warmth and pride, the harmony was beautiful. Once we reached the top of the hill we mechanically took position and stared at the dark sky, the stars were already out so we didn't have to wait to speak our minds. But neither of us spoke. Were we listening to the soft song our ears were exposed to, were we waiting for snow to fall once again? I'm not certain. After a while, she finally broke the pact of silence and spoke with an ambivalent tone. "I'm glad that we made it this far together" she said while delicately laughing. "I feel like I can open myself a bit more to you now, are you willing to hear my laments?" she asked me, I could feel the pain and pressure she had in her voice, she was holding something inside she just couldn't tell everybody about it and the burden was too heavy for her alone to bear.
I couldn't deny such an honest demand, so with a polite nod I accepted her to tell me what she had to say, I wasn't here to ignore her anyways but we didn't have the habit of speaking about ourselves too much. My heart was beating a little faster than usual and I felt a warm wave go through my body, was that how it felt to be worth someone's trust? I remained silent and let her speak. "I have a strange disease, well I'm not sure if it's a disease anymore or a curse." she said with a lot of emotion in her voice, it seemed difficult to say it, as if it was bigger than what her mouth could handle, she took her time. "I'm not sure if anyone has ever had this kind of illness and I don't think it's curable. My heart stopped growing along with my body when I was young..." I could see from the corner of my eyes that her hands were trembling, reaching for her chest. "Right now, my heart is the size of what it was ten years ago so it cannot do the tasks my body asks for." she tried to explain it in a way that I would understand. This was indeed a terrible illness, what was the cause of this? I had so many questions bursting in my head right now that I was urging to ask her but out of respect I remained silent, once again.
"I'm beginning to have difficulties doing hard physical tasks, climbing that mountain is probably the last big thing I will ever be able to do, but I still want to do more! Unfortunately, if I keep up like this, my heart won't be able to follow." she said, on the verge of tears. When she said that I remembered when we were lying at the top of the mountain, watching at the stars as we are right now, I could hear her words echoing in my head over and over again 'I could die here...' and I somehow felt really bad for not knowing that first, I thought she said this because she was amazed by the scenery, I didn't think she was serious. I tried to open my mouth to talk but she kept on talking. "I really have no idea how to cure this, aside of getting a new heart, but that's just impossible and it wouldn't probably work, I'm so sorry for telling you this but I felt the need to share it with you, please don't worry too much about me, I'm fine right now" she was wiping her eyes with the tip of her sleeve. I didn't know what to say, to think that my precious friend was struck with some terrible disease was just too much for me, I wasn't able to face reality. She stood up. "I'll head back myself now, I'm sorry if I troubled you..." she turned around and started going down the hill. I was still shocked by what she told me.
I thought to myself that from this day on, everything would be different between us, our conversations wouldn't have the same neutral feeling and could we still laugh about life when we are faced to death? I was certain that it would be different, but did it have to be in a bad way? I jumped on my feet and ran down the hill to catch her. When I got close to her she turned around and I could clearly see on her face that she was holding her tears when she told me about it. I took her in my arms, closed my eyes and embraced so hard that I had to stop because I was afraid I would break her, she stuck her head on my chest and cried warm tears. "I don't want you to die, nobody is going to be willing to listen to my crazy stories, you're not going to die aren't you?" I whispered with all the care in the world. I already knew that she would die, so would I eventually, but faced to something not far as the stars was really scary and I could feel that she was more scared than me, judging by her shaking. She gathered all the courage and strength she could gather from what she had left, but she still couldn't look at me in the eyes, she left my arms and took a step back. As she opened her mouth, I felt that the earth was crumbling under my feet, everything fell apart. "I have one year left to live."
10 – The Fulfillment of the Empty-Minded Tonight I felt like I was fading away, even the piercing cold could not reach my inner existence. I was standing on the top of the hill, I didn't ever bother to sit down but I was still looking up at the fluffy darkened clouds, I'm pretty sure they weren't really that dark, but light refused to tell me truth for now. I think I stood there alone for hours, she wasn't going to come tonight, I already knew that, I wasn't probably waiting for her then. Why am I here? I just realized for the first time of my life that I don't have anything to talk about with myself, it might be because I'm not usually the one who engages conversations or maybe because I can't think of something that would interest me that I'm not already thinking about. I felt that this was a bit too much complicated but in relief I thought that it was probably the only way I could talk to myself, trying to explain things to myself that I didn't understand, it sounds strange but if I could put it in other words, it's a bit like being cloned and then trying to speak with him. What would you talk about? It's the exact same person as you, has the same memories, feelings and knowledge as you, don't go thinking that you can use what you know to keep a decent conversation with your clone; you will have to make an effort and go further.
I wonder if that would have worked with my clone, probably not, he would have thought the same thing. I pulled my hair a little bit as I was trying to figure things that didn't really made sense. Why wasn't she coming tonight, and why did I just say I knew it? She was probably feeling awkward, she's probably afraid of what I'm thinking about it, I don't know how I should react to it, should I even choose a reaction? If I look too much concerned she will feel bad about telling me but if I never bring it back again she might think I don't even care. I finally decided to sit down to calm down a bit, I was trying to guess how she would want me to react, that was a bit weird and I'm certain that she would want me to react as I would normally react, but I never reacted to something like this so I can only be confused about it. And yet, that's exactly how I was reacting to it. I was confused and lost. But I didn't have any reason to do so, I think it's the lack of having a reason that led me to this state. Alone in this sea of stars, I felt like driftwood, I fell from my tree, from my protection but still I thinking on how to protect others, was it altruism or foolishness? I jumped on my feet and started to go down the hill, the sound of the wind was boring and the black clouds covered the most part of the sky. I wanted to go visit her at her home but I didn't even know where she lived.
I only wanted to tell her that I understood her problems but as ironic as it can sound, it shouldn't be a stick in her wheels, she should forget her illness and enjoy life to its fullest, even if at least one of them is impossible. I know that I'm not the one targeted by this, but I find it strange that people start to really want to enjoy life once they realize they're going to die soon. Is life more enjoyable when it's being taken away? I know for a fact that you realize how much you miss the things you lose only after they're lost, like someone you know or some item that you use, it can even be snow! I'm not sure if it works in this scenario since people who are going to die didn't get their life taken away yet but they might be missing their freedom of life, after all when you know you'll die soon, you're restricted on what you're doing. The freedom of life, taken away by death, that would make an horrible novel name, I hope I never become a writer, I don't think I would ever be able to put my thoughts to words and even if I could, nobody would want to read them since I would write as if I was talking to my clone, trying to explain things I didn't understand, that would be a pointless book. As I went down the hill, I wondered if it was possible to find answers yourself to questions that you don't understand, I guess it's not impossible but finding those answers sure a great fulfillment of oneself. Climbing a mountain was child play compared to this.
11 – Worth Living It's only by the end of the winter that we met again. The sun finally woke up from his long hibernation and proceeded to make my heart thaw by sending her to the top of the hill. I came a few times on my own during her absence but every time she wouldn't be there. I was pretty busy myself so I had to skip a few nights too. She seemed to be lost in her thoughts as she was blankly staring at the skyline, I went up to her and started to talk so I wouldn't scare her too much. "Hey" I said with a peaceful neutral voice. I wanted to finish my sentence with a punch line such as 'do you come here often' but I resigned to do so. I couldn't find anything smart to say so I talked about the weather, how lame. "It's getting hotter now, well... less cold ha-ha, don't you think it's nice?" For a moment I was afraid that she was mad at me since she just ignored what I said and kept staring at the sky, But why would she be? I couldn't think of any good reason but I shouldn't rely on this fact since I never really found any good reason to be mad at someone. I wanted to ask how she was feeling but I ended up poking her shoulder. She jumped in surprise, her face instantly turned to red.
"Oh sorry, I didn't see you there, I'm such a lunatic when thinking too much... sorry!" she said, joining both her hands together as she came back to her senses. This was probably the most awkward moment I've had for a long time. The wind blew a warm melody, it was still a bit cold but it felt good nonetheless. We stared at each other for a long time, I didn't check how long exactly it was but it felt like about two or three weeks. This unbearable wait had to end and I think she didn't feel able to do it herself, in a few simple words I spoke. "I'm glad you came back." Was that not enough? I just spoke my feelings for once and it looked like she was quite happy about it, I guess that will do for now. I felt relieved, everything went better than expected, I thought for a long time of what I would actually talk about when I would meet her again, I had many scenarios planned to meet every situation but I ended up not saying anything else. I didn't care if all my plans went to waste, I was happy that she was there with me and she looked happy too, it's good enough for me. I was still curious about what she did during those days of absence, did she go do another challenge on her own? If so, why didn't she ask me if I wanted to go too? I couldn't do anything else but think that she did something crazy but I didn't want to ask her, there was probably a good reason why she didn't tell me beforehand.
I might be wrong, why am I so curious anyways? Why do humans have that desire to know everything about others, even if it's not pertinent information, everyone wants to know, that's a bit embarrassing... Her smile was radiant, I felt for a moment that I could work a lifetime worth just to be able to see this smile again. The girl I saw the other night was being taken away by the grim reaper, her body's spiritual contents were spilling everywhere but the girl who was standing in front of me now was reborn from her ashes like a splendid phoenix. Somehow, her bright red hair was only adding to the situation. I officially have a lot of admiration for this person who can still produce such an honest smile during the darkest year of her life, it made me realize that life was worth living. I took a seat next to her. "The sky felt larger when you weren't around. I went to explore uncharted lands but I quickly got lost..." I said, trying to open a conversation with a thoughtful sentence. I was referring to the nights I came and without talking to someone else, I could only think too hard and lose my mind, it ended up being a painful but interesting experience and I learned a lot from it. I didn't want to talk too much about her absence so I waited until she finally replied.
"I know exactly what you mean; sometimes you need a light to guide you in what you think. Your thoughts aren't tangible so sometimes it is hard to get a grasp of them if you go too deeply in them. That person can help by offering its opinion on another side that you wouldn't think by yourself so you can have a broad view of the subject, instead of your narrow thoughts." she said. That made a lot of sense to me, at first I thought I was getting lost because she wasn't there, it wasn't a false assumption but it wasn't exactly the reason why. Now that I think back about it, she was that person who would listen to my ramblings and then add her word to the point. I think I did the same too when she was speaking, of course that was called having a conversation but I think her point on the particular case was really interesting since I experienced the alonethinking program and it was really confusing. I'm glad I have someone like this, I guess it's not everyone who does. They probably abandoned the idea of thinking on their own and just accepted the popular beliefs without asking too many questions. I know that some people don't even have the time to stop and think and I personally think that it's a shame.
It's the best way to learn about ourselves and become a better person or at least become closer to what we want to be, not what we should be. On my part, it gives me a chance to remember that I am alive and it gives me a reason to keep doing the things I do.
12 – Expanding Boundaries Today I woke up past noon; I had a hard time to find sleep. It was one of those nights you start thinking about something and then you can't get it out of your head and then when you try to think about something else, it always comes back to what you were thinking first, it's an endless cycle. I guess I ended up falling asleep since I woke up really late but it's kind of strange how hard it is to not think of anything. Even if you try hard to clear your mind, you'll keep thinking about at least one thing, even if it's to not think about anything. It's not supposed to be so hard to fall asleep; I do it every day without much effort, why did I have so much difficulty last night? Why was it so difficult to get rid of all those thoughts filling my mind? I like to sleep but I feel a bit sad when the daytime is cut in half because I slept through, let's hope it doesn't happen again soon. I started to walk in direction of the hill, it was a bit far from my house so I left soon since the sun still goes down early. I' m usually busy watching the beautiful colors around me while walking, even in winter the grey patterns appeal to me and I'm always able to find some analogy to express the complexity of Mother Nature. But not today, once again I was deeply lost in my thoughts, I could easily understand how she didn't notice me the other day if she was in the same situation as I
am, I wouldn't have noticed someone until I would collide with it. Thinking was something hard to do, I should wait until I sit down to do so, I will burn my brain before even saying anything tonight, that mustn't happen. When I reached the hill, I had a little sigh of relief when I saw that she was already there, sitting down on the now soft grass. The temperature has become hotter those last days so everything that wasn't frozen to the core has pretty much thawed by now so it was more comfortable to sit directly on the ground. I greeted her on arrival and sat next to her, I also noticed that wind was singing a different song today, I'm not certain if it's the direction that has changed but the sound of it was pretty nice, I liked it. It seemed like she also noticed that it was warmer since she decided to cover herself with less layers of clothes than usual. As I sat down, she smiled at me and it made me feel a bit warmer, I decided to talk first. "I will stay a bit later tonight, I woke up really late since I didn't find sleep as easily as usual and I wouldn't know what to do alone at home during the night aside of rolling in my bed." She looked at me with a curious look on her face and she laughed a bit, I tried to decipher her reaction but I'm not really good at those games so I tried to act like I didn't see anything but she looked kind of amused by what I said and now I was getting
really curious. "What's so funny about it, I don't get it?" I said out of concern. I wasn't irritated but I don't think I said something funny but on the other side, did I really want to know? "Oh nothing worth mentioning, but since I hate when people answer 'oh nothing' to my questions, I would say that this kind of scenario is pretty common to me, I don't sleep that much during the night anyways" she said with a melancholic tone at the end of her sentence. I wondered if that meant anything. I'm starting to be really annoyed with myself, always trying to find hidden message in what people say to guess what they're thinking, why am I doing this? It's not useful; if they want to tell me something they won't try to say it in clouded words won't they? And if they did, why am I the one supposed to do the effort of trying to understand what they say? I'm not certain of the point of hiding such things, is it like me when I'm trying to hide my feelings in my reactions? I'm not doing it in hope that they'll find out on themselves though, it's the opposite. At the very least, if I don't want to say something because I'm too shy or something, I won't talk about it, I'm not going to do a bad attempt of blurring my thoughts, I'm getting lost again in what I'm thinking... I should ask her for help, I might get out of the fog. I tried to condense everything in one sentence.
"Yeah, I thought about stuff that I want or don't know how to say, should that be normal?" As expected, that question just came out like what I was I was bashing on a few thoughts ago. I should be nicknamed the walking contradiction or something, it's borderline involuntary hypocrisy. For some reason, I started to reassure myself by thinking that I said that to test her, to see what she was thinking about this mist of speech. She didn't look too much bothered by it since she smiled back and came a bit closer while crossing her arms. "Well I can't really tell what's normal or not and I don't know who can, but if you think you're crazy I might as well be interned, sometimes you don't really have to speak to let people know how you feel." she said. I didn't really get the answer I wanted but I must say that I didn't really say the question I wanted to know about too so I guess it's my fault. She took me by surprise when she decided to rest her head against my shoulder, her head was surprisingly light, even with all the amount of information she stored in it. "If you'll excuse me, I feel a bit sleepy now, I didn't sleep until noon!" she said, closing her eyes.
I did not really mind being some kind of pillow, it felt kind of great I must say, but somehow it wasn't only surprising, I felt I was getting closer to her, I hope she didn't misunderstood that question, that's the main reason why talking indirectly is not good, both people can get the wrong idea. One thing's for sure, I wasn't caught in an unpleasant situation and I’ve put my arm around her shoulder to make sure she would fall behind if she fell asleep. As I could have expected, she didn't fall asleep just yet, we spoke all night long, but we didn't say anything worth mentioning.
13 – Shallow Interlude The subsequent nights that we would spend together would come more often and we stayed up late, sometimes until the sun barely woke up when we didn't have any obligations on the next day. I was amazed by how we could speak during hours and always have new topics or things to talk about, I could never get bored since our conversations were always pretty interesting from my point of view. We got really into it, so much that I forgot completely about her health problems and I kind of hoped she did too, at least for a short period of time. I wondered if we could ever run out of things to say, is it possible to have talked about... everything? Probably not, and even if it was, it was unthinkable to do such in a couple of months or years, it would take a lifetime. I think I might be interested in trying to do something like this, I want to tell the young when I'll be old that at one point in my life, I have talked about everything. It will always be a lie or a deformed truth because we're only talking about topics that we have a certain interest into, we don't only talk because we have to and we actually enjoy it. I guess I could rename that achievement a thousand different names and it will always be meaningless, it's not really a feat you can boast on but for me it has a special meaning.
My mother asked me today if I was in love, I didn't really know what to answer since I never experienced such things in the past so I only asked "How do I know?" and I shall say that at least, it made her laugh. Was I too old already to not know something like this? I started to ponder at the meaning of love, I knew what it was for sure, I love my parents for example but it was different to "be in love". From what I heard and saw, being in love means having some sort of physical or mental addiction to another person, would that be unhealthy? I know for a fact that without moderation, any good thing could turn to bad and that is just normal I guess, you need some balance in your life to live well. I remembered when I thought about reaching the extremes and then going back into a quieter period, that's pretty much what I'm thinking about love. Is love ephemeral? I can't be sure of anything right now since my life has limited knowledge but I would say that I see a lot of couples sticking together for years! Unless I'm mistaken in my calculations, they either stop being in love with each other after some time but still stay together for many good reasons that I could think of, but probably not love or if they're still in love with each other, they probably sacrifice themselves by staying together because it's hard on the body and mind to be in love with someone. Again, my statements might be wrong but if I'm right isn't love some kind of drug?
Sometimes you just can't get enough and sometimes you just want to stop and don’t hear about it anymore. I heard it many times... 'Love is dangerous!' why do people bother going for it? I guess sometimes you just can't help it, and like a lot of other things, it can also follow the rule of 'you'll like it once you taste it' but it's all about the amount of time it can stay in your mouth before going stale. Love is complicated thing and I barely delved into it, I'm not certain if I want to throw my life into this pool of complications and hardships, I mean, I'm not sure if I'm ready for it. I remember that in her laughter, my mother told me that I would know when I would be in love. I think I can easily guess why she asked me that question, I spend a lot of time with a girl, I come back late at home and I can't sleep until the morning, there is clearly something suspicious with me. Although when I think back about it, I still don't know how I feel about her, I always thought it was a friendship that was tying us up but now I'm starting to doubt my own feelings. For a long time I believed that I would probably end up loving anyone that would love me, I don't think I'm someone who wants attention but I'm pretty sure that anyone would end up liking someone who would do nice things to you, unless you like unpleasant people.
I would even go as far as saying that when you decide either you'll be doing something nice or bad to someone, one of the biggest factor playing on what your final decision will be is how you would like the person to take it. I'm saying that you don't do mean things to people because you hate them, you do mean things to them because you want them to hate you. It's the same thing the other way, on a neutral standpoint, you don't get anything yourself for doing something nice or mean to someone, there isn't such things as karma or whatsoever, you don't get 'points'. It is true that some actions can give you things while being mean for someone, like getting money out of them, but that's not what I'm talking about. For example, you have the choice to greet someone you know on the street or ignore him, pretending you didn't see him. In this case, the choice you will make would be directly in relation with what you want the person to think of you. If you wave at him and he looks at you but doesn't wave back and ignores you, you'll probably dislike him, and that is probably what he wants by not waving back. To think I realized all of this just now, my logic must be flawed though, why haven't I ever heard of this before? I guess it's the kind of topic people don’t talk too much about, it feels a bit selfish when I think back about it but even if we try to convince ourselves and the others that we aren't selfish individuals, we still are even if we don't want to, it's written in the very core of the human soul.
We live as a society but how good's a support that cannot support itself? I believe it falls over and unbalances everything it was supporting with it, so acting for you isn't a bad thing at all. If I look back at the past months, I have always been doing nice things for her, I think. Does that mean I want her to like me, that could be right according to what I believe but the real question here is what kind of appreciation I am looking for on her part, I guess I still have some time to decide. Let me close this on a clever quote. "Everybody wants happiness, and nobody wants pain, but you can't have a rainbow, without a little rain." -Zion Lee
14 – The Night of Demise I couldn't have expected something like this. Well, I wasn't that surprised but I was still kind of shocked by what I witnessed during my escalation of the hill. According to my usually accurate calculations, she wasn't supposed to be there tonight. It was really on purpose that I came on the nights she wasn't there, I did not want to dodge her and I was merely trying to prove something worthless to myself. Not only she was already there but she seemed to be in pain, or sad at the very least. I'm not really good at comforting others and what to do in those circumstances. I guess I could make her laugh; make her forget about her problems for a moment, that's what a friend would do. The difference between a friend and a good friend is that the second one would give all its will to find a solution, helping her fixing the problem. I think that tonight I wanted to be that kind of person, stepping over all my previous failures as a problem solver, I finally entered her area of awareness. When she noticed my presence, her surprise was far greater than mine but I wouldn't say her reaction was of the same nature. It's at this exact moment that I started to wonder if I made the right decision to not run away, it was too late now anyways.
She switched her crying to a weak sobbing as I was coming closer, she tried to look at me but the shame soaked her eyes in a river of delicate tears so she couldn't, she stared blankly at the ground like if she was asking for redemption. I wasn't really sure what to say, I actually had absolutely no idea, I felt that if the events would come too fast, I couldn't probably keep up and I would end up not thinking before talking and this was a crucial part of my safety. If I just spoke lightly, I would probably say stupid stuff and it would be worse than just not saying anything, as a note to myself I thought that this might also be the case normally, when I think before talking. Unfortunately, my plan got instantly countered as she spoke to me in a trembling and distorted voice. "What are you doing here?" she said, throwing me out of the boat while I was still asleep. How can I possibly explain to her that I was planning to come here without her just to be able to say that 'I come here on my own too, it's not just because of her'? The level of lameness was too high, I had either to choose between lying to her or dodging the question by asking another one. I did not really like to lie to other people even if I somewhat had some talents in it, sometimes it's just too easy to lie to somebody and if you act properly, the person will probably never know. Since I had some questions for her myself, I tried this alternative instead.
"Hey, are you alright?" I asked, immediately followed by another question to keep a good pace "You don't look so good, what's going on". I was actually really concerned about her, the only time I saw her cry was when she told me she had a terrible disease, what could it be now? I actually didn't hope it was something different, I don’t wish for other's misfortune and it's a bit less troublesome for me I must say, well don't get me wrong, I'm happy that she shares things like that with me but less problems for her means her happiness and happiness is less troublesome than sadness right? As I was fighting with myself in a righteous war, she let her drop her head in her hands and said something I could barely hear, I felt a bit bad to ask her to repeat herself but I did it anyways, I was quickly losing my ability to stay passive when seeing her like that, it was really shocking, she was always smiling and laughing at everything, I was even impressed by how she could still be lively despise the pressure on her soul, I'm not sure if the pain was shared, but I felt something not really pleasant. "N-no..." she said a bit louder so I could hear her words, "a year's too long". Obviously I instantly knew what she was talking about when she talked about a year but i feared the worst. "I want to die now" she said with the last bits of control she had over her body, she started to cry again and I stood there, paralyzed.
Her words got mixed with a lot of thoughts in my head, they all started to spin really fast and I lost the ounce of control I had too, I came to a quick conclusion: she wanted to commit suicide. Any way you look at it, that was exactly what she said, more or less. Where did those crazy thoughts come from? She caught me defenceless; I didn't have time to think I had to reply now. I kind of feel I'm taking this as a game, this is becoming serious now... "Wait what are you talking about? Why would you want to die now, that's absurd, it doesn't make any sense!" I said, hoping that she would change her mind with just me saying 'no you shouldn't do that', of course I wouldn't be able to convince her without good arguments and those weren't arguments at all. I couldn't think of a better thing to say and to do so I waited to see what she would answer, but she didn't say anything, she kept on sobbing on a rhythmic tone but it was a painful melody of sorrow. "I knew you wouldn't understand, there's no way you could..." she said, those words hit me really hard, she was right that I didn't understand why she wanted to die now but I couldn't find a decent reason. I think it's the first time I did not understand her, I urged her to explain herself then.
"I feel that everything is pointless, what if you knew you would die in less than a year, you can't even start something without the fear of not being able to finish it and it's not out of motivation, it's because your life ends!" she said, taking a pause right after to take a breath in. "When you know in advance that you won't have enough time for what you're going to do, you come to the conclusion that it's not even worth beginning. I don't want to live one full year with ideas I can't realize, ending up doing nothing but waiting for my death, I'd rather die now." Her monologue was strong and I kind of felt now what she was feeling, I think I understood exactly what she meant, I'm not sure if I wasn't supposed to since she said I would be able to, I might just have misunderstood everything. Still I didn't think that dying now was the best solution to her problems and I guess it was my job to suggest something else. I knew that if I didn't come up with something quickly she would think that she had a good idea or something, I had to prevent that. Unfortunately the only thing I could think of right now was to say the same stuff I said earlier and that wasn't helpful at all. My greatest fear became true, I decided to improvise my speech, every word would be thought on the spot right after I said the last one. That was really dangerous but I couldn't be that careful anymore.
"I understand what you're saying but it doesn't make sense to me. As you're saying, a year can be pretty long, especially if you're not doing anything" I said, I felt like I was running in circles, I had to cut the chase. "Listen, you can start everything you want without caring about a time limit, I know for a fact that even death won't stop you from achieving things, your existence won't end with your death. Hang on to your life while you still can and don't ever think about when you won't be able to act by yourself anymore." I said that with a lot of assurance and it made sense to me, but I felt like she was still a bit confused about what I said. I noticed that she stopped crying while I was talking and now she stood up in front of me. "What do you mean... exactly?" she asked with a bit of hope piercing through her sorrow veil. I looked away for a moment but then I looked directly at her, she raised her eyes at me, her head still hanging painfully down. Her eyes were noticeably filled with uncontrollable tears of sadness. I said something that might or might not change the rest of my life, starting now. "I promise to take over anything that you would start, anything." I felt she got surprised by that statement, I decided to take her hands to give her a trustworthy feeling.
"Even if you leave your body, I will be the one carrying your strong soul and your devotion, I will not let you down even if life does but please I want you to live as long as you can!" I thought for a moment that I would be the one crying but I think I forgot how with the years. She raised he her at me and smiled, I wondered if she thought that was I said was lame, or simply said to make her laugh, failure was imminent, but then she removed her hands from mine. She took a few steps towards me and hugged me weakly, I guess she had little strength remaining in her body, she rested her head against my chest. "I hope you're really serious, I really want to believe you..." she whispered. I could start to feel her tears going through my shirt, they were cold and I could feel her pain through those tears. I think my feelings became clearer now but even then they were still far in the fog, I tried to shoot in the dark. "I would do anything for you, now please, live" I said, embracing her myself, I think that's what I had to do. I was once again surprised by the frailness of her body; it was probably what made her survive this long with her heart still the size of a child's. She took a step back and looked at me, full of hope.
"Actually, there is something I really want..." she started to say, I thought quickly that there was only one possible answer to this and since I came this far I wouldn't accept to let her ask me before I actually did something, that would make me feel like I did it just because she asked me. I took her by the shoulders, dragged her to me and kissed her with all my might, doing the greatest gamble of my life with everything to win and everything to lose. To my greater appreciation, she shook a bit and took me in her arms again. We stood there under the moonlight for a long time this night, I hope this year never ends.
15 – Always Will Be This morning was different than the other. I woke up with a sense of completion and success, I guess it was easy to see how happy I was judging by the wide smile my mother had at the second she saw me. I did something big yesterday that took every bit of courage I could get, I wasn't planning to end in this position and I think that if it would have been a few weeks early, I probably wouldn't even want to be there but now I think I was more comfortable with it. She might have thought about that so she waited until I was ready, but was it what she really wanted? Of course it didn't seem like she was against it but she might have expected something different from me. Planning actions to be able to predict the other person's reactions and moves was a really harsh job and wasn't always efficient or worth the trouble but I guess she didn't have that problem. It became more complicated since I couldn't tell what she could or could not foresee... wait, I'm not even supposed to believe such things, I'm losing it. According to my calculations, we were supposed to meet on the hill tonight. Those calculations were kind of shady and not really precise but we always ended up meeting every time we came, it was about the phases of the moon and it's reflection on the water, at least it's how I knew it and I don't think I have ever been mistaken but I didn't know what would happen tonight.
Did something change actually? I wasn't exactly sure what this meant to her but I decided to not think about it too much as I would probably have my answer soon enough so I did not have to bother with it, right? I made my way to the meeting point as usual as the day ended and hoped it wouldn't rain this time. As usual, I could see from a distance that she was already there, her head being half hidden behind her folded legs, for a moment I hoped that she wasn't crying again but I could see that smile on her face when she saw me, and instantly hid more of her face. "Hello there" I said, trying to say it in the most normal voice possible, "How are you?" She did not reply, actually she didn't move a bit. The pale red tint on her cheeks betrayed her silence, she was being really shy right now and I could perfectly understand that since I was acting exactly the same right now. I would even go as far as avoiding eye-contact with her, I really wanted see these chestnut eyes of hers but it was a bit embarrassing. She like me, had and that finally said something quietly that sounded "I'm fine thanks." and that was enough for forget about the most awkward situation I a while ago, this wasn't only embarrassing uncomfortable but it was also pathetic. Did kiss meant we were lovers now?
Did that mean we had to... do lovers stuff, like holding hands and whatsoever, I didn't really know and it seemed like she didn't know either, we talked about a lot of things on this hill without any reserve before and we were good with it but now we could barely speak to each other because our mouths made contact, was that the pact of silence I heard of so many times before? Was I supposed to get closer to her now, the distance between our bodies was quite reasonable right now. While I had a hard time deciding on my fate, she decided to talk again. "I wanted to say thanks" she said with the same quiet voice as before but she looked like she had difficulties saying it, like if something was trying really hard to stop her from saying it. Someone once told me that the three hardest things to say to someone were 'Thank you', 'I'm sorry' and 'I love you'. At this time I didn't really realize the weight of this fact and I told to myself that he was pretty damn good since he just said the three things in the same sentence, but now I think I know why they are hard to say and in which context, I made it my goal for tonight to try to fit in those sentences. "I didn't know you cared that much about me and what I wanted to do, not that I doubted you or anything but I always thought I was only a talking-friend for you. Thank you." she said in a more confidant tone. I was waiting for such a confession, I felt like we could converse somewhat normally now so I went ahead and accepted my own challenge.
"I should be the one thanking you, you made me realize a lot of things about my own life and how I should live it, I can only be eternally grateful to you since you achieved to change my life with only words, that's not to be taken lightly. Thank you!" I said. She looked a bit surprised now, I guess she didn't expect me to thank her, at first she looked curious but now she was happy, it was a great feeling. Actually, I felt more happy by making her feel happy than everything else, I wondered if it was the same for her, it would then explain why she looked more happy when I thanked her. That made sense. "Do you believe in reincarnation?" she asked me, out of nowhere. This question was pretty hard and I believe we could have spent years talking about this very question without reaching a conclusion. There wasn't any real clear answer anyways, the main idea of reincarnation suggested that you wouldn't conserve the most part of your memory to another life so nobody could really say without a doubt that they have been reincarnated. I went with an easy answer that could save us some time but I still had to explain my position because I felt she only wanted to start a discussion to be able to talk about something and a single-word answer wouldn't bring us anywhere.
"Yes, I think it's a plausible theory. I usually go by logic in the cases of inexplicable mysteries; I can hardly imagine how it is after death, if what we call our 'soul' dies with our body. I'm not capable of imagining it so explaining it will be harder but if you lose your conscience, your existence is erased forever, it's not like you're asleep, you don't even dream, there isn't anything. Actually you won't even know that there isn't anything because everything is over. When I try to imagine it, my brain freezes, like if I was trying to divide by zero or something, when I try to go too far I feel like I'm going out of my body for a moment, it's not something my mind can create." I said. "Reincarnation on the other hand is something I can imagine, our souls would be in suspension in the world, waiting for a new life form to be born. We can wait for an eternity since time doesn't really exist in a non-physical world, I guess it would also be possible to watch over other humans. Well for this to happen you actually have to believe that there is something spiritual living into your body and that this spiritual being is not directly attached to your body. That could be the reason why you can still experience things while your body is asleep, you know, dreams. I know that all of this is hard to believe and most people won’t find a reason to, but I think it's far more imaginable than the end of everything." I stopped here as I thought I pretty much made my point by now and I didn't want to enter too much in it. She looked pretty impressed by what I answered, on a second thought she might just expect that I answered by yes or no.
"That's a really interesting and deep point" she said, "I also believe in reincarnation but because I think it's a beautiful way to see death, if not the only positive way. That's why people shouldn't cry that much when someone dies, their soul is going somewhere else where it's needed, it's part of our job to keep the world turning, right?." she said, as if she was begging me to tell her she was right. I didn't have anything against this statement but I had something to fulfill. "I'm sorry but it's not as beautiful as you think, there are some feelings that cannot be replaced by thinking they're going somewhere else. What if you lost someone you loved, can you still give that love to that person?" "Can you still appreciate the thing you appreciated from that person, I know that you can tell yourself that ' he's not really dead, he's just changing bodies ' but it will actually affect you deeply, death is sad and ugly, no matter how you look at it, no matter what there is after" I said, hoping not to scare her too much but I had to say it. "Thank you for being honest with me." she said with a bit of melancholy in her voice. "But what about the people that love me right now? I don't want to make anybody sad but there isn't much I can do right?"
"I should tell everyone to stop loving me so then nobody would be hurt when I die, wouldn't that be too simple?" she asked a bunch of stupid questions but I didn't bother to answer genuinely to them right now, she would soon answer them herself. I took a big breath in, as if there was some courage in the air. "I love you, and I always will be" I told her, preparing myself for any reaction she could have. "I'm sorry for the trouble I'm going to cause to you but, I love you too..." she said. I could quickly see a tear in the corner of her eyes before she jumped on me to hug me tight.
16 – I don’t care about squares Sometimes, I wonder why people try so hard to care for everyone or at least make look like they do. It's bad fortune to ask someone 'How are you?' when you don't really care about the answer, at least that's what I believe. It happened to me a few times now that I would meet someone that I know on the street, I would greet him and while greeting back he would ask me how I am. It is obvious that he's not planning to stop and start talking with me, why would he start asking questions to me; I won't ask him what he did yesterday night if we just happen to cross each other in the streets. I always reply 'yes' no matter what but I think I'm going to try to answer 'no' one day to see what he does. It can only be funny or sad because he probably expects me to answer 'yes', that makes it even more useless. I think that it's better to have a narrow but close circle or friends than being widely popular but not being able to care and spend time with everyone. I know for a fact that in some occasions in your life you can get to be in contact with the same large amount of people every day and eventually you might be able to make a lot of friends but once you leave that extreme, your life comes back to normal and you can't just keep up with everyone.
It's not a bad thing to let a few friends down, the ones that really care about you will stick around for years and that's how selective you can be about that narrow circle. Anyway, the friends that you will start to forget can come back any time in your life, meeting them at the store for an example, you haven't seen each other for years and then you meet again, you see how much he or she has changed over the years and reminisce about the past times. You might just be then bidding farewell and keep on living your life or that friend might as well come back in your circle for some time but some friends are just meant to stay no matter what. I think that in my case, my circle of friends is closed enough to be able to spend a lot of time with everyone. Actually would that be strange if I considered myself as my own friend? I mean I happen to be doing a lot of thinking, it's a bit like talking with myself, I don't really open my mouth to speak but since I'm the only who can hear my thoughts that would work. I also appreciate myself, I mean, I don't hate myself or anything and I actually spend a lot of time with myself so it would be strange if I didn't consider myself as a friend after all. Nobody ever specified that a friend had to be someone else than you, nobody ever set specific rules to who you could consider or not as a friend, I think everyone has its own criteria. I think everyone should try to spend a bit more time with itself, try to reach inner peace and before trying to understand others, it would be a good thing to be able to understand yourself.
Oh and what am I even talking about right now? I love myself and I understand myself, I'm not so sure about that. As weird as it can be, if there is only one person in the world I don't understand at all is myself. How could that be possible? I don't know but if I did I would most likely understand myself a bit more. I'm trying to find the meaning of life but when I do, I stop living, that sounds a bit pointless but in fact it is. Life isn't something that has a meaning, you can only learn to live with everything it has to offer but one of the advantages of rummaging deeper in the layers of life is that you might find some tools that help you learn basic things such as relationships between individuals, it's a really complicated thing to learn without someone to teach you but sometimes, the best teacher is yourself, learning from what you see and what you think. Try to start being attentive about how people react to your actions, you will start to see a pattern and if you are smart enough you can also start to predict what people will do, it's impressive how the human mind can adapt to somebody else's condition to be proactive. Unfortunately there are some people you just can't tell what they're thinking and that's pretty much why I'm doing all these ramblings.
Actually I don't have a reason at all, I'm trying to find a reason to have a reason, it makes a lot of sense to me and I'm not hoping that it makes any to anybody else, that's why I can keep such a close relationship with myself as a friend, understanding me more that myself can. All the symptoms for a personality disorder have been met and I can blame nobody else than myself for this, but I'm still not sure which one I'm referring to right now.
17 – Night Knight The night started slowly as the stars seemed to quietly drift in the purple sky. The magnificent roof was clearly trying to hypnotize me, to drag me into his powerful torrent of ideas and infinite possibilities; I had to find a way to get out of this distraction. She started to speak to me as to wake me up from my blissful dreams. "There is a story I would like to tell you, care to listen to it?" she asked. Honestly, aside the fact that it was the perfect moment, I could barely refuse an honest demand just like that, I was sitting here for a reason but in the end I never really had one. I stared in her eyes, they were scintillating in excitation and I could start to see a part of the tale she was about to tell me in her eyes, as if she was playing it to herself one last time as a rehearsal. With a smile I nodded to her and took a "I'm now listening to your story' position. I had no idea what kind of story she wanted to tell me but her tales were usually pretty interesting and deep so I was already looking forward to it. "I don't know when it exactly happened but it was long ago." she started. "There was a girl who lived in a town headed and governed by the Church, she had been an orphan since her young age and having nowhere to live, the Church took her and fed her."
"Unfortunately she didn't get all of this for free; she had to work for the Church during the day. She was a like a maid, washing the clothes, making the meals and all other kinds of chores for the vicious priests and religious men. She was still very young and under-aged for this kind of physical work but she couldn't really complain since it was her only hope to not live in the streets." "Every week, the townsfolk would reunite in the small church of the town to pray to the Almighty, sermons would be made and her job was to gather the offerings made to the god. It was considered polite and kept you away from bad luck when you gave some money when attending the mess. Although she was a very honest girl, it would happen quite often that the head priest would suspect her to steal from the offerings money and would make her work harder, sometimes very late during the night and too early the morning." "One day, she went to the store for an errand for the church and she met a boy that she saw before at the weekly preaching. She shyly waved at him as he smiled at her when she entered his shop, he wasn't actually the owner of the store but was working there as helper. That was the first friend she ever made, when luck would have been on their side, they would meet again, sharing a drink and talking about different things that everybody was already talking about."
"It was really plain but it made her happy every time. They weren't really talking about their own lives but they each could understand that they both didn't like their lives and both wanted to do something else or was at least aspiring to. It was good time they spent together and the boy would always chuckle at the girl's bashfulness, she wasn't often allowed to go outside so she didn't know anything about the world or relationships with other people." "The boy, at her opposite, seemed to be pretty comfortable with this and sometimes went a bit too far just to test her. At the end of the evening, having drunk a bit, they started to be more accustomed to the discussion and the boy asked her if she ever wanted to leave the church and do something else." "She replied that she didn't really thought about it but the church was a good employer and she didn't have a reason to leave it since she was assured to be lodged and fed as long as she worked there. " "Of course she wasn't being honest but when the boy told her that he wanted to be a knight in armour on a horse, she laughed and opened her heart. She told him that she always wanted to be a writer, not someone who would transcribe the holy texts but an artist that could play with words like a blacksmith bends iron."
"Her mind was flourishing with ideas on how she could change people's life with her poetry, making their imaginations take weird turns and go where they never went before. The boy was listening to her and was really impressed about what she was saying, those were only ideas but he was already eager to read what she would write." I was really in the story but I felt that she was pretty emotional about this, she was putting a lot of detail in it and she was making a lot of gestures while story-telling. That might have been one of her hidden talents or I might just have been happy to be putting my attention to something else than the sky tonight. I told her to continue. She did. "They wouldn't meet for weeks after this but when they finally met again, the boy in a hurry asked her if she finally decided to start writing. She told him that she didn't since the church was against it and doing anything that the church was against would meet that she would have to stop living there. She probably would have if she could live from it but writing wasn't really a profession you could live from, unless you were really popular. The boy told her that there was an underground writing competition in a neighbouring town, the winner would win a money prize and would probably become somewhat famous. He was insisting that she should participate in this event to make her dreams come true."
"She declined the offer at first since she wasn't confident enough about her writing to be going into a competition and if she would be caught, there was no going back in this town." "She didn't particularly like this town but she needed someplace to go and if the Church decided to ban her from this town, she couldn't expect her future to be better than in a brothel or some shady place like that." "The boy insisted again on how what she told him earlier made him feel something he never felt before and her imagination was out of bounds, she could easily win this competition. Driven by his words, she believed him and accepted to go there only if he would come with her." "He accepted the deal and also told her that he had a friend who lived in this town so they could probably live there during the competition. They agreed to meet up during the night so they could escape the town together and make it to the other town somewhere during the day after." "The night of the escape, she almost felt like they were suspecting her that she would try to run away during the night. She had to jump down the window to avoid being spotted, she ran to the meeting point and to her relief, the boy was already there."
"She couldn't say she didn't trust her only friend but she was still afraid of doing something wrong because she couldn't turn back now, she already had her idea on what to write about and her ideas were turning around in her head really fast, they could probably burst out at any moment, she started to feel a bit confident as they walked together in direction of the other town." "They would exchange some words but both of them were really nervous about this, it could be understood from the girl's point of view but the boy also had some consciences issues. If she were to fail how would he take responsibility? He was the one who dragged her into this and almost forced her to participate. Of course he thought it was for her good, he didn't want her to work all her life for the Church and probably wanted to do everything he could to drag her out from this 'Holy Hell'." "Once they reached to gates of the city, they walked to the friend's house with effort, they didn't take the time to rest during the night so they were really tired. Presentations were hasty and the friend showed her what would become her room for the next few days, it was a closetsized room with a small bed but it was heaven compared to living in the church. She felt really good about the turns of event and almost fell asleep instantly. She woke up some hours after and heard the two boys talking to each other on a low tone, almost whispering. She thought at first that they didn't want to wake her up but as her curiosity rose, she heard them talking about her so she decided to eavesdrop on them."
"'So you want me to give you a portion of the winning prize?' the friend asked, 'That's absurd! Why would I?' The boy started to explain to his friend that the competition would have a greater prize if there are more participants and he would have more chances of winning if she entered the competition since she never wrote anything in her life, she will most likely fail. Those words hurt her pretty bad but she kept listening to them, her hand on her mouth to avoid making sounds but tears were rolling down on her cheeks, she have been deceived and probably sold." "His friend was clearly starting to know where he was going to and started laughing, 'After all those years, you're still the same! Alright, you can have a part if I win, I guess it would be thanks to you.' his friend said, to her greater displeasure. She always thought he was so kind and altruist but in the end he was only a selfish manipulator. She crawled back into her cold bed and silently cried for being so stupid and used so easily. On the next day when she woke up, she thought and rethought it over the night and finally was determined with it, she would attend the competition no matter what." "She was pretty silent during the morning but when the boy finally talked to her about the writing competition and wishing her the best of luck, and that he really thought she would win, she almost exploded. She still told him that she heard them yesterday and that she couldn't believe that she sold her like this."
"The boy looked destroyed; he never planned her to find out and didn't know what to answer so he just looked away. She furiously left the house and managed to find the location of the competition by herself. The competition itself didn't seem really hard, the only criteria was that it had to be a love story." "She didn't really feel like writing something about love right now, probably something more destructive and violent and of course she didn't have any experience with love. She went ahead and whore her heart out, for once, her thoughts wouldn't be limited by what the Church told her to think, she had the freedom to write anything she wanted to. Her great imagination and her magnificent expression made her win the first prize, at everyone's surprise. It was unfathomable that a random church-girl that nobody knew would win in such an event where many known writers were attending, her name quickly spread on everyone lips and her first work became popular fast enough." "The story of this girl ends about one year later. She haven't seen the boy that used to be her friend again until this very day, they met in the street of the town she was now living in and she smiled at him. He was very surprised but they ended up talking together. The boy said he was happy she didn't hold a grudge on him after what he did to her but he had no choice because the shop where he worked was closing and he would be left unemployed so he needed money to live.
"The girl said that if the Church would have taught her one good thing during her life it would have been to be forgiving." "Relieved, the boy asked her how she managed to win the competition against all those professional writers. She simply answered that she wrote a love story about the only thing that she could think of and let her heart and imagination write the rest for her, she didn't do much on her own actually." "Before leaving, she told him that the name of her story was 'The boy who wanted to become a knight'. She also thanked him for giving her a chance to make her dreams come true." "The boy stayed there for hours, he couldn't move an inch and could hardly believe what he heard, they never met each other again but the boy tried to enlist in the king's army of knights." I was once again impressed by her talent of storytelling, I really got moved by this story of hers, I wondered for a moment if she made that story up or if she heard it before. All the tales that she told me felt special, as if she lived there with the characters, I thought for a moment that it might be related to her prophet powers, no never mind that's just silly.
"So what is the moral of this story? Don't believe what guys tell you? Stay true to your dreams whatever happens? Be forgiving?" I asked her, not really because I really wanted that there would be a moral to her story but it would have been lame if I just said 'thanks for the story' or something. "Oh, I don't know, you tell me!" she said while smiling back at me. It was one of those mischievous smiles that you don't really know what's behind. I decided to not answer to this trick question and when she noticed that I was doing so she chuckled and fell down in the grass, staring at the sky like I was.
18 – Honest Hope of Renewal Another month passed by too fast and suddenly we were jumping with both feet joined in another beautiful season, spring. I like to think that this is season is the rebirth of everything. Flowers that would stand winter's coldness were lively again, it was less surprising to see animals running wild in the tall grass of the fields. The vegetables and wheat were growing again, there was nothing like the freshness of spring after a long winter that made almost everything look like going stale. At least I was lucky enough to be able to enjoy some snow during the cold period, which was refreshing as ironic as it can sound. Some like to say that spring is the season of love but I think it's only because people tend to remember how depressed they were during winter and now they want to start over with someone else, I'm not certain that this is the best way to apprehend this but... whatever floats your boat! As I have been speaking about renewal and stuff, she had been staring blankly at the star-filled sky. I didn't really mind if she ignored my lame metaphors but I think that she was actually listening to me and thinking deeply about something somewhat related to it, she confirmed my thoughts in a few words.
"I think I need renewal too" she said, to my rising curiosity. I gave her an interrogative look and she proceeded to explain a bit, actually it was really vague. "I want to be reborn like the flowers and the wheat!" I was a bit afraid that she would bring back the suicide and reincarnation topic we had a while ago, I wasn't really on the mood to be talking about this, I still asked her to explain further. "I can't really rebirth in a cycle like plants would since I'm a human, things work differently for all the species I guess..." she said. I felt I was in a kind of bizarre situation right now, she wasn't the kind of person to make up hazy sentences like that, she usually was more straight-forward so I actually doubted myself for not understanding her statements. "Well of course, the flowers and plants for an example will leave seeds in the ground before dying so when the winter ends, new life would be able to sprout as spring begins. I'm pretty sure that's how the cycle of nature works." I said on a scientific tone, but when I looked back at her, she avoided eye contact and she blushed deeply. It seems like I was spot-on and when I started to understand what she was trying to tell, I wished I never made that kind of reference. I had to think a clever way to react to this, because it was almost already too late since I got really surprised by her reaction.
I think that my best bet was to simply pretend I was stupid and that I didn't understand anything, that would leave me more time to think. Even if I said I was only pretending to be stupid, it was actually a stupid decision so I didn't have to pretend, but wouldn't that be smart? "Hey, why are you reproduction method you feel uneasy?" laughed too, quietly, to. so bashful now, is it the of the plants that is making I said with laughter, she almost like she felt she had
"Well you know..." she said, of course I knew, well I thought I did but anyways... "Do you remember when you said you would do anything for me?" How could I just forget this honestly? "Do you remember me saying that I actually wanted something?" That was actually unexpected, of course when she said it I instantly remembered it but when she said that a couple of moons ago, I just imposed something on her and since she seemed happy with it I guessed that it was what she wanted. I guess I acted like the father that lets his child go alone with Santa Claus and then buys something he think he would like for Christmas. It's not impossible that his child will like the present but that's probably not what he wanted, there is still a desire to fulfill.
In a whim of determination I made her understand that I remembered and I was waiting for more. She hesitated a long time and when I thought she would abandon the idea of saying anything else, she said took a few steps until she was really close to me and she whispered something in my ear without ever making eyecontact. "I want to give birth to a child, and I... I want you to help me!" She covered her face with her hands like if she was having the most shameful moment of her life and I was trying to convince myself that 'I so knew it from the beginning!', I didn't. Basically she just asked me to have sex with her but of course that wasn't the point at all, I was trying to put all the pieces together so it would make more sense to me. She said that she wanted to be reborn, she needed a renewal but she was sad since the cycle of humans was far different from plants. I considered the fact that she would most likely die soon and having a child was probably the best way to make sure she would be in some way reborn even if it's not the same body. That was a bit complicated to understand but that was my guess, she probably wanted to give the life she couldn't achieve to someone else that could make more use of it.
I looked at her as to confirm my thoughts, expecting her to read my mind but she wouldn't even look directly at me, she was being way too shy. On a few serious words, I answered the question on her life without directly displaying my position or opinion about it. "I'm not going to go back on what I said now, that would be lame don't you think?" she finally looked at me and once again tears would fill her eyes. Did she really think I wouldn't keep my word? I mean, I know it's kind of a big deal, if she would have asked me to kill somebody for her I might of have refused but this... was... wait. Did I just willingly accept to have a child and to raise it in the near future? Was I ready for that? Well one thing's for sure I couldn't have more time to be ready but was I willing enough to have an offspring with her and then be the child's only parent. I can't really remove from my head the thought that she would probably leave us not much longer after giving birth but at least I would have a little part of her to take care of. I think that was a good motivation and it was probably an excuse to make sure I didn't regret my hasty words. She looked really happy and she wanted to hug me but it was a very weak hug, it seems like she loses all of her strength when she's crying or smitten. I kept her warm inside my arms for a moment.
"Thanks a lot, I swear to best child ever!" she said, inside but I don't think wanted to give her best at
you that it will be the it made me laugh a bit she was kidding, she it.
"Oh by the way..." she started to say, I could see the beginning of a malicious grin on her face "It's going to be a girl." Damn those prophets, seriously!
19 – Pisces of Truth Today I went by the river to see if the fish were swimming. Obviously they were, I have a strange taste for time consuming activities, not that watching fish was actually something everyone could do all day and felt normal afterwards but it sure gives you yet another chance to think about something that isn't above you. I sat on a big rock that was half on the grass and half in the water. At first, they wouldn't trust me and take many detours to pass in front of me but as the day went, they loosened a bit and they would even approach my feet that were floating in the water. I found amusing and interesting how they lived in such a different way from us, there sure was the fact that they lived underwater and we couldn't. We need to breath air to live and our lungs would be upset if water was mixed with it, it seemed that fish didn't have that problem. I wondered what they were thinking of us humans, I mean, everyone at least wondered this once in their lives but didn't really care in the end. What are we to fishes? The first thought that I get it that we use clever lures to catch them and eat them, we are approximately three hundred times their size and we have arms and legs, isn't that scary. It's like if a huge tentacle monster was attacking a school and then suddenly... no actually it's not really like that, where did I get that idea from?
I wonder if there is racism within the fishes of the river, I can hardly imagine seeing a trout looking down upon a carp or something, that wouldn't make any sense. I guess they have some kind of territorial sense but do they have a currency? Does that mean they cannot live in society? I looked up for a moment, enjoying the trust they had in that giant fish-eating human, it was a beautiful spring afternoon but I didn't have anything to do, I looked over my shoulder and noticed an empty top of the hill. I usually had a bad memory and it was striking again, I couldn't even remember the first time he met her at this place. It was a long time ago but still I frowned upon myself for forgetting something like this. I looked back at the fish that was poking my foot with his head and wondered if we could ever be friends, probably not but I wished I could, he looked sympathetic and clever, he probably thought the world as I did and we could have great discussions over the years. It was a bit sad that we had to part ways now but I felt that the moments I spent with the fish were precious. As I removed my feet from the river, he looked at me with one eye and this was the saddest fish I have ever seen. I bet that if he wasn't in the water I could have noticed a few tears leaking from his vitreous symmetric eyes.
He turned around and walked away (not literally, he doesn't have legs thus he can't walk) without ever looking back at me, or maybe he did once, he angled his body a bit to look at me but when he noticed I was still watching him go he just moved faster along with the flow of the forgiving water. Would I be willing to be in the middle of the food chain, even if I'm still getting eaten by the bigger ones of my kind being a human... to be able to live underwater? Probably. I guess it wouldn't be that bad and anyway I already have a bad memory and there are most likely hills in that river. I could discover at last if the river's inhabitants were taking the top of the water as we define the sky. All those stories about people being sucked in to the sky would then make some kind of sense; it's like catching some fish when going fishing! The stars would probably be all blurry and not so shining when watched from under the water but is it possible that we had the same treatment when watching the sky but without noticing it? I never saw the stars beyond the clouds and the sky, could they be different? I could only think to make a metaphor about the people who hastily judge people by their looks or ethnicity, I guess that I understand their position if they've always seen other people with their eyes clouded but did that prevent them to look beyond it?
I don't know for sure but I never tried looking beyond the clouds to see if the stars were different under their cover but I will most likely try now, I wouldn't want to miss the beautiful traits of their true faces. I pointlessly walked in the grass while thinking how the world would have changed if wolves had invented weapons before us. Would they be waging wars among themselves or against us? I think humans and wolves are pretty much natural antagonists by now, we took control of the sheep that would have probably disappeared by now if we hadn't protected them, I mean... they don't really have a way to defend themselves; they just eat grass and run away when in danger. Shepherds were the ones responsible for giving wolves a hard time catching their prey but we had our reasons too, we took their wool to make clothes so we could survive winter. Well we also ate their meat too but at least we're making sure they reproduce enough, could the wolves do a better job than us protecting the sheep? I mean, we're not really better than them, we both end up eating the sheep and they might be wiser and find a better way to manage this than us. One thing's for sure is that wolves would most likely take those weapons to start a war, I'm not sure yet what would be the reason but a war with a good reason never happened yet in all history so it would probably be something like opinions on the breeding of the sheep.
I'm always saying that wars are stupid and useless but yet I have started a war against myself, an eternal fight in which I ironically cannot win. My whole life is an irony and yet I can still stand on my two legs like nothing happened, it that what we call a balance? Like trying to mix water and oil, blood and sweat, love and hate, sky and earth? I'm not certain if I can consider irony as a balance, even a paradox would make more sense to my ears. I'm beginning to feel weak and dizzy and I start to lose balance, my foot slips over a wet patch of grass and I fall down in the grass. It felt comfortable so I stayed here until my stomach remembered me that I had some matters to attend to in this empty yet fulfilled afternoon. It sure was interesting to see how the animals would interact with each other of their kind as if they were humans, even if that has zero chance of happening it made me think back on what we were actually doing, and I cannot say that we can afford to look down upon them saying they're only animals and that they don't own a reason. If reason was the culprit for how we are today, we might as well live as the dogs of the living beings. I went back to my house to discover that my mother has cooked some fish for the last meal of the day, what a coincidence.
20 – Escaping the Fate I think that with the time passing, we forgot that calculation about how often we would meet up and at what frequency, we would pretty much end up meeting at the top of the hill every night. The days were stretching out every week and the time of our reunion was always being pushed back. Well we could meet earlier but we still wouldn't talk until the stars have waked up, some things will never change even when the seasons flew away so quickly. I was pleased by the shrinking distance between us over time; it kept my heart warm from the cold bad weather. She wouldn't shield me from the chilling light rain but I still felt comfortable staying outside without any fear of catching a cold. She looked at me for a few seconds and then her gaze went up to the darkening sky, she started talking on a hesitant tone. "Do you like this place?" she asked, that was a strange question but it still left me hesitant. I did not bother for a minute wondering what she meant, I somehow knew exactly what she asked me. Still I was left hesitant, I had lived here for all my life and I had many memories with almost everything around here, the hill, the wheat fields, the fishes and the nature. On the other side I wasn't a big fan of cold weather and since we just fought against winter, I was still holding a grudge against it, that made of me a weak individual but I'm not here to be strong aren’t I?
I answered to her in a hazy and cloudy sentence about the region having its downsides but still being great, she didn't look satisfied by this answer but I couldn't really add another word without a risk of backfiring. She tilted her head and asked something else instead. "Did you ever want to go somewhere else then?" I was kind of starting to see where she was going to but I didn't answer yet, I pretend to think about it and simply asked the same question to her. "What about you, don't you like this place? Do you want to go somewhere else?" I asked, patting myself on the back for my clever move. She, on the other side, didn't look that impressed though, actually her expression didn't even change, I was a bit disappointed. With a light smile, she honestly answered. "I really love this place, I could never forget about it but I think I'm bound to go somewhere else at some point in my life... I think that this time has come now" she said. Obviously she wanted to travel but did she actually mean to go live in another town? What was the point of this? Meeting new people maybe, but I bet she still doesn't know even half of the people in our town. Was she trying to escape from something or someone?
All those questions that I didn't really had the courage to ask but at the same time I guess I could have lived pretty well without knowing the real reason. She turned her head to face me, her eyes were directly pointing at mine, I felt a bit uneasy but she moved her head forward, closing the gap between our foreheads. I could hear her breath and see the tiny haze coming from her nose her time she did. "Supposing I would want to go live elsewhere, would you come with me?" she asked. That was the question I feared, I don't really like to have to take decisions and it's worse when I'm under pressure. Fortunately for me, well I thought it kind of was fortunate, I did not really have a choice on this matter. It wasn't really extortion but it still felt that there was a 'good' and a 'bad' choice. The unfortunate truth was that I was lazy and I didn't plan on moving. "I don't know, I'm not sure... Why would you want to leave this place even if you love it? Do you think it would be better elsewhere? Where do you want to go?" I responded. She looked disappointed by that answer; I guessed that she would have expected me to discern her motives right now. Well I can't say that she already told me that it was the time for her to be somewhere else but that didn't mean anything, it wasn't even a reason for leaving.
Was she a ticking bomb that would explode if she stayed in the same town for more than five years or something? I was at loss and somehow wanted some good reasons even if that would mean something big for me. "You probably don't know how it is to be truly hated, how it feels when everyone tries to avoid you, when you can't walk in the streets without getting rocks being thrown at you." she said in a sadness that reached new levels. I wasn't aware that she had such a reputation with the townsfolk, I rarely went outside of the countryside where I lived, sometimes visiting the town while running errands but nothing else really, my connections with other people was quite restraint. I somehow felt bad for her and wondered why she never left before, it was possible that her parents were refusing that she left home before having her own life, and that would explain why she took a few steps ahead in our friendship. "Oh, I um, I'm sorry about that I did not know such things, I guess that would be a good reason for leaving but are your parents okay with that?" I said, feeling a bit like an elder talking to a little girl, I guess she was old enough to take such decisions. In any cases, I was merely buying time to think of a good answer because she probably wouldn't accept something like 'Give me some time to think about it okay?' surprisingly, she felt even sadder now and without even having the courage to look at me she spoke while staring at the grass.
"My parents have died a long time ago, this reputation I have is some kind of legacy I inherited from them..." she said on a melancholic tone. I'm not sure that I wanted to wander in this kind of fields when I asked my question to buy time but it was too late to go back now. "My father was an alchemist and as you may know, alchemists are renowned to be able to transmute things to gold. My father did something like that and that's how we were given the right to live here, he did those transmutations over a few years but then people started to be very jealous of him and suspicious too." "For some reason, they inspected the gold he made and found out that it was fake so they were really angry at him, living off them and lying to them so they killed my father. Oh and they burned my mother for witchcraft just before killing him, right in front of our eyes. That was terrible..." she said, wiping a tear off her eye. I was proud of her that she was able to tell this without crying, it wasn't probably the first time she had to though. "I haven't done anything to the people of this town but still everyone hates me since they cannot hate the dead, they have to hate someone, oh and I guess I don't have to tell you how they reacted when they learned about my prophet powers? Yeah... I'd rather live elsewhere." she explained.
At this point I can say for sure that I exactly knew why she wanted to leave and the reason was pretty good. Still I had some questions unanswered, why have she stayed that long, was there something that was stopping her from leaving? A thought crossed my mind and I really hoped that I was wrong, if I was the reason why she stayed all those years, living that misery every day, I would feel really bad. I could ask confirmation but somehow I didn't want to know, I already knew what I had to do even if it hurts. Sometimes in life you have to do concessions in order to protect what you love and cherish even if it meant abandoning other things, or everything. I couldn't hold her here anymore, she had to leave, I knew that already but... I couldn't just... leave this place before seeing my friendly fish again. Of course by that I meant that I had a lot to sacrifice if I wanted to go with her because I'm not certain if she would leave without me, might as well ask. "I totally understand your point now and why you want to go live elsewhere but would you go anyways even if I didn't come with you?" I asked. She looked at me with vitreous eyes, almost begging for me to say that I was kidding, I wasn't.
"Well... I don't know..." she started, out of words. "I thought you would want to come with me so I didn't really pondered about if I wanted to leave even alone..." she stared again at me, as if waiting for me to comfort her or to at least say something about it. I was still silent though. She had a painful crooked smile on her face, she expected that much of me and yet I was waiting to know if she was willing to go alone without me. She opened her mouth to speak again but hesitated a few times before actually saying something. "Well I guess... You're the only reason why I'm still here, if you don't want to leave then I guess it would have been exactly how you said it, leaving this place would have advantages but still had consequences, not like I planned where I saw advantages everywhere, I was a fool to hope for such an happy ending I guess..." she said, managing to keep eye contact with me all along. I think that it was exactly the answer I was looking for. "Well please then... take good care of me during our travels" I said, watching hope lighting up her face quickly.
"I don't want you to run away from your past though, it's a bit like your shadow, no matter where you go it will still be next to you, I'd rather have you seeing it like a new beginning but never forget about the memories you made here, even if they are painful, they mean everything you are right now, a strong willed girl." I said, closing the discussion. The look on her face changed a couple of times when I was talking but I guessed that in the end, she was pretty about it she came close to me and rested her head on my chest, her long hair stuck to my semi-wet clothes and she wrapped her arms around me. I think I had to do like her and I would be walking in her footsteps until the very end at this rate anyways.
21 – Walking on the Edge of Insanity We have been walking for several hours now and I already felt that my life has changed to the point where I couldn't come back anymore. I thought clever the idea to tell my parents before taking the long road, I thought they would be proud of me or at least be happy that I finally found my way in life. I found myself being surprised when noticing how displeased they were with my decision. I could understand their point though, to be quoting my father "It's fine to have a girl to hang around with but you can't go abandoning everything for her after so little time!" I'm not going to reminisce the whole argument but he was right, it was pretty reckless to leave everything to follow her, unfortunately I couldn't just 'hang around' with her for a couple of months and then send her off with an handful of fireworks, in that case I would almost say that my fate has been written by a graceful but cheesy artist, I bear no grudge though. Our discussion didn't end really well and I felt I wouldn't be welcomed back with warm tears and cheers if I decided to come back after a week or two.
She wouldn't talk much during our travel, she was hiding behind the thick oak door in front of my house while I was defending her against my parents, I think she felt a lot of guilt towards it and probably felt bad that I had to do big sacrifices, which I haven't. I guess only time would fix this, well it was probably the best option. I wondered if she foresaw this turn of events, don't ask me why but I'm somehow starting to believe in her prophet stuff. Even if it lacks logic it still makes sense and I like it this way. One reason why I was doubting it at first was the frequency at which she used her powers, I have witnessed it about three or four times at most since I first met her, I think that a real prophet would use it more often. My theory was that she would be thinking the same was as I did, thinking that knowing what the future held was ruining the excitement of life. That could be a reason why she retained herself from looking forward into tomorrow. That alone wasn't enough to convince me, even with good beliefs one would still fall to temptation pretty quickly so I didn't think it was her reason. When she told me the story about her parents getting killed for sorcery or whatever invention they wanted to blame them, I was shocked and didn't weight the situation and consequences it had on her.
Obviously what leads me is when she said that people already hated her because of her parents and it became worse when they learned that she was a prophet, I could easily imagine her cursing her own powers, refusing to use them. I'm pretty sure it would bring back sad memories to her, she can see into the future but is forced to peer back at the past each time she does, even I could understand why she didn't want to do such things. I bet she didn't feel like being stoned to death or some other atrocity, that was a pretty strong theory I thought but now the opposite situation stands in front of me, why did she use her powers a few times already? It would be fairly easy to see why she did when lives had to be saved but what about that time when she said it was going to rain? On the top of that she didn't even avoid the rain since she came to tell me, we ended up being caught by it. I was confused and my last chance was to do something I don't always like to do since it means I couldn't guess it myself. I had to ask her. "Hey um... About your powers..." I said, hesitantly since I didn't really know how to ask it without breaking the thousand years treaty of silence. "I cannot control it myself, I knew you'd ask." she answered with a light smile, but soon brought back her sad face, maybe at the thought of the curse she was born with. Why did I never have this in consideration?
I always assumed she could control her powers at will but obviously I wasn't even close, it might as well have been premonitory dreams that she had but being terribly accurate. I wanted to comfort her but once again I didn't know what to do or say and I wasn't planning on asking her how to do such a thing, it would be almost laughable. "Why are you so down?" I asked, "Aren't you excited about what we're going to live?" I wasn't hoping anything from this but I couldn't bear the weightiness of this silence. "Yes... No... I-It's nothing." she said, looking away. I wasn't impressed by this fake attempt to avoid the question, it felt exactly like she asked me 'oh please ask me again why I'm so sad', that's pretty much what I planned on doing anyways. "I don't think we can keep up like this, you've always been open to talk, what is of the matter that you shy away?" I asked, in the most gentleman way my poor vocabulary allowed me to. She chuckled at my mediocrity and proceeded to tell me stories about her being cursed for hurting people, she said a lot of times that she was sorry, she wouldn't stop. I tried to explain to her that it wasn't hurting me at all and I made my own choices so if I ever had regret, it would be my own fault, I'm not the kind of person to blame it on the others.
She looked a bit relieved but it didn't seem like I've hit the right chord just now. I didn't want to think about it too much but it hit me, she knew she was going to die and she was giving more reasons every day to be even more saddened when she would leave this world. If everything went as expected, she would also give birth to our daughter, a girl that will never have a mother, she knew that fact and yet she insisted on having children and yet she was in a pretty good place to know how it feels to have a parent missing. Would I be able to make up for it? bet she also felt bad for putting that extra weight on my shoulders but I think I can lift more than I look like, in my head everything goes well, but my mind is a twisted illogical mayhem how could I even trust this? I looked at her and I noticed that she was already looking at me, seeing that I understood her problem. I wish I could have made a 'Do not worry, I got this' face but I lack to ability to, I just pretended like she read my mind. I did not know where we were going, I didn't ask. I knew we were going to live somewhere else but how did she choose our destination? Did she pick the closest town? Did she choose little village where everyone knows each other but still newcomers are very well welcomed? Did she want a large town where we could lose our very existences and presence in the growing crowd?
I don't know which one I would have picked myself. I would probably have gone for a random one, probably the closest one since I take lazy decisions. Now that I think of it, she never said that we were moving to another town, she just wanted to go elsewhere, I doubt we would be living in a cave or something but living on the countryside wasn't something that I would dislike. The tranquility of the mornings, the wind blowing through the tall grass and the dragonflies flying around in circles, bathing in the afternoon's sunshine. Anyhow, I would take anything, I always preferred the people living there more than the place itself and I find it pretty ironic that I consider myself someone that likes people but I rarely get to speak to them. I prefer analyzing and observing, I'm not sure if that makes me a stalker but I don't really care, I'm not doing anything mean, I'm merely gathering data for my own thoughts. I try to become a better person every day but I don't let anybody enjoy that, I guess that could make me a selfish person. And so we walked on, for many hours again. I did not bother to ask her where we were going since it wasn't really important, it wouldn't make us arrive faster and I wouldn't try to make her change her mind about our destination.
I was curious of course but I guess that just asking her wouldn't be better than just seeing the future; I'd rather keep the surprise for now. She looked at me and with a smile she asked "What will you do once we get there?" I was a bit confused by that question, what did she meant? Did I have to do something in particular or was she just trying to start a conversation that was leading nowhere? In any cases it was better than not talking at all, talking was a great way to forget that we have been walking for hours. "What do you mean, what will I do?" I asked, to be certain that I understood her question. She replied instantly with the same innocent smile "Well aren't you going to find a home or a shelter? The nights are still cold at this time of the year!". I was a bit shocked that she didn't plan such obvious things yet, what was she thinking? And why was she talking like it was my sole problem, weren't we supposed to live together or something? I tried the passive-aggressive stance "Hey wait, why are you acting like I'm the only one who needs a house, don't you need one too?" I said calmly. She giggled a bit at my ignorance and proceeded to explain to me how much I knew little of her.
"Well to put it in a few words, the people of the town burned my house shortly after my parents have died. I have lived in an orphanage in my younger days but I couldn't stand being there so I fled and never came back. I learned over the years to live all by myself in the outside world, my favourite spot has been the small but thick forest just in front of the hill, I could easily see when you would come." she said with an almost playful voice. I was terrified. I was not scared because she was some kind of uncivilized animal-girl that could sprout ears and a tail at any moment, I couldn't care less. But why haven't I ever been able to notice such things, why haven't I ever asked her where she lived, how did she get those clothes? She probably stole them from the town, that would explain why everyone hates her, the family curse wasn't really plausible but more importantly that would mean that after all those years, my socalled calculations to know when to meet her at the top of the hill were fake, she was there every night, of course I would end up meeting her. I feel ashamed now. "Okay listen, I made up my mind" I said with the utmost serious voice. "The first thing I am going to do when we get there is not letting you sleep outside whatever your reasons might be, you'll be safer in the same bed as me" I laughed to myself at the last sentence I said, she didn't seem to think it the same way as me though, that wasn't really a problem for now.
She looked really happy by that, I guess she didn't choose this lifestyle because she wanted it. I felt like I was doing something good for once. That was one of those moments you have to seal with a great quote, sometimes I wished I was a poet, I tried anyways. "I guess it's my turn to watch over you during the night" I said, and immediately felt guilty for making so many references that she wasn't able to understand, but I guess that everyone does that, it's the prime essence of living an healthy life, or so I thought... She might just be laughing at me right now.
22 – The House of Seven Generations We somehow started something new. With heaven's luck, we found an abandoned house near the town we were headed to. At first it was pretty creepy and unclean, it almost felt like a ghost lived there or something, assuming that it wasn't the ghost of a maid or anything like it but more like somebody lazy and not allergic to dust, but once we tidied up the place, I guess we have could have called it 'decent'. The house itself wasn't very spacious; there was one single bedroom with a simple bed and a stuck window, another room with a few empty bookshelves and a simple desk. The main room had a fireplace, which would probably become handy someday, during the harsh winters that this region is used to, the rest was empty and it felt pretty obvious that we weren't the first ones to use this place as a refuge. I thought that it would be a good idea to use the little arm-knowledge I had to renovate this house, the ceiling had many leaks and I found it impressive that it held for so long, the house seemed pretty old. I also found a job as a woodworker at the town to be able to afford food and other necessary stuff to be able to live conveniently. I didn't expect to have to do that much so we could live on our own
but I guess it's only because I didn't bother thinking about it. At first I believed firmly that I could probably do all of this without a problem but when I got home from a full day of work, I simply didn't have the motivation to do here the same thing I did all day at work, I guess I'm the kind of person that appreciates variety and doing the same thing over and over bothers me a bit. Why am I even complaining, it only has been a few weeks yet. I found convenient that she stayed home while I worked for many reasons, she said she would do the cooking but she didn't know how to. I can't really blame her though; it's not something you can easily learn when living in the forest, no... seriously, where has she been? I offered the bit of knowledge I had about food and cooking but finally we ended up learning the basics together, I think she's more devoted to it that I am, I hope she'll become a great cook! For now I can rejoice myself to her delicious omelets and pretty much everything egg-based, everything else had a really doubtful quality but I can tell she really puts her heart at it. Another reason is I noticed that her belly started to grow recently, I'm not an expert but I think it would be smart to not have her do physically challenging activities right now, not to mention the condition of her heart. Sometimes I thought of asking if she was doing any better but how could she know, I bet there wasn't a doctor that was visiting her in the forest.
It kind of leads me to wonder how she knew that she had that kind of disease, I wouldn't really dare to ask her but still it was intriguing, she might have seen it with her foreseeing powers, I don't know... something smelt fishy, it was probably the trout we fished from the lake this morning that she was cooking, her first attempt with fish. Everything seemed to go so fast, I didn't have something like a transition to adapt to my new lifestyle, it's not like I didn't like it, I can safely say that I'm pretty comfortable with it right now but I don't know, it's like I've skipped a few years, a few weeks ago I was still a kid and now I'm living in my own house and have a job, I probably wouldn't even believed myself if I was a prophet too. I turned around and noticed that she just closed the door to come next to me, in the grass field behind our house. She looked a bit disappointed as she came closer but tried to make up a smile on arrival. "Well, I'm done cooking the fish but it doesn't look or smell as good as it is supposed to, we might want to eat something else." she said, with a bit of shame in her voice. I thought to myself that mistakes were the best way to learn something so I guessed it was some kind of investment, but for now we didn't have a meal.
I offered her to go to town for tonight's meal, she was a bit reluctant at first but for some reason she changed her mind and seemed pretty happy with the idea of visiting that town, she has been staying in this house since we arrived here so I could understand her eagerness to see the surroundings. It almost felt like she was now proud of having burnt the fish. The town wasn't that close to where we lived, we actually had to walk about half an hour to get there. It was almost summer now, the flowers bloomed in a gracious way, drawing colors on the landscape like in some painter's work that I forgot the name, he was great too. Her red hair was perfectly reflecting the sunbeams directed at it, creating a beautiful effect and making her look like one of those girls from the nobility. She wore a simple summer dress with flower patterns printed on it, I guess that’s what one could call the elegance of simplicity, she looked great, humming some joyful song as we were walking. On top of that, she had one of those smiles I'm living for drawn across her face, for a short moment while we were talking about random stuff and walking towards the town, I think I have experienced true happiness for once. I think that's the kind of moment life is worth living no matter what situation you're in. Out of passion, I told her that I loved her and that she was really precious to me, she blushed deeply at the randomness of this comment, but it wasn't random at all, I didn't think a person could make someone that happy just by being there.
We entered the local inn that was also serving food, I used to go there a few times with my coworkers and the owner recognized me as soon as I entered, I was delighted. He assigned us an isolated table since there seemed to be a big party in the center of the inn, he looked at her and asked me if she was the girl I was always talking about. Her face instantly turned to red; she was pretty embarrassed that I spoke about her to other people I guess, that was pretty cute of her. Unfortunately I didn't do such a thing, I might have said something about her once but that was it, the owner was only trying to soften the atmosphere, I think she noticed that she was pretty nervous when she entered the building, he was a great talker. I acknowledged his sayings and he laughed in a deep and masculine manner, he hit me softly with her fist on my shoulder and then proceeded to say something like "Well she's much cuter than how you described her, lucky bastard!" and he went back to his counter as I chuckled lightly at his way of interacting with people, that was most amusing. She was still blushing and was hiding her face behind her hands. She spoke without directly looking at me. "D-did you really talk that much about me?" she asked. I don't like to lie but it would probably have been boring if I just said that the owner made up this story and that I didn't about her, so I just kept the suspense.
"I'm sorry, does it bother you? This big guy is pretty much the talkative one so you know, he is also the kind of person you want to talk to too." I said, obviously avoiding the question but even if she remaining pretty bashful, she seemed quite happy by what I told her. "No, it doesn't bother me at all, actually it makes me happy, I'm not used at being praised that's all." she said. I could understand that, she lived a long time alone so nobody knew her, the one people who actually knew her was the ones who were despising her so they obviously wouldn't say something nice about her. I guess I went a bit too far to come back and tell her that I didn't really spoke about her so I decided to keep it a secret, I guess it could be seen as a lie but I didn't bother about it. The owner was actually a big guy, you knew as soon as you met him that he knew what good food was, he also had a big brown beard and it looked really good on him. He told me once that he tried to make braids in his beard but his wife got upset because he looked like a viking. Like him, I didn't really understand the point of her wife but I came to the conclusion that she was jealous because she didn't have a beard too and having braids in her hair wasn't even half as awesome as having braids in a beard.
With our meal, the owner offered us some wine to celebrate the first time that I brought my girl along at his inn. I found that this was pretty laughable but yet she seemed awkwardly embarrassed by this. She might be thinking that I planned this all along with the innkeeper, I decided this morning to go fishing because I knew that she didn't know how to cook fish and that she would probably fail, that would lead us into a corner and thus giving us no choice but to come here to eat. That would have been terrible play on my part but I laughed at my plan thinking that it might have worked. Anyways it wasn't like that at all, it's only the owner that was a pretty sympathetic guy and liked people that were coming to his inn. We had a great time. On our way back, I clearly noticed that she had a weak resistance to alcohol, she wasn't exactly walking straight so I held her shoulder while gently pressing her against me. She hung on my shirt and chucked a bit. "What's funny now?" I asked her, amused by her demeanour. "Tonight was pretty fun, I'm glad to be able to speak with other people, I hope we'll go back often!" she said. By the end of the evening, the owner asked us if he could sit at our table, we accepted without even hesitating and we had a nice chat with him. I think he was trying to flirt with her I found it pretty amusing since I knew he wasn't really serious but she was still embarrassed by it to was barely too cute to bear.
I was glad that she had a good time, I felt like we made the right choice to move here, it seemed like a really nice town to live. Night has fallen by the time we came back to our house, we spent a bit of time outdoors to watch the stars. "Did you know that every time a star dies another one is born from its death?" she asked me. I didn't know such a thing and honestly, I wasn't even aware that stars were dying at some point, were they even living? I felt that this wasn't exactly what I was thinking; some obscure metaphor was hidden behind it. "It's an old folktale from the northern countries, mainly meant to give a reason to people to accept death. I think it has a pretty deep meaning; it's like making a great sacrifice for a greater reward. The gift of life is something really special that everyone gets but a select few know how to use it." she explained. At a first glance I thought that she knew that I found myself starting over a new life and liking it. The sacrifice was probably making part ways with my old ways and having a fight with my parents just before leaving, of course that were scars that would remain but as a star dies, another one is born. And that was quite right; I guess we could say I was reborn. Of course I could just have been mistaken about the meaning of those words but I made her know that I understood, she seemed happy and gave me a heart-warming smile before going inside the house.
I stayed outside for a while on my own, staring blankly at the sky. Even if I tried to not think about it and live the present moment to the fullest, I couldn't just forget that she would leave my side by winter and I knew that this would be this deepest scar of my soul, sacrifices for greater good... why did that made less sense now? Did it really worked when the sacrifice was after? I was a fool to think it that way.
23 – The Lullaby to Eternal Sleep Today was a pretty monotone day; it rained all afternoon outside so we would stay inside. It wasn't my idea to avoid water, this is some kind of unwritten law that went down from generations before us. It would be a perfect day to read or something but my luck ran out when I remembered that the bookshelves in the desk room (that's how we called it) contained nothing but dust and I'm not able to read dust. I told her my problem and she suggested that I write my own book. This was the best and the worst idea she ever had at the same time, I wouldn't have the determination or motivation to write a whole book, I would probably write the first lines maybe even a chapter but for the few times I tried, I told myself that I was unable to write action. I mean, I'm okay with describing the characters and the environment but once I get to the core of the story, when something actually happens, I do not know what to write next and out of imagination I stop. I guess I could write a book devoid of action but that would be pretty boring right? A whopping two hundred pages of descriptions and then the end that would be an amazing story! It would probably be enough to keep me busy for this afternoon though. Anyways I was at a loss; I didn't have any paper to write on! I asked her why she didn’t write a book, she definitely had a talent for story-telling, her stories always felt so real even if they weren't coming that close to reality.
She said she preferred to just tell them, she thought it was a better way to give all the feelings and it's nicer to have the story told by someone instead of reading what the person has written, it has more authenticity. We didn't speak for a few seconds and then she brusquely turned around and asked me if she ever told me the story of the girl with no legs. I almost laughed but gathering all my seriousness I told her that she didn't, almost begging her to tell me what this story was about. "A girl was living alone with her father on the countryside. At a first glance it looks like a peaceful life but it was way more peaceful than you think. As I just said, the girl had no legs, we she physically had legs but they were paralyzed so she couldn't use them. This malfunction came from an accident that happened a few years earlier, she got stomped by a raging horse and she probably received a huge nervous shock, that would be how she lost control of her legs. She would spend every day in her bed, either reading or writing fantasy short-stories, she was always unhappy of what she wrote so she didn't keep many manuscripts that she made. She thought that her stories were like dreams, too often she would wake up before the end and realize it wasn't real." she said. "Hey, isn't that a bit depressing? Is it because it’s raining outdoors?" I replied with a bit of sarcasm in my voice, she smiled and kept on telling me her story.
"Her father was really busy with his work but he gave her all the time he had left, since she couldn't move on her own, he would feed her and do other things that she couldn't do directly from her bed every day. He was taking care of her but he was also a bit empty-headed, he would sometimes forget to come back home before night so it happened often that she ate only one meal per day or none at all but she became accustomed to the lifestyle. Since she couldn't do any kind of physical activity, she grew weaker every day, promising her to be bed-ridden for the rest of her life. She was accepting that fate though." "One day, she started to write down the dreams she made while she was sleeping, sometimes they were really great and sometimes very sad, and she thought that she might be able to do a decent story with those dreams. When she was younger, she wouldn't even remember that she was dreaming during the night but now that she wrote what she remembered, she felt like her dreams were longer every night, like if her brain was registering that she wanted to see those dreams and that she enjoyed them. After some time, the night was her favourite moment of the day and she was eager to go to sleep so she could dream again. Dreams were really great, she could do anything that she was forbid to in her life, she had functional legs so she could run around everywhere in the world. When she woke up, she wrote everything she remembered." she said, taking a short pause.
I took the opportunity to tell her to wait a bit. I went to the kitchen and made some Earl Grey for both of us, after a few minutes I came back with two cups of tea. Sipping quietly her drink, she continued. "She started a story with fragments of dreams she had, the story itself wasn't really interesting at first since it was mostly her exploring things around the world since she could move, and well she was pretty much excited by this. The interesting part is that at some point she becomes friend with a boy, she think that he is pretty handsome and really kind so she like being with him. He brings her to places he knows so she can visit more of the region and they're having fun together." she said. I somehow started to fear that this was beginning to be a teenager girl typical story but I still listened to it, I couldn't really be disappointed anyway. "She wanted to tell her father about her story but he didn't seem to be really interested so she would just be eager to go to sleep so she could see the continuation of her story. She started to sleep a lot more than she usually did, and much more than what a normal human does. She could somewhat order her brain to not wake up now so she could see more of the story. Of course she still woke up every day so she could eat when her father came back home but soon enough she began to sleep more than the time that she was awake."
"We can't really blame her though, her paralyzed legs wouldn't let her do a lot of things while she was awake, she would rather live in her dreams, even if that world wasn't real, and she didn't really care about it." "In the dream, she received a letter from her friend, saying that he wanted to meet her at the chapel this evening, she slept so long that even time was consistent in this world, she was really about that letter and she looked forward to meet him the same day. She thought about it all day long, walking around in circles because she could, thinking where he would bring her or what would he show her, she went to the store to buy a new dress. She chose a light blue one, perfect for summer with a straw hat that she stuck on her head, she was smiling widely as she was walking on the shore, bathing in the sunshine. That was really a perfect world, she could almost choose everything that would happen, she was the author of her own story and the only limit was her imagination." "When the sun went down she headed for the chapel to meet with his friend, they were getting along pretty well and she might have felt like turning this to a romance story, it was her favourite kind of book usually so she should try herself. When she met her, she instantly knew why he wanted to meet her tonight, he was already there, alone, but was already blushing at himself and trying to recite some kind of speech. She tried to not take him by surprise but she failed, he turned around and seemed pretty embarrassed."
"She was pretty pleased by this and giggled a bit, making him go even redder. She tried to calm him down and he finally spoke, he told her that the moments he spent with her were the best memories he made in his life and that he liked her a lot. With a lot of hesitation he finally told her that he loved her, the girl was really happy and hugged the boy with all the strength her little arms had." "When she woke up on the next day, once again she wrote everything down, with a large smile on her face, she somehow fell in love with a character in her dreams, that was a bit strange but she didn't mind at all, she was really happy for once." "A few weeks went by and her relationship with the boy improved every night. That was really great but she started to wonder if she could always live in her dreams. Every time she woke up, she was welcomed by the coldness of reality and just lived to be able to go to sleep again, that was really depressing for her. She also felt bad for her boyfriend, she knew that dreams were like book or stories, it would soon come to an end and they wouldn't be able to hang with each other anymore. She didn't want this to happen but she thought that if at least she could finish her book, their memories would be immortalized. On that night in her dream, she was with her boyfriend again but something felt odd, he wasn't talking as much as usual and when he did it felt like he wasn't at ease at all."
"She asked him a few times if something was wrong be he declined every time, she still was suspicious so she asked again, it was her dream after all, he would have to tell her even if he doesn't want to. He told her that they couldn't go like this anymore; he knew that her dream was going to end soon and that they would painfully go part ways. She wondered how he knew that he was the fruit of her imagination but she still said that the dream wasn't over, she still had her story to finish and she didn't want it to have a bad ending. The boy replied that if they stayed together it could only be a bad ending because even if you don't want to, stories have a beginning and an ending, you just can't make never-ending story and she couldn't just say 'They lived happily and had a lot of children etc.' since she was writing what she dreamed about, she would have to live her entire life in the dream to do so." "Almost crying she said that she was consent to live only in the dream if that was necessary to stay with him, she would write everything down once the dream is over. The boy was happy that the girl was so attached to him but he still said that she didn't understand his point: If she decided to stay and the dream, the end of the dream would mean her death. Usually a dream ends when your brain decides that it's time to wake up but if she was able to control her brain enough to not wake up, she would only be living in the dream, so she would die at the end of her dream."
"No matter how he would put it, it was only a bad ending, so she decided to act selfishly and took the decision that made her the happiest. She decided on her own to never wake up again so she could live with her boyfriend in her dream, for the rest of her life. I bet they had a really good life but as she never woke up, she died in her sleep, probably starving to death or something, so she could never write that last chapter of the story she begun." I blinked many times to make sure that her story was done and then I spoke. "I'm still not certain if this is the most heart-warming or the saddest story in the world, but I sure got moved by this one, good job, you have a great imagination!" I said that as if she invented that story just now, I was pretty sure of this fact, well of course it couldn't be a real story since it was impossible to just tell your brain to not wake up but I guess that in the context of this story, love was stronger than her brain's will. She could have heard it from someone else but I still gave her credit for the great story-telling. She looked at me in the eyes for a moment and tilted her head. She giggled a little and said something like "Aha, I like that part of you!" I wasn't certain if I should take this in a good or a bad way, but what part was she talking about anyway?
24 – In a Timeless World, Nobody Is Late The breeze of summer made me felt like I was literally skipping days, I think that was the consequences of living a happy life, you wouldn't see the time pass under your eyes, even if time was of utmost importance according to the situation. I wondered if the opposite was also true, I guess that living a depressing life would only make your days last longer, the minutes are becoming hours and the seconds are years, it's a bit extreme and like always it would best be to come back to a fair balance of felt time versus the actual time that passes. I mean, I don't think that anyone can be on par with the exact time since it's a pretty much abstract concept, time is not something that can be seen or touched, it's the way to evaluate on how fast the day passes and putting aside the contraptions that calculate that time for us, we all have our own definition and feeling of time. I wouldn't really be seeing two persons tell each other 'Yeah! We so have the same second!'... How fast is a second for you? There is no way you can tell me since your only way to measure time is the thing I'm asking you to measure.
The smart ones could probably say two words and said that between them, a second have been elapsed and that would most likely be right, but how would you know that his second was the same as mine, what if my whole time interpretation was slowed down by half, that would mean that if you lived a day in my life you would be living 48 hours every day. That sounds scary and pretty improbable but I took an extreme example on purpose, it doesn't eliminate the fact that this is a possibility and there is no way to know or prove if I'm wrong or not. This leads me in the same point of view that mostly every abstract concept like time has this same problem. Colors for one are something I sometimes have difficulties to imagine. I'm certain that you know what the blue color is, right now you probably think of some blue item or you at least have an idea of the blue color in your mind if you don't have something blue near you to make you remember how it looks. Of course you don't need such a reminder, the blue color is a given for you, it is part of the light spectrum and you've seen it enough now to be able to say in all honesty and humbleness that you pretty much know everything about the blue color. Oh I know that there are variants of the color, like every other color, there is dark blue, light blue etc. But how would you describe the blue color?
What would you do, or say, if you've made yourself a friend that is blind, that person never had the chance to actually see in his life, you can even pretend that he was born without eyes. You can't just shove it off saying "It's like the sky" since he never saw the sky, there are some concepts he might be able to imagine even if he never saw anything. You could explain what is a table, it has legs like him and wooden board is on the top and it's used to put things on it, he can understand that since it's a physical object but a color is only a reference to something that you can only see, you can't make the difference between blue and green balls just by touching them. Oh and we also make the difference between colors because we were taught what colors looked like, I wonder what would happen if parents both agreed to tell their child that red things are actually blue. Every time they would see something red, they would tell their newly-born child that it's what we call the 'blue' color and vice versa. The child would grow up, noticing the different variants of red in the sky and when he would scrap his knee on some rock, a lot of blue fluid would come out of his wound. People would start thinking that this person has colorblind symptoms and even if that person actually passed tests he would still be considered as 'colorblind'.
This kind of thing is irreversible, if your parents came and tell you 'Oh yeah by the way we lied when you were young, red is actually blue', you wouldn't be able to put a different name on the colors, you would be too accustomed to seeing red as blue, colorblind people can say that they see green as purple for an example, but it's only because they were told so, they don't make the difference themselves and you wouldn't be able to. I suspect that some of the colorblind people living in this world have this illness because their parents felt like making a joke to the rest of the universe, clever one, humanity. Anyway, what is the point of explaining what colors are to someone who would never be able to see them; it doesn't serve any purpose to explain a concept to someone who doesn't have the tools to understand it. What about the pertinence of explaining time to someone who only knows how to waste it? I can't really be a model to teach somebody else about this, time is passing faster than I can put my hand on, it can probably be called as a waste since I'm not enjoying every moment I could but that's another story from another world. I know how to make up subtle excuses it seems, anyways... With everything going so fast and when I noticed that I spent too much of my time with wood, I decided that I should at least take a break of renovating this house even is the price to pay was to suddenly get hit on the head by a unsteady ceiling wood piece, fortunately it didn't happen yet.
She became really good at cooking in no time and that made me really happy since I like to eat good food, that makes sense right? The bad side was that we had less opportunities to visit the town's inn more often but none of us dared to bring the subject so we just went along we what we had. She started to write a bit, like I suggested, but she didn't allow me to read any of her stories before they were finished and since she was more clever than I, she always stopped writing her stories before finishing them thus leaving me without any chances of reading what she wrote. That was a mischievous plan and my curiosity was a bit too much piqued to leave it at that so I went in the desk room during the night and shuffled through the stories she abandoned. They pretty much all followed the same dark theme where the main character dies in a terrible way or something like this. I must say that I was a bit afraid by what I read since she would write her stories with her as the main character and the way she was describing her own death was almost like... if she already saw the way that she died... and more than just one time. That was pretty creepy and sad too, she could be dreaming about this right now and I had no idea of it, the interesting thing about all of this though was that like I said, she didn't finish her stories so I couldn't read them, but most of them had the narrator dying at some point, what was supposed to be after that?
Sometimes the setting of the story would allow her to take a distant voice and still be saying what was happening but sometimes she just couldn't. Was that because even with her clairvoyance powers she still couldn't see what would happen after she dies? Is it because this fate hasn't been written yet or is it because there isn't really something after death but since she firmly thought that there was something she couldn't finish her stories? This whole thing left me perplex and honestly I didn't know what to think of it, I couldn't really ask her about it this time since I wasn't supposed to have read those, I wouldn't want her to be mad and even if I did, she might not even be able to answer my questions. It may be the reason why she forbid me to read anything she wrote before she finished it because she couldn't even explain to her why she couldn't write the ending, I wouldn't imagine how it would be if she tried to explain it to me, that would only be embarrassing and confusing for both of us. I’ve put away the writings back to where they were and made my way back to my bed, I didn't want her to notice that I read the stories but I conscienceless intentionally misplaced one or two, maybe because deep inside me I wanted to talk about it but didn't want to engage the discussion and maybe if she found out that I read them she would start a discussion, or not, well that wasn't the best plan I had but I was proud of it.
I slipped quietly under the light blanket that we shared and the warmness of the summer forced us to stay a fair distance from each other or else we would probably die of a heatstroke or something. On my side of the narrow bed, I still had my head full of questions and strange conclusions that, as always, didn't make any sense at all but that's how I was and I learned pretty quickly to live with myself. I once thought that if someone would live with my mind, they would probably want their head to explode or something, I'm not sure anyone could bear it, but then I realized that aside of me, nobody knew that I had such twisted ideas because I don't really disclose or talk about them with anybody. Everybody might as well be the same... And I couldn't just try my theory by asking people on the streets "Hey do you think you have some strange thoughts sometimes?" that was way too creepy and I wouldn't probably get the information I need. I think that the only way to know exactly what I want is to live a day in their head, to see how they think and how they react to what happens around them. I guess I could describe to them what I was thinking and other stuff but that would take a long time and that wouldn't suffice me honestly. Before somebody else proves that I'm wrong, I will say that everybody has strange thoughts, all the time, of course we aren't thinking about the same kind of strange things, that goes without saying but since there isn't any 'normal' person.
I don't think there is any 'normal' mind, a mind that would only think about stuff that is normal to think, like 'Is it going to rain tomorrow?'. I just thought that this was a normal thought, but why is this normal, why would people ask themselves if it would be rainy tomorrow, can they control weather? Are they thinking forward so they can plan other an indoor activity if it rains but then why don't they just always plan an indoor activity as soon as they think of doing something outside? That would come together and people wouldn't have to worry about tomorrow's weather! Because in all honesty, it's useless to ask yourself if it's going to rain tomorrow since you have no way to know it for a fact. I came to a conclusion that there are no 'normal' thoughts, thinking was either something abnormal or something everyone did in a total opposite manner, I would probably flip a coin tomorrow to know which one is the truth... I just hope it's not going to rain... Is it going to rain tomorrow?
25 – The Girl in the Photograph When I came back after work today, I found her at the same place that I left her this morning, under a light blanket on the right side of my bed. I found this amusing at first and wondered if she just slept all day like a lazy girl, I can't really blame her though, I have been the same at some point in my life and nobody can honestly say that sleeping isn't great. It was pretty late though now so I decided to wake her up but it's only when I came next to her that I noticed that she wasn't sleeping. Her forehead was all sweaty and her face was red, I was wondering if she just did something physically demanding and she was extenuated as a result. The fact that she was still in her night dress confirmed that I was wrong but still she was breathing heavily. I got a bit closer to her and asked her if she was all right, even if I knew that she probably wasn't. She said that she felt weak and couldn't find the strength to leave her bed, she also mentioned that she was freezing while crawling back under the blanket. It's the first time that I saw her catching a cold, I did not know any good cure to this except a lot of rest so I told her to do so, but I guess that it wasn't necessary since she wasn't planning on going anywhere.
I went outside a bit to burn my eyes with the flaming colors of the leaves, grasping the few last moments of autumn before the leaves fall on their own. It was a bit depressing in here when they all have fallen, in other regions snow would cover them and before it could thaw, those leaves would have decomposed themselves, following the cycle of nature but not in here, where snow refused to fall year after year, leaves were lying around the naked trees like fallen bodies that nobody would take care of. They would also decompose before spring but that wasn't a pretty thing, I'm not wondering anymore why there is a month called 'The Month of the Dead', that's slightly creepy. At least it was a great show for a moment, there was plenty of fiery colors that were accompanying the late sunset. Even if everything was really beautiful, it still was boring. I found myself being irritated by having nothing to do so I thought I'd tidy up that desk room that we haven't really touched since we started living here. The room itself wasn't defying the theme of this house, it was pretty small and narrow but there still was an incredible amount of dust everywhere, like if even the people who lived here before didn't enter the room either. I started dusting off the empty bookshelves and thought that it would be nice if they would be filled with books we wrote, or at least that she wrote, well I guess I would be satisfied if they were just filled with random books, since it would be pretty hard to actually fill a whole shelf with your own books, I think that it takes time to write a book, not even mentioning the time required to improve the
quality of the story. While cleaning up the top of the bookshelf, I noticed that a tiny piece of paper was stuck between it and the wall, I tried to gently pull it out but it was really stuck there. I thought I would just move the furniture a bit so it would fall on itself but the bookshelf wouldn't budge at all. It didn't look that heavy, why wasn't I able to move it? I took a closer look at it and noticed that the bookshelf was glued to the wall. I thought that it was a pretty peculiar way to make furniture stay on the wall, I couldn't really say that it was a bad method since it pretty much worked so far but I must say that I started to be curious, what would be the motive for someone to glue his bookshelf to the wall, there must be a reason! Was this place on high risks of earthquakes, if so that would explain why there aren't any books in it and the accumulated dust on it would only suggest that there never were any books on those shelves. Since there was another one on the opposite wall I went to see if it suffered the same fate as his neighbour book-holder. I wasn't really surprised when I noticed that it also almost made one with the wall, the thing that surprised me was the fact that it was the only thing that went through the glue treatment, the desk was just lying there like if nothing ever happened to its boring life and the chair wasn't glued to the floor either, why would someone fall back to that barbaric technique? I'm not saying that the inventor of the glue is a barbarian, that would make no sense anyways but still I found all this comedy pretty much suspicious.
Then it hit me, the piece of paper stuck between the wall and the bookshelf, it was under the glue, it made me believe that the person who did this wanted to hide something, now I was really curious but I couldn't just start a mayhem in the house right now since she was sleeping next door, I had to use delicacy. But how am I supposed to delicately do that? It was a case of brute strength! The only option I had was to dislodge it with a knife or something so I ran to the kitchen and took the scariest knife I could find, thinking to myself that it would be pretty funny if anyone saw me just rushing in the kitchen to take it and then going back to the room, but such a thing couldn't happen. I slid the knife behind the bookshelf and to my greater appreciation I noticed the glue was only applied to the sides so it went off relatively easily. I took care to do it meticulously to keep anything that would be behind it intact, I hastily moved it away and what I found behind it stunned me. There were a few dozens of old yellow sheets of paper pinned to the wall, along with a few pictures that looked really old. I was mesmerized by what I just found and I immediately wondered if the same thing was hidden behind the other one. I did the same process to the other bookcase but since I was so eager to reveal what was hidden behind it, I did it in a careless way and I might have lightly ripped a piece of paper with my knife... unintentionally.
That was pretty much the same thing mirrored on the other wall but there wasn't any pictures, only texts on old sheets of paper. I wanted to take a few to read them but I thought that they might fall to pieces if I tried to move them so I just read them directly on the wall. Most of them were beginnings of stories, I think, that was strange, all the stories were pretty different but they felt like they were all linked together. There was also a few pages of what seemed like a diary or something like that, there was a date but the year wasn't specified, that's sad since it was probably my only chance to evaluate how old were those papers. Judging by the few diary entries that I found, it seemed like the author was writing as a living, strangely enough there wasn't any traces of a completed story on the wall, maybe that she only kept the unused beginnings as inspiration. I said 'she' because at this point it was pretty obvious to me that this person was a girl, the handwriting was gracious and the pictures on the other wall were displaying a girl. I know that it's a bit strange to display pictures of yourself, you would probably keep pictures of your friends or something but judging by the age of the pictures it was probably during the time where you had to pay a big price to obtain a picture and most of the time you would get a picture of yourself if you were going to pay for it, that's my guess. I went back to the other wall to look over those pictures.
The girl standing in front of me was really beautiful, she had long silky hair, flowing down on her shoulders like a streaming river, the picture was in black and white but I could guess that the color of her hair was either light brown or red, maybe blond. I thought that red haired girls are better so I went with that even if it didn't really matter that much, she was holding a hat in her hands and she had one of those smiles that makes me forget that the picture is in black and white and is probably older than myself. I kept on browsing the sheets on the wall, there were some really interesting beginnings, I wondered why she never continued them, maybe she lacked imagination or wasn't just satisfied by how she started but probably not since she kept it on the wall. I noticed that there was more behind the sheets so I proceeded to carefully move them to discover a newspaper article that has been most likely cut off the local newspaper. It appeared like it was even older than everything pinned on this wall; it was behind everything after all so it made sense. I started to read the article and it said that an unexpected unknown town girl won the literature contest with a story that moved everyone's hearts. That sounded a bit too familiar, I rushed through the text to finally confirm my interrogations, and the title of her story was 'The boy who wanted to become a knight'.
I cursed all the gods I knew over this, after all we've been through, I always thought that this story was only the fruit of her imagination and just today, while casually ungluing a bookshelf from the wall of my house, I found out not only that this story really happened but that the main character of the story actually lived in my house a century ago, or something like that. I'm pretty open minded to believe in coincidences and stuff like that but this was a bit too much, there were now too many signs that it couldn't be a coincidence anymore, there was something going on and nobody thought wise to warn me. I didn't know yet if she was behind all this or not but I couldn't just ask her now, not only she was sleeping and sick but I think I had to find more by myself before being told another story with hidden meanings. I re-read a few excerpts from the wall to see if there was some similarities with the stories she told me before but it didn't seem like it, they weren't even of the same style, I was on a blind lead, I had to find that book called 'The boy who wanted to become a knight' even if I knew that it wouldn't help me. How did she know this story? How could she narrate it as if she was the main character, expressing the feelings like if she was living it? That could probably be explained by a good imagination or story-telling skills but that didn't set aside the fact that the girl from the story lived in the house that we decided to live in. Now that I think of it, it was her that led us here and it was her that found the miraculously abandoned house.
She probably knew what she was doing but I had no idea, that's why I decided to investigate on the 'Red headed case', I had no proof that this girl also had red hair, but since such a coincidence never comes alone, she probably had the same hair color as her, without a doubt. Wait, since when was it a coincidence? I just totally lost my mind.
26 – Chronicles of a Distant Proximity Almost a month had passed and my investigation hadn't been really going forward, the principal cause for this was that I didn't know where to look; I turned literally every wood plank in the house without finding much. I finally got a lead when I decided to ask people I was working with, I told them if they knew about some writer that lived in the same house as me before, most people said that they didn't, but one of them said that I might want to ask the archivist of this town. The archivist's job was to keep track of this town's history, recording all the events and the names of everybody who lived in the town. Everything would be written down in big books and then kept from generations so we could always know what happened to who in the city since it has been built. That seemed like a really good idea but the problem was the fact that I didn't know when exactly she lived or died, I did not know her name and I wasn't even certain if she would have been in the town's records since her house is a bit away from it. All I knew about her was the fact that she lived in the house I live now and that she was a writer, that wasn't much. Well I had her background, according to the story I got told but I didn't know if it was true or fiction, I think I can fairly say that I am far away from fiction right now though. With nothing to lose, I decided to pay a visit to this town's archivist to see what he could tell me.
A moment after I knocked three times on his door, I saw him before me and I thought to myself that if I have wanted to make a picture of him in my mind before seeing him, that would be exactly how I would have seen him. He looked like a wizard you'd hear of in those dragon tales, his white beard was as long as his gray hair, he was wearing a sort of old robe and I actually wondered for a moment where he hid his staff. When he saw me examining him, he adjusted his glasses and asked me what business might have brought me here. I told him that I wanted to know about somebody who lived here long ago, interested by such an inquiry from someone of my age, he invited me to enter his humble residence. Humble was maybe pushed a bit, everything was pretty old but I guess that it followed the theme of someone who lives through ages, like an immortal. It was ancient but I felt that everything in here was very valuable so I carefully sat down on the armchair; waiting for him to come back with some tea, the season was starting to be quite cold after all. Once we were ready to talk, I started to tell him that I wanted to know about a girl who lived here a long time ago, I didn't know her name but I knew she was a writer and I guessed that she was at least a bit popular since she was living out of it. At first, the archivist seemed a bit concerned by this and he told me that with that much of information he couldn't do much, there are a lot of people that lives and dies in a town and unfortunately, nobody remembers them after a few years.
Even when a relative dies, you'll probably remember him for the rest of your life but what about your children and grand-children? I also doubt that anybody would remember her except if they have a book with her name written on it but then again I didn't know her name. On the bright side, he told me that according to what he remembers, female writers were pretty rare in this town, if she had been at least talked about, it might have been written somewhere. He started to browse quickly in a huge book and asked me if I had more details about her. I told him that she might have been born in another town that this one, she came for a literature contest and won it with a story called 'The boy who wanted to become a knight', he frowned a bit, probably wondering how I knew so much without even knowing her name. I asked if I could be of some help, actually I was just really curious to see what kind of information was stored in those enormous books of lore. He told me that he probably had the book that the information I was looking for was written in so I shouldn't bother, I went back to the armchair and waited for him to find her in that big book while noisily slurping my tea. After a few long minutes he finally stopped flipping pages like he was on a flipping rampage or a flipping ninja and said he might have found something, I immediately jumped out of my chair but he made a sign with his hand that meant something like I had to sit down, so I did.
He said that there was a girl called Sofia Swans who lived a few years in this town, she was a writer and she made some noise when she was younger since she won that literature contest when nobody knew about her, it was really a big moment, there weren't much more information about her though. I asked him if he knew something about her parents of where she lived before, even if she had a husband or a cat that would still be helpful. He said that it was mentioned once that she never disclosed where she came from to anyone, she might have had a shady past that she wanted to get rid of and citizens of this town were pretty indulgent about this. One century ago, many new people arrived from different cities and towns to live here, most of them were war veterans or people who wanted to escape their past, most of this town inhabitants understood the situations of men who have killed at someone else's will and that now would feel regret, life could get pretty hard on this point since other people would despise you for what you did. There were no records of marriage or newborns at her name so she probably lives a single life or something like that, I could imagine her, waking up every morning and sitting at her her desk, inbetween her going-to-be-glued-to-the-wall bookshelves, they were probably not as empty as I found them though. And then she would just write all day, while watching the beautiful spring blooming outside by her opened window that wasn't probably refusing to open back then.
I guess I was kind of satisfied by what I've learned today, I learned more in one afternoon than in one month so that was a satisfying ratio, I wouldn't know right know where to look for more information but I guess that would come with time. As I was about to thank him for everything he told me that her death was recorded a bit further and he asked me if I wanted to know the details. That was right, I didn't even know that she died, well I could have figured it but was kind of an information, at first I thought that I'd want to know it since every bit of information might help me but at the same time, I was currently living in her house and knowing how she died would probably make me feel uneasy when I'd cross the front door. The point that made me take a decision was the fact that I quickly remembered that she was the only girl from the stories she told me that didn't die in the story; it was the missing information to make the link between the stories so I asked him to tell me. With a dark but professional voice he read me that about one century ago, she was found dead in her remote house after committing suicide. He was about to give me more details but I told him to stop, I had a pretty imaginative mind and would probably start to hallucinate hung bodies everywhere at night if she told me something like that, the suicide was already enough to give me twisted ideas. I thanked him for the tea and the knowledge and left his house, heading back to mine.
While I was walking, I thought back on what I've learned. A suicide was pretty different from the two other deaths, well I guess I could have considered the one who died in her sleep as a suicide since it kind of was her decision but I thought that this was a bit taking it too far, I went for an early conclusion that their death weren't linked for now, there must have been some other link that I wasn't think about. They were all girls, they all died and that was pretty much about it. Well if I threw the girl I knew in the mix, since she was the one who told me the stories, I couldn't say that they all have died, well... I took a big breath in and entered the house. I found her at the same place that I left her this morning, she has been bed-ridden for a long time now and I was starting to get worried. I went in her room to see how she was doing and she seemed fine, but she wasn't doing anything. She was watching outside through the window grasping the few warm colors left before the approaching winter, I sat down next to her and patted her head, she closed her eyes for a moment and then looked at me with a forced smile. She wasn't unhappy but she was pretty weak, she has been sleeping most of her days since one month now and when she was awake she was either fine for a few hours or just really sick, she would also throw up the food she ate sometimes, making it harder to get well fed.
I told her that I wanted to bring her to a doctor but she said she didn't want to leave the house and that her illness was quite normal, it's the pregnancy that caused those symptoms. I had a few doubts myself about that but since I didn't knew anything about it I trusted her words, it looked like she knew what she was doing and the bulge in her belly grew a lot while she was in the bed. I still decided to not talk about what I discovered to her yet, it might really have been a coincidence and if I told her that we were actually living in that house, well I'm not sure how to express it but I'm afraid on how she would react to it if she actually didn't know about it at all. As I left her to sleep I wandered around, wondering how I would keep on finding more information on the 'Red headed case'. I just remembered that Palsye from the first story had light blue hair, so I couldn't really call this the 'Red headed case', that also made me remember more about that first story that I unconsciously forgotten about. She said that it happened in her hometown that was a bit far from where we actually lived before, I started to wonder if she actually were born in another town or just hid the truth so I didn't know from the beginning that Palsye lived in the same town as ours.
Trying to remember everything she said was pretty hard but I could reminisce her saying that her father was an alchemist and did something about having the right to stay in the town, so it wasn't impossible that she came here when she was young but I still knew her for a long time, we kind of were childhood friends but that still was a hazy topic even for me. Still, a town without snow that wouldn't hesitate to kill a townsfolk if they thought she would bring misfortune, it sadly described the place where we lived before...
27 – Heartblood Symphony This morning I decided that I would try to talk to her about the stories she had told me and more importantly the girls that were the main characters of those stories. I thought I'd try a subtler approach and only asking for information so she doesn't start doubting anything about my investigation. Well, I wasn't really expecting anything but I had least had to try, I wanted to know if those stories had some kind of link together since they shared similarities and if it had a link with the beginning of stories she wrote about those girls who would always die in the story, but it would still go on, leaving it unfinished. It was almost like if once the character died, she found a way to keep making her talk even if she was dead, it felt like if her soul got detached from her dying body and left a few words before leaving this world. I think I could understand now why she would never finish her written stories, it's relatively easy for people to imagine scenes that take place during life since everyone lives but even for the author, it can get pretty complicated to find a way to imagine how things would look like after death when you don't have a physical body anymore. Even if the theory of wandering souls after death is right, you don't have any eyes to see or hands to touch, how do you actually confirm your own existence?
My opinion is that she couldn't find the imagination she needed to complete this part of the story since she doesn't have any memories of it, again even if the theory was right, it also said that you lost every memory you had about your past life so you can start a brand new one, that would possibly suggest that the memories are stored in the body that dies. She might have found it hard to describe the way how her main character would just wander around waiting for a new body to accept this soul. What would a soul do? It can't look after his past friends or family since it doesn't remember anything, it doesn't even know why it's there, I'm not implying that we living humans know why we're here but that's a whole different story that I don't want to induce in yet. I guess she could just skip that part until it finds a new body but what would be the point? I don't think she can't skip this part or else it would only be two different stories and that wouldn't make any sense, I'd rather start writing another story, but again that might be exactly what she did. I entered the room and found her sitting in the bed, watching silently through the window again, there was a light rain coming down from the clouds, creating tiny rivers streaming down the window, deforming the shapes that we could still barely discern through the dirty and scratched glass. It was a bit of a sad portrayal of her on this winter day, it looked like her life left her body but she still had twice the amount of life I had, literally.
I sat down next to her and she looked back at me, smiling like a sunshine in this bad weather, my heart felt warm for a moment and I wanted to take her in my arms to feel more of her warmth. That's what I did, but she didn't feel warm at all, rather, her body was quite cold and her hands were frozen too, I took the nearest blanket and placed it around her shoulders, she looked happy but she didn't say anything. She took out one arm and proposed to share the blanket with her so I went closer and entered the haven. She also drew herself closer and rested her head against my shoulder, that felt great. I didn't want to unsettle her right now but I still wanted to ask her about 'that', I tried a relaxed approach. "So, while I was tidying up the house a bit, I might or might not have found and read some of the stories you wrote but never finished... those you didn't want me to read" I started, waiting for her reaction before attempting any questions on the topic. She looked at me, intrigued. Shortly after she would giggle and weakly waving her hand. "Ha-ha I knew you would stand the pressure of your curiosity and actually sneak up and read them anyways. But why are you making such a long face, were you expecting me to be angry at you? I didn't want you to read them because I thought they were boring and that you shouldn't waste your time on reading them... that is all." she said to me. As I told myself earlier, I didn't expect anything from this so it was already something good.
I gave her my best smile while thinking on how I would bring up my next point, I just threw on the table that I read her stuff, I couldn't just end up the conversation now like I was only confessing my sins, it would only mean that I really thought that she would be angry at me and I'm not sure that she would like to have that kind of feeling. "Well, yeah I've read some of them and I noticed that most of them followed pretty much the same theme, the heroine would die a bit before the end of the story and then it would stagnate and that's about where you finished usually. They felt a bit similar to the stories that you've told me earlier, except that they would actually have an ending because the story actually ended when the character died. I sort of figured that you were the author of the stories that you've told me, but why were you trying this time to go further after the character died?" I asked in a really long sentence, hoping to not forget to mention anything without mentioning something that I wasn't supposed to. "You're right, I'm the person who invented those stories." she looked down a bit, like if she was defeated or something, she looked back at me. "For the written ones, I don't... really know the reason was I was trying to keep on writing the story even though the character died. I might have drawn too close to the character so I wouldn't want her to just disappear like this, even though I knew she'd die in the story. It might be because I also want my story to continue after I die, but I don't know how that works so I couldn't really write about it." she explained.
She looked quite sad now, like if I woke up a broken dream from her sub consciousness, I felt bad for her but I still needed a confirmation on her part, she revealed something that suddenly became crucial from my investigation. "Yes, I think I somehow totally understand that feeling, I'm sorry to bring it up now." I said, while watching at the now pouring rain outside. I hesitated a bit but then finally asked her. "So you said you invented every story that you told me? That's pretty impressive, I liked them all, I think you're a great story-teller! I believe that my favourite was the one with the sister that became a writer, I'm not certain why though." I said with every bit of delicacy I could find. I think that worked pretty well since she sketched a smile, I guessed she also liked to be praised a little bit. "Thank you, those words means a lot for me. Yes they all come from my imagination, I think I even invented one why I was telling it!" she laughed a bit, probably remembering good memories. She continued to talk a bit but I already had the answer I wanted, my vision was starting to get blurry as I made relations with fact I knew in my head. It wasn't really complicated, it all came down to the fact that she invented the story of a girl that already existed and the same girl wrote the same novel as the one in her story. Until we get further, it seems pretty possible that she just heard vaguely about the girl and her book someday and after a while she thought of a story that would fit her background. That was very plausible and if you'd ask me that would probably be my first guess.
The only thing that annoyed me a little bit, making me ambivalent about this conclusion is probably the fact that we were currently living in her residence and that even some of her texts were hidden behind glued bookshelves. I'm well aware that this might just be a big coincidence, that's why I'm not jumping to conclusions right now and investigating on the topic before reaching something reasonable. Of course she could have just lied to me and never have invented those stories, but I trusted her right now. I guess I would have to take a moment of cogitation to sort this out myself, I could also try to learn more about that Palsye and the girl that committed a dream-suicide. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that they also really existed before and they had a sort of relationship between them. But again, I could be completely wrong too. I decided to talk about another topic since I was with her but my head was so full of probabilities and theories that I couldn't think straight, I took a good look at her and then, combing her soft hair with my hand and pointing her belly with the other I spoke. "So, how is it going down there, is it coming any soon?" I asked with a light humoristic tone. I didn't really bother counting the days bit I knew that such a job took about nine months, and that made approximately nine months too. I didn't really realize up to now that I would become a father quite soon, I still wondered if I was ready for it. Was she herself ready for it?
I guess those are questions you can't really answer until you've actually lived the thing. I'm not certain that you can say that you are ready for something you've never experienced before but I guess it was possible to say that you are totally not ready for it. Since I was wondering if I was ready or not, that would probably mean that I was at least a bit ready for it, but how did she felt about it? She was the one who proposed it after all right? She should know what she's doing; well that's at least what I believed. "Yes I think it's going to be coming soon enough, are you excited about this? I must admit that I am, but I'm also a bit nervous too!" she said, with an obvious tone of excitation. It was probably one of her dreams coming true and I was kind of proud to be part of it. There was one thing that was actually bothering me too, I remembered about her heart's condition, about how small it still was and how problematic this was. Giving birth to a child was probably really physically demanding and I wondered if she could manage it. She said that her heart stopped growing when she was 'pretty young' but I've never really heard about 'pretty young' girls giving birth to a child so I couldn't compare. To add another weight on the top of that, she was really weakened during the last month so her heart might as well not be functioning as good as a 'pretty young' girl's heart would.
As if she read through my worries, she smiled at me, like if she was trying to reassure me saying that everything will be alright. That somehow really felt like a balm on my wounded mind right now, I felt like all the problems of the world just became so tiny that it was pretty relevant to ignore them right now. "I like it when you smile but I love it when I'm the reason" I told her, that made her happy and also made me happy by the same occasion, it was a bit like diving by zero and finding the answer. I really wished I spent more time like this with her, but now it might be too late for that.
28 – Three of a Kind It has been raining for quite a few days now, I was wondering if it was really winter, that rain must have been really cold then, not a lukewarm one from the early summer. I was bound to stay inside today and I cannot say that it bothered me since I could stay with her. She was pretty weak today and she couldn't even find the strength to sit in a straight position to eat, I told her that she should just rest then, she could eat later and she somewhat feel asleep. I didn't want to bother her so I left the room but I didn't really know what to do, I didn't want to venture outside since the rain was pretty violent and I thought I should stay here in case she needs my help, she was sound asleep but who knows? I went into the desk room and found myself reading the manuscripts that the girl left behind, they weren't really that interesting but it sure helped me to pass time. I would sometimes watch through the window, hoping that something unusual would happen so I'd have something special to tell her when she wakes up, I always dreamed of being the one that would tell her stories, I guess I was a bit jealous. To my light disappointment, nothing happened for a few hours, I felt like I could do something better than just spend my time like this, I began to wonder how the girl who lived her killed herself. I even started to regret a bit telling him to not tell
me, I should have known that my curiosity was greater than every fear I could have. I was a bit lost in my thoughts when some noise brought me back to the real world, I heard her moan in her room. At first I thought that was probably having one of those nightmares but I got worried when she started to make more noise. I went to see what was happening. I found her sweating and curled up on the bed, she looked like she was experiencing quite a strong pain. I asked her what was wrong, and for a moment she sighed in relief, relaxing her whole body. She slowly turned her head and said to me that she had contractions, but she was fine now. I was about to ask her what she meant by contractions when I finally realized that the source of her pain was the child she had in her belly, it should have been obvious to me by now. I didn't really know what to do about this so i went by her side and sat on a chair next to her bed and took her clenched fist in my hands. Every part of her body was burning hot, she probably had a high fever too, this didn't look very good. I kept supporting her quietly for a few hours, I tried to talk with her about random topics so she could at least forget a bit about her pain but I'm not certain that it was effective. It led me to realize that I had no idea on how to proceed when a woman was giving birth to a child, was I supposed to do something? Well obviously I was, she couldn't do everything on her own, I had to help her a lot but the idea of going to the town to get someone who knows better than I to help.
I was about to tell her that I would be right back with someone but she let out a cry that made me feel like my presence was needed right now. I made a quick sum of the time required to run to the town, convince somebody to come to my house under this heavy rain and then coming back here with the person, that would mean way too much time. I couldn't just leave her alone here even if it was for a short moment. I still asked her opinion even if she was in no state of giving arguments or whatever, she didn't answer but the way she looked at me confirmed that I just couldn't leave this chair. I knew she had a lot of trust in me, maybe even more that I do with myself right now but I couldn't just let her down. I just stayed by her side, helpless... watching her experiencing the worst kind of pain a human could handle. She would something scream without a rest for long minutes but at some point, the pain was so intense that she passed out. I got worried sick when she stopped crying, I thought she died on me right at this moment. I shook her up but she wouldn't move quite yet, I took her wrist and noticed that her heart was still beating. I was relieved but only after a few minutes she woke to the sharp and unbearable pain; it was even painful to watch and to know that I was being useless right now.
And somehow for the first time since she told me she would die soon, I realized what it would mean for me when she would. I always tried to just not think about it but now that I saw her twisting her weak and frail body to the excruciating pain, I couldn't just remove it from my head. When I saw her passing out, I felt such a deep grief in my heart, I really thought she died and somehow one half of me just disappeared like it never existed, that wasn't even something remotely close from a sorrow I would have lived before. I closed my eyes and wanted to take her in my arms but I couldn't even do that right now, she was in a pretty delicate situation and I could only stare at her being ripped apart from the insides and somewhat share a little bit of pain with her. She passed out a few more times, I was really at my limit of seeing her that always had such a beautiful smile on her face, now being twisted by what she was living. A thought crossed my mind and I remembered my mother talking to me about my birth and how it happened, I wondered if my mother went through so much trouble for having and how did my father react to this, was he as inflicted by sorrow and pain as I was right now? The answer was probably and most likely yes, they did so much for me and yet I left them without notice, we also went part right after a fight, how could have I done this to my parents? Would they ever want to see my face again?
I also remembered vaguely what my mother said the doctor that helped her to give birth to me had to do. I took the opportunity while she was unconscious to run to the kitchen to get a big cauldron and filling it with hot water, I also took warm clothes and came back, hoping that I would have came back before she woke up, I couldn't even imagine how she would have felt if she woke up and I wouldn't be there, she would have probably panicked. I held her hand again and she woke up at the same moment and she stared at me in the eyes, she didn't scream, rather, she closed her eyes and tried to smile. It was a very weak smile, I knew that it took most of her strength to sketch such a smile, it looked a bit crooked too, yet it was the most beautiful and heart-warming smile I have ever seen. Not long after, the pain came back and it went on like this for hours, it felt like it would never end, like we would live the rest of our lives in this room, she would be singing her pain and I could only watch. It's a bit like those nightmares when you witness something terrible but you cannot move or close your eyes to ignore it, yet it was unbearable, I thought I would pass out myself too at some point. Fortunately, after some hours of labour, something finally came out of it. Since I was the only that could do it I went and tried to extract the child but I felt so clumsy and I also thought that I wasn't doing it the good way, that was really infuriating. I somehow managed to do it anyways, that wasn't really done in a classy way but I honestly think I did my best.
I wrapped the newborn in a clean blanked and held it in my arms, my heart raced and my vision was starting to be blurry, I think that my eyes have watered too much. Once again she was right, it was a girl, a beautiful little girl that had a bright future ahead of her. I smiled while wiping my eyes and I was so happy that it was finally over, she wasn't screaming anymore, all we could hear in the room was the little baby crying. I went back next to her to tell her that she was right about the daughter thing, but she looked extenuated. I could understand what she just went through and since it was a really demanding physical activity her heart probably had difficulties following her needs. I started to worry a bit so I shook her a bit to see if she passed out again. She opened her eyes slightly and smiled at me. I was more than happy to see that she was still alive but still tears were uncontrollably flowing out of my eyes, I showed her the fruit of the nightmare she just had, and the nine months of having it in her belly. I told her that she did great and that our child was finally alive, she replied with simple words but she wasn't smiling anymore, I think she was too tired to do it. I felt a bit bad about it but I thought I had to keep her awake a bit; I wasn't sure that going to sleep after feeling this amount of pain was the best thing to do. She opened her eyes again, and gathering all the strength and will she had left, she managed to tell me one last thing.
"Now it's your turn to tell me a story, take care of her, I love you." she said, almost whispering. This brought tears to my eyes, I wasn't sure what she meant by that but somehow it meant a lot for me. She also murmured something like "Thank you for everything" but then she closed her eyes, I tried to shake her up again but she wasn't moving anymore. I started panicking and yelling, hoping that she would wake up. In a last whim of hope, I took her right wrist and pressed lightly against it. There was no apparent sign of a pulse. As an ultimate attempt, I reached her chest with my free hand. My hand was shaking and I had thousand of different emotions that went through my mind. My hand made contact to her bare skin, it was still sweaty from all the pain she felt but yet her skin was terribly cold, I kept my hand here for about a minute or two... maybe ten... hoping to feel at least one heartbeat, that would have still gave me hope. But nothing. I was broken, I yelled in an ultimate cry of pain and depression, doing way more noise that the child I held in my arms now. My eyes went completely dark and I couldn't see or think anymore. I placed our child in a straw basket with some blankets before going berserk or something and some moments after my mind went blank and I passed out. I woke up the next morning in my bed, stained with blood and body fluids, cuddling with a frozen corpse, somehow hoping that this was all a dream, but dreams aren't this convenient.
The child was still crying so I guessed it was still alive at least. I took her in my arms and hugged her once again but it felt way different than usual, I cried again for some time that I couldn't really evaluate, but I think that it was pretty long enough. I didn't feel like doing anything else at all, ever.
29 – Divided Roads I guess that living in Hell is not better than living in Paradise, both meaning that you have died, the details aren't that important. It has been about two weeks since she promptly left and I haven't been able to sleep since. Of course I have fallen unconscious a few times so my body could somewhat recuperate but the events were too much for me. I think that if there were a limit on information and feelings that could go through my mind at once, my brain would have exploded at least three times already. Fortunately, my co-worker's wife has visited my house a few times since she learned about what happened. Two weeks ago I ran to the town under the unending rain to get some help, the first person I found was that friend, he immediately saw how destroyed I was and I quickly explained to him what happened. His wife and himself were pretty shocked by it and she even cried a little, but I didn't really need their compassion, she still proposed to help me out a bit with the child and everything. I refused at first but she came anyways and I let her enter, so I guess I was fine with it. She taught me quite a few things that I didn't know about feeding and raising a child. This woman already had four children and she proposed to take care of mine if I felt unable to do it, one more wouldn't really make a difference.
I felt a bit offended by this proposal but I realized that she only wanted to do something good, I still refused though; I felt that it was my duty to take care of my daughter and I would do it alone. She seemed pretty receptive about this but she still came over every week, I can't say I hated it though; it helped me quite a bit. I still didn't really move out from my house, I would spend days sitting alone in my bed, remembering the time I spent with her. I somehow felt really guilty about that 'Red haired case', it was pretty pointless on every aspect and it burned a lot of my time, time that I could have spent with her during her toughest days. She fell sick and the only thing I could have thought of doing was to lead some stupid detective investigation to feed my curiosity, I don't really want to live in regret but I didn't even find what I was looking for and then her time was up. I guess that I could keep on investigating later but I'll never really have the most accurate answer. Time slowly passed as the winter made everything rougher, I started to wonder if I would have enough supplies to last through the winter. I didn't really feel like going back to town to work and I don't know how I would take care of my daughter like this, it was a complicated situation and my head was already full of bad thoughts, I couldn't even think of a solution.
But then, there was some light after all. I went to the town with the little money I had to get some food. I entered the inn and it was pretty quiet even if it was the afternoon, the owner greeted me but almost fell down on his knees when he saw that I was carrying a baby. He had a ton of questions but as I replied to them in a dark and annoyed voice, he thought that something bad happened. I had no choice but to tell him to, skipping a few parts that I hated to even remember myself, he would get the point anyways. He looked pretty touched by my story and when I told him about my problem he said that he was willing to help me. My gaze went up to this big guy's trustworthy face when he told me that I should drop her here during the day if I have to work, he would take good care of her and would also feed her so I didn't have to worry. I must say that I grazed the idea of letting someone take care of her during the day but I did not know who. I couldn't ask my co-worker's wife since she was also working during the day and I didn't know many people in this town yet. I didn't think that this guy had such a great heart, it made me feel warm and I almost wanted to hug him but since I thought that my arms wouldn't probably reach his back, I abandoned the idea. With a grateful nod, I left the inn heart-warmed, forgetting why I even came here at the first place.
Maybe it was my subconscious that made me go there since I knew that he would help me, I might as well have been guided by something else, it was something beyond me right now so I just went to buy some food and ran back to my house before it started raining again. I think it was the first time since she was born that I actually smiled, she smiled back at me and she had the exact same smile as her mother. This gave me a strong bittersweet feeling but somehow I realized how lucky I was to have her right now. She sure brought a lot of problems with her birth, she was one of the causes of the death of my beloved one but I still felt blessed to be able to hold her in my arms today. No matter how painful it was, this was a little fragment of her and it was already really precious to me. She probably knew that things would happen like this, that's why she wanted to have a child with me, so I could still have something to protect even after her death. I remembered her again, being all mighty while climbing that mountain, she always wanted to achieve great things for her self-completion but I think they she also wanted me to do the same, it was a sort of preparation to the kinds of challenges I would have to face. She was probably already pretty weak herself when we climbed that mountain, I don't know how she managed to do it at my pace, it must have been really hard. Many short sequences of moments with her passed before my eyes but one caught my attention, the one when we finally reached the top and then we would sit down, tasting our victory and... her voice, so surreal...
"I think I could die here…" Some warm tears rolled down my cheeks. I heard her voice saying things again 'If the big things are the most important, why are we ignoring the stars?'. I didn't forget about the stars, I just ignored the big things and lived like tomorrow would come no matter what. Look at me now, I holding in my arms all what's left of her, I lost so much and yet became something else, I was a father now and that somehow didn't feel that right to my ears. It was a bit ironic, yes I think the good word was irony. I never forgot about the stars... "Did you know that every time a star dies, another one is born from its death?" Once again I felt a strange chill going all the way down my spine. I'm not certain why memories of her were flashing in my mind but I somehow started to wonder if everything she told me that I thought as casual chatter was actually meaning something far beyond my comprehension. Did she mean that she was that star? Does that mean that she already knew how she would die, that sounds terrible to me. The more I thought about it and lesser the doubts were, she obviously said that referring to the fact that she would die when giving birth to our daughter, but that probably also meant that I would have to love our daughter as much as I loved her.
I know that I haven't told her many times how much I did, but was that really necessary? I think we both knew at what extent our feelings were for each other; this was a comprehension beyond words. I started to believe more and more about her ability to see into the future and by the same occasion thought that it probably brought her more grief and pain that actual advantages but she probably couldn't help it. Somehow some of my own words also came to my mind. "I promise to take over anything that you would start, anything." When I made that promise, I thought that I could probably be able to overcome every challenge the life had to offer but I never thought it would come down to something like this, still I wanted to keep that promise until the end, and I had to. I looked at our daughter and wondered what she was thinking right now. Do babies even think about things, I'm aware that if they do it's probably something pretty basic but personally when I'm thinking, it's like I'm talking in my head but she can't even talk yet, does that mean she cannot think? What would happen if she never learned to speak, I didn't even want to think about it so I started talking to her about my thoughts. I didn't care that she couldn't understand what I said, I didn't really understand it either anyways, she looked amused though and that made me feel happy.
We talked quite a bit about reincarnation together while we still were on that hill but I somehow unwillingly started to believe that it might be true. I knew that this felt crazy but I would be quite pleased if her soul could make it through the 'afterlife' and come back in the living realm. It didn't really matter if she came back in a thousand years, she could have at least experienced it so she would be able to write the last chapter of her own story, the one she could never finish on her own. I know that she isn't going to literally write it since she's dead... but I can still see that she succeeded in her selfcompletion, achieving something that actually felt impossible, well it really was impossible. A thought crossed my mind; I wondered what would happen if her soul would reincarnate soon and that I met 'her'. Would I recognize her, even if it's a fish or a flower? Probably not, what are the chances of... I looked down at my daughter, still wiggling in my arms. I immediately crossed this theory off my mind. This wasn't even remotely close of something like an unreal fantasy. Yeah it was this far from reality and I don't even know I dared to use the word 'reality' in this case. I hit my head with my fist like it was broken or something and I hoped it fixed it, I was thinking a bit too far right now and that was being a bit unhealthy. I then finally remembered her last words again, echoing in my head since quite a bit now.
"Now it’s your turn to tell me a story" What did that exactly mean, did she lose her mind at the last moments of her life? I don't think so, she probably has seen this scene happening many times before she actually lived it, and she probably picked her words with precaution. But maybe that was a bit too cautious since I didn't really understand what she meant by that. In theory, I can't really tell her a story now since she died, she might want me to go tell her the story of our daughter once she'll be older. I'll make sure to visit her grave every year to tell her how our daughter has been doing, if she can hear me from her grave. That could be a possibility, her soul could still be wandering around and hearing me talk, but that could possibly mean that I didn't have to go to her grave to talk to her. Why the grave exactly? Did her body still have a link with her soul? Was she wandering only around the cemetery? I'm not sure how we can converse with the dead but I will find a way so it can finally be my turn to tell her a story.
30 – The Color of My Soul I've been investigating a bit on the side during the past few months about that 'Red haired case' and I must say I've learned quite a bit. I tried to speak more with the inhabitants of the town about what I was looking for, re-telling the same stories over and over again that she told me a bit more than one year ago. It didn't tire me though, I was kind of happy to spread her stories to people that seemed really interested by them, that made me feel really happy and I guess it would have made her too. Sometimes, people would recognize the stories, the story of Palsye was the most known I think, but that wasn't really surprising since she told me it was a tale from her former village. I wanted to know more about her since I had the firm conviction that every of those stories were true so I started asking people if they knew when snow suddenly stopped to fall. To my greater content, some of the elders of this town confirmed that they have seen large amounts of snow during the winter in this very town, it gave me hope that I could probably once again find answers if I asked my friend the archivist. This old man wasn't just writing a registry of the name of all the people who lived in this town, he was also a collector of tales from all around the world, that alone felt really impressive to me since I lived in two different towns in all my life.
He clearly had three times my age at least but that still made him someone far more knowledgeable than me, and I had a lot of respect for him. He welcomed me quite warmly as usual and after a quick gossip I asked him if he knew the story about when it stopped snowing. He nodded and said that this was a pretty local tale since it's only in our region that it stopped snowing all of a sudden. I made a quick allusion to Palsye, just to confirm that we were talking about the same thing, and he nodded to everything, as if we had the exact same version of the story. I started to believe that she didn't made up every story she told me, there was something that wasn't connecting with what she said and the actual facts. When she told me the story of Lady Winter, she said herself that it was a tale from her village but when I asked her if she made up every story she told me she said yes. I guess that she didn't bother thinking back to confirm that every single story was from her imagination, but that was changing my game just a little. If every story I thought that had a link with her were actually stories that everybody knew, that wouldn't lead me anywhere and that could possibly a case closure for the 'Red haired case'. I decided to give it one last chance; I asked more about Palsye's tale to the archivist. To my surprise, even if thought about it once, he told me that the tale was originated from the town I came from. That was quite a surprise on a few aspects, the first one being that I didn't even know this story myself before she told me.
Usually you get told myths and legends from your own town when you're young, though I must admit that it wasn't really a story for kids. The old man told me that there was a reason why I didn't know about it, it's because almost nobody in my old town knows about it so they couldn't tell me. I was a bit perplexed at this statement but he immediately saw through my anxious mind and explained me the reason. Soon after doing such a horrible act, people living in the town felt guilty from doing such a thing and thought that it probably wasn't a good idea to tell everyone about it so they kind of agreed to never speak of it again. Of course, humans being how they are, the story still got told to others, especially to outsiders to scare them, this town never really liked people after all. That would explain why more people here knew about the story than where I lived. Something still tickled me, the oldest in here said that they have witnessed snow in their young ages, that would mean that the tales isn't that old, I could probably said without a doubt that still a few people in my old town knew about this story, she, for one, knew it. He told to me that this story was quite shameful for the people of the town; they probably didn't want to talk too much about it, even less to their children. He was right, and that made me remember how much I already miss that town. I didn't know a lot of people back then, well not as much as I do now here, everybody's so nice to each other and I feel like everyone wants to help me on my quest but there are things that I just cannot replace.
I haven't seen my parents since the last time I closed violently the door behind me on that day, almost two years ago and I missed them, I wondered how they felt about me. I want to go back there, I want to show them how much I have changed in such a short time and I want them to see my child so they can finally know that they are grandparents. I also want to go back on that hill to watch the beautiful starry sky at least once again, there are too many memories left behind to just abandon them right away, I kind of also want to know more about that Palsye person but from the people of my town. Waking up from my daydream, I realized that I don't even have to courage to go back there yet, there is a wound in my heart still opened and I still have some business to do here anyway, I can't just abandon the house where I lived with the one I loved like this, the place where she died and where our daughter was born. That was a strange dilemma, like if I couldn't come back if I left this town. The road I had to walk was pretty long I must admit but that wasn't really a factor, it could have been if I planned to go there more often but I was only planning to go back once for now. The old man asked me if there was anything else I wanted to know, I almost told him when I thought I'd ask him about the girl who died in her sleep. I told him the story and for the first time since I first him, I saw some kind of surprised expression on his face. He was really curious how I heard about this, and I was really curious why he was so curious about this.
He told me that it was actually something that happened about thirty or forty years ago but in a distant city. Back then he was corresponding with another archivist from an overseas town and he once told him this story that happened in a family next to his. It wasn't exactly the same story though, it was an unexplained death to everyone but they found the stories she wrote about her dreams so they probably concluded that since she was paralyzed and bored to death, she might just have committed suicide. That was quite intriguing since there is no way she could have known this story, nor invented it and yet she knew the real reason why the girl died. After exchanging a few words of mutual respect, I left his house with my head full of new theories. Could it be that she had another power than the prophet one, she could have been able to see thing from other places in the world. That would have been awesome but it was also quite unlikely since those stories happened in the past, she wasn't even born when they happened and I refuse to believe that she had lived more than one hundred years even if everything that I now accepted as a fact was really out of this world, that wasn't something I could even ponder at, she had that child's heart after all. I'm still unsure about the limits of the mind or the spiritual realm but I know the physical limits of the humans. Then something made so much sense that I felt stupid not to have thought about it before, well it didn't really make any sense at all but that's my way of saying it. What if the spirit of those girls were all the same?
What if it has been reincarnated at every generation in a different girl, ending up living in her? I know that it would be breaking the first rule of reincarnation who says that memories are erased when you die but I think that it's not that right. I feel that memory gets erased but there are some moments you just can't forget about no matter how hard you try. I know that sounds crazy but every story she told me about were the peaks of those girls' lives. That theory somehow pleased me, it would explain why she knew all those stories when she thought she made them up and why she suddenly chose to come to that house where the girl lived before, she somewhat felt security between those old walls. I must say that now that I think back about it, it also happened to me quite a few times, you know when you live something and think to yourself that you did that before even if you haven't, that's what some people call 'déjà-vus'. I heard the theory once that it might be memories from another life you lived but back then I thought this was merely an interesting myth; I didn't really bother about it. I must say though that now, it is of the utmost interest to me, it might as well be the answer to so many questions I had before.
I was satisfied with this conclusion. Even if it seemed pretty unlikely and coming directly from a tale where you would also see dragons and honest people, I believed strongly in it, I thought that it was quite a beautiful story and a sad one too, that's probably the kind of story I wanted to tell people about. I don't care if they don't believe it, I know that most people are able to enjoy a story even if it isn't true. I for one, liked every story she told me even if I thought at the beginning that they were inventions so why shouldn't I believe in this one? I thought for a moment that it might have been why she said "Now it's your time to tell me a story", she might have seen that I started to suspect something and knowing me I would do everything to know more about it and discover the truth. Even if I didn't I would probably come up with a crazy theory, but sometimes in a crazy world the fool is the king.
31 – The Road That Always Takes You Back It's only six years later that I finally found the courage and the time to go back to my hometown. I asked my daughter if she wanted to go on a long walk with dad and she euphorically said yes before even knowing where we were going. She grew up very well and she was now a beautiful little girl, with red hair, I could recognize her mother in a lot of aspects and that made me quite nostalgic but I was also very blessed to have her with me. I told her that we were going to the town where her mother and I lived when we were younger, that felt strange to say since it somehow felt like it was only last month that we were still carelessly talking on the top of this hill. She sometimes would ask about her mother and I gladly told her, it was a bit painful at first when I had to remember about those forever gone moments with her but I managed to find something good in it, I am now reminiscing memories of her with a smile. She also has the same smile as her mother, it makes me feel warm whenever I see it happen, I feel that she is still with me even if we're so far from each other. I was glad that she had such motivation to walk a lot but she probably didn't even have the idea of how far this town was when we had to walk to get there, it was a least one or two days.
On a quiet summer morning we left our residence without regrets, I didn't know when we would come back but I made a promise with myself that we would. I turned my head around a few times, I felt like I was leaving her behind or something like that but my overjoyed daughter was always taking back my attention with her cute laughs and questions. She seemed pretty curious about life even at her young age, I guess she finally reached that age when she can think and wonder about thing, I guess she took it from me a little bit, always curious about everything! I don't think that it's a bad thing though, I have seen so many things with this curiosity that it might be a sin to just ignore it or say it's bad. I explained to her that we would go visit her grandparents, those people are my mother and my father, she seemed quite impressed by this and it made me smile. I told her that they were members of her family and she immediately asked me was really was a family. I told her that in a family there usually was a father and a mother, she could have brothers and sisters too, that would be children from the same parents and I think I could discern from her disappointed face that she realized she could probably never have a brother or a sister even if she really wanted to. She pretty much accepted by now that her mother wasn't here anymore but I don't think she knows everything she's missing and I don't really want to be the one that will have to tell her, I prefer that she realizes it on her own, I know she can.
She asked if we could go see the parents of her mother too but I said that I didn't know where they were so we couldn't, I don't really like to lie but once again I couldn't even be certain myself if they were dead or not and anyways I've never met them before, how awkward could this get? Oh hello miss, I am... the father of your grandchild! They wouldn't probably even believe me if they still lived, I thought to myself, laughing quietly at the scene I just made in my mind. I noticed that she was starting to fall asleep as she walked, it was almost night now, she must have been extenuated. I proposed to carry her on my back for a bit, she accepted and once she has rested her tiny head on my shoulder, she fell asleep almost instantly. I kept on walking for a few more hours but when it was too dark to continue I looked for a spot to spend the night. Even if it was really late, the warmness of the summer kept me awake a bit while I was looking upon my daughter, peacefully dreaming at my side, her head on my lap. I remembered quite a few moments that happened like this, like the very first time we slept together when climbing the mountain, just having her that close to me generated so much warmth that I had difficulties finding sleep, I wonder if she had the same problem.
I have trouble sleeping when it's too hot, but also when it's too cold, I guess I'm just picky about temperature but does that make me ungrateful about nature? I mean, is anything more pleasant than a wave of warmth when you're freezing and a cold wind blow through your hair when it's hot? Like if heaven listened to me or something, wind started to blow gently, I looked up at the sky and noticed a few stars that I would recognize almost every time. I don't know yet if they had a special meaning for me but don't you think that's it's kind of amazing to be able to be able to distinguish a few out of a lot more? It's a bit like making friends in a town full of people, you might not see them every day but if you look for them they'll be there for you, anywhere. When I woke up the next morning, I was quite a bit nervous to not see my daughter next to me, I jumped on my feet and it didn't take long before I saw her in the distance, chasing something that looked like a rabbit. Unfortunately for her, she had approximately no chance at all to catch up to him even if he seemed a bit slow for a rabbit in danger. I waved my hand at her and she quickly turned around to come with me. I told her that we might want to hurry up if we want to get to this town before the afternoon, she looked quite playful, I guessed that she really liked being outdoors and be free to run wherever she liked. She would always stay inside when we were at home, I didn't really know why but I thought that she was afraid to go outside alone. I guess I could understand that, the unknown is sometimes pretty scary.
We started walking on a good pace towards the town, humming joyful melodies and pointing at the birds as they flew by, this was probably the best days I had since quite a few years and I was really proud to be able to go through that, I wondered how my parents will react when they'll see me. Do they still live at the same place? What if they've moved, or... died? I somewhat started to be anxious since the first reason why I made all this walking was to be able to meet them again but I didn't think about what would I do if they weren't at the same place I left them six years ago. I think my daughter saw in my face how disturbed I was and she asked me what was wrong. I simply told her that I wasn't even sure where my own parents were and that made me feel anxious. She said "Don't worry; I'm sure that you will find your parents. I will always find you, no matter where you are!". I looked at her, smiling at me as she finished this heart-warming sentence, tears came to my eyes but I quickly wiped them away. She was right. I really had to see them and I wouldn't abandon that easily, there were things to be said and errors to be fixed. I patted her head as she awkwardly closed her eyes, I was already quite proud of her and I couldn't wait to let my parents meet her, they will probably love her too. We walked a few more hours before seeing the outlines of the town, I was nostalgia-struck.
Even if it had been six years, I felt like the town didn't even change, it was a bit like if the town itself got stuck in time when I left and would refuse to live another day without me. I walked on the exact same tall grass I have been before, crossing paths with the same trees and seeing the same animals. It's almost like I never left this town and what I feared the most was actually happening, I felt like I was living here. That was a bit problematic because I probably wouldn't want to go back to my house, but I had to and I knew that if I came here and felt like an outsider I wouldn't have any problem going back. I went directly to my parent's house, the house that I lived the first part of my life, home of so many memories, good and bad ones. I was quite stressed when I approached it since it looked like nobody was living in it, like if it was abandoned. This house was always so lively and yet it seemed dead, that was probably the only change I noticed since I arrived. I stopped in front of the massive wooden door and took a big breath, I raised my fist to knock at the door but hesitated. My daughter looked up at me, wondering what I was hesitating for, she held my free hand as I knocked three times on the door.
I waited for what felt like eternity but I finally heard some footsteps behind the door, my heart was beating so fast that it was audible, I felt a deep warmth going up my chest as the person on the other side rotated the doorknob. It was my mother who opened the door and when she looked at me, she started crying.
32 – A Succession of Tales At first I wondered if my mother was sad or happy to see me, because you can't really tell when somebody's crying just like that. She pretty much cleared any doubts I had when she jumped gracefully in my arms and almost hugged me to death, hearing her cry my father ran to the door to see what was happening and I think he almost shed a tear too when he saw me. I was glad they were still there and that they have been missing me too and I think I cried a little too with them. My daughter looked at us and pouted, she said something like 'So older people still cry too?', I turned around and told her that crying isn't a child thing, it's just that older people tend to keep their feelings for themselves. My parents finally noticed my daughter and with an interrogative look they asked me who she was, even if they probably had their little idea. I told them that she was my daughter and that by the same occasion they were grandparents for six years now, my mother was really happy seeing her but I think that my father didn't accept just yet the big age leap I just forced upon him, he still look pleased though. We were still standing outside so my mother invited us to enter, it was a bit weird of being invited to enter the house you once lived in but I didn't make any remarks.
My mother kept repeating how much they missed me and my father just nodded at everything she said, I felt a bit bad for leaving them like this and it looks like it was painful for them too but I guess that we were fine too. My father finally asked why I wasn't with my girlfriend and that's when I told them everything about our story, it took quite a lot of time but I guess I made a good choice of telling them now since I wouldn't have to tell it again to my daughter since she was listening too. My mother cried a few times when she heard that she died, she said that I could have came back to home since I was in a difficult position with the child and being alone. I told her that I thought once of coming back but I thought that I had to get through this alone and I overcame that challenge that life has set for me, I can now come back here stronger. I was also reticent to come back here and ask for help since I wasn't sure if you were mad at me or something. My mother immediately talked back and said "We will never be mad at you." I looked to the ground and replied "I know...". I'm certain that some parents can be mad at their children, but I don't think it's possible that they would ignore them if they're in trouble or need help. That's what parents are for after all, they're going to support you during your whole life, not only while you live under their roof. I looked at my daughter to see if she understood that. She probably didn't but it wasn't important for now, she would probably, like me, find it out when it matters the most.
My mother said that we were welcome to stay here but I said that we won't be staying long, I came here because I had some business to do around here and I wanted to meet them too at the same occasion, I had a job and a house in the other town after all. Both my parents said that they were really proud of me that I became so independent on my own, when I still lived with them they thought I would never be able to do something on my own and I would probably spend the rest of my life day-dreaming around. Well the last point wasn't really far from reality I must say We had eaten dinner with them and after some casual chat that took all afternoon, we left the familial house, saying that we still had some business to take care of. They bid us farewell and good travels as they begged for us to visit again. I promised to come back sometimes as I waved my hand at them. My daughter was still surprisingly energetic from the boring day she just had, well I guessed so since we mostly just talked and she listened to us, it wasn't probably really interesting for a child of her age, or so I thought. "I had lots of fun today!" she said with a cute smile. "I like your parents, they are nice persons" That statement really surprised me but I couldn't do anything else but smile back at her. We entered the town and the crowd was still pretty dense, she held my hand tight. I quickly noticed that compared to the other town, I didn't know anybody in this town, even if I lived here longer, that felt a bit weird.
I guess that's what we feel as a foreigner and I think I was ready to leave this town now, without regrets. We couldn't leave just now thought, we still had one thing to do here before leaving, I bought some bread at the store and we walked in direction of the hill. The sunset was beautiful as always and her red hair was glowing more than ever, it almost felt like it was ablaze. She frolicked to the top of the hill as I followed her in a quick pace, she sat down at the top and looked at me with wide eyes. I gave her a chunk of bread that she instantly started to nibble on. "What are we doing here?" she asked with an interrogative tone. "Shhh!" I replied, holding one finger in the air to signal we had to wait. "We'll have to wait until the stars show themselves to start talking." She simply nodded at my quick explanation while eating her bread. This scenery was worth dreaming for, I was there standing on the top of the hill I stood six years ago with the girl I loved with all my heart, it brings back so many memories my heart aches with pain and joy, I don't really know how to react right now but that doesn't really matter right?
I took my daughter in my arms and hugged her with all the might I could permit myself to use against her frail body, I cried a little on her shoulder and she looked at me but she didn't say anything, I think that she kind of felt what I was feeling right now or maybe she only waited for the stars to fill the sky before talking. I was there, standing on the top of the hill, with the girl I now loved with all my heart, my most precious treasure and my blessing from the heavens. I made a promise to myself that I would cherish her for the rest of my life. I looked deep in her silent eyes and wondered one more time if it was possible if she reincarnated as her daughter, was that even possible? I don't know and I don't think I ever will, unless she starts telling me stories about Palsye or something! The sun was down now and the sky started to be dark, the moment I've waited for so many years will now begin in a few minutes, I was really excited and emotional right now, so much that I couldn't contain myself; I whispered to her ear "It's my turn now to tell you a story". Suddenly, all the moments I passed with her flashed again before my eyes, I wish that she could see the two of us tonight, on the hill that hosted so many of our discussions about anything, could have we imagined that a few years from there I would still be there with our child? I think that if she told me that she foresaw this, I wouldn't have believed her, or would have I?
I still don't know but I always ended up believing her and I guess that it was the right decision after all. Well it wasn't impossible that she actually saw us, I will never be able to know for sure if she's watching upon us or not but I can still think that she does right? Then, the first stars started to show themselves, revealing their bright side to the veil of the night, illuminating the sky like lighthouse to the ones who are lost in their lives, I hope more people can find the answers they're looking for in those inspiring constellations, they mean so much that what they look like but unfortunately, most people forget about the stars, that's a shame. She raised her little arm to the sky, trying to reach out something that wasn't there, she looked at me, unsure if she could talk or not. I nodded at her, holding back the train of feelings and tears I had ready to burst out. She spoke. "I... I wonder how far they are." she asked. "T-the stars?" I asked with a voice that trembled so much I felt the earth itself was shaking. I hope this never ends.
Epilogue – The Day the World Revived When I woke up this morning, snow was falling all around me. A slight smile appeared on my face as I remembered the dreams I had during the past month. I went outside and slipped a hand out of my coat's pocket to gather a few snowflakes, they quickly melted to the heat of my hand that I closed immediately after. A name suddenly came to my mind, it was the name of a girl I met a few years ago, actually I don't even know for how much time we've known each other but we sure had a lot of fun together, I even considered her as my little sister and she would call me her brother. It's funny because I always lived alone with my mother so the idea of having a sibling was pretty special to me, I felt like I had to give all my heart and soul to protect her. Her name is Kai and depending where you stand on the planet, this name might sound funny to your ears, but it means a lot to me. A few months ago, I've lost contact with Kai because she had to leave the country and we couldn't see each other again. That would normally be fine with me, I knew she would come back eventually and we would tell each other how we spent our lives during our separation, we would laugh a lot and be happy to be together again. Unfortunately I learned a bit before she left that she had this heart illness, her heart stopped growing as a child and it was now tired of working this hard for a body too grown for his capacity.
Learning that pained me a lot and she also subtly implied that she might die if it stays that way. I had a lot of hope in her. When she came back, she wasn't the same person anymore. She looked very weak and seemed to have lost hope in life. I don't think I ever had the opportunity to tell her what I did that was so awesome when she was gone. I felt somewhat uneasy to see her act like this. I started to talk with one of her best friends and he also told me that she was being weird and that he felt bad for this. I totally lost contact with her during the summer this year, I would try to at least let her know that I care about her and that I'm worried but I wouldn't get any answer. I received an email once, from her, it was her that was telling me that she was sorry that we couldn't talk, she fell really sick and had to go back to her homeland, she said to not worry too much, she would come back eventually when she would be alright. I once again believed strongly in her and hoped that she would be fine, I replied to her a long email, telling her all about what I felt about this and how much I wanted her to get better. But once again, I received no reply. It's only when I finished school, everything in my life was doing good, that I received a final email from her. She said she came back, she read my email many times and she would cry every time, she said she was glad to have somebody like me in her life and I was very important to her. She said she was doing a bit better and to not worry
too much. I really wanted to not worry and I replied with a short email this time, saying that I was really happy that she came back and I hope she would be okay soon, I told her a bit how I progressed in my life but I didn't said too much. That was the last time I heard from her, four months ago. I've put back my hand into my coat to shield my hand from the cold winter, I went to take the bus that brings me to my job, staring at the morning sky. I don't know where you are right now Kai, I'm not even sure how to know the proper way to tell you what I want to say right now. I'm always thinking about you even if it had been a lot of time already; I will remember you no matter what. I want you to know that I wrote something for you, it's not a fancy email or an endless conversation like we had before. I wrote a novel, in about one month. I guess you could say it's somewhat based on what we lived together, to some extent since we never have been this serious together and never had a child either, ha-ha... but I felt like this story revolved around me and you. I would be blessed by the gods if you ever read it, honestly I hate to say such things but I don't even know if you're alive right now, I will try by all means to let this reach you and I hope that one day, our paths will cross again. Even if it's not in this life.
I kept my eyes at the sky, the light was barely crossing through the grey clouds. I wonder when I will fall asleep again, I can't wait to see how it will come out, and what story will I be able to tell about my dreams. I can't wait until my world revives.
Greetings, First of all, I would like to thank you personally, person who reads my story. I hope you appreciated reading it but don't worry if you didn't like it, I'm quite aware that everybody's got different tastes and that's all right, I'm still really glad that you went through it anyways. I would also like to say that this is my first novel ever (yay!) and I decided to write it in English even though my main language is French. I had a few reasons to do so but I apologize of all the mistakes I could have made. I don't feel that I have to describe myself as you have seen me on every page of this novel, I will instead talk more about this story. This was written for NaNoWriMo, if you aren't really familiar with this, it stands for National Novel Writing Month and it means pretty much what the name says, the goal is to write an entire novel in one month. The only restrictions are that it has to be a fictional story and it must have 50,000 words in it and today on the last moments of November I can say proudly that I have succeeded. Though the story is fictional, my inspiration is some life experience that I will never forget. If you know that girl called Kai that has this heart disease, please make her read the story, thanks! Oh also, tell her I love her.
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