That was the point where my thoughts began to collide, when the hot flames of passion clashed with the frozen reality. I did not want to experience what I had no power over; I wanted to be bathed with the tenderness of an illusion, even if it were temporary.
What has become of me? What madness of a miracle would bind the two of us together? It was just an illusion, a dream..
Who judges whether or not a person loves another more, or vice versa? Who defines love? It had always been asked but never answered.
The battle waged between heart and mind. I had gone through incomprehensible pain as I lived through what my heart has decided. I had enjoyed the ecstasy of emotions that followed. But at what price?
Why does sadness follow our hours of happiness? Why is it that when we are happy, we love the little moments of passed sadness and irony? Is it because we want to regret and dwell endlessly on thoughts that should have been forgotten?
Why would I find my sadness in my cause of happiness? A piano had brought happiness… why would fate orchestrate it so that it becomes a melancholy note? I thought without resolution. I did not want to admit to a destiny that could be moulded. I refused to let the blasphemy that is fate decide on my behalf.
But it was nonchalant to my desires. If I had decided to change my fate, then my fate was to change it. There was no escape from this paradox.
That wretched chair at the balcony, the sky. My eyes wandered across her apartment, scanning shadows through windows. I had to see her, even if I were to stay up till the dawn. I had always thought that I had made the wrong choices by giving up.
But is it not through these wrong choices, that a person becomes right? How many wrongs have I done! What makes a man other than his mistakes, and his admittance and commitment to make them right? What would a man accomplish in life if it were not for these mistakes?
The hours passed, and I slept with these thoughts a pillow for my head, the sky my blanket, the silence my guardian angel.
Dreams, again. She was playing the piano and did not look at me, and seemed indifferent to my presence. I was unable to move or speak. I felt as though I were a ghost observing her fingers dance across the piano keys. She never turned her head, but her physical proximity troubled me. My dream denied me any freedom and will. It would not allow my heart to love her and be close to her; to feel her face, to look her in the eyes, to breathe her breath.
I found myself in a room lit by the moon, my love on her bed, breathing softly as she slept. What could she have been dreaming, then? What could she have been thinking as she surrendered to sleep? Had she thought of me, had she thought of what I had felt? Were her heart and mind duelling as well?
She lay bathed in the dim moonlight, rendering her a magnificent creature in the night.
Why do we watch our loved one sleep? What makes sleep a weakness in a lover’s heart? Do we find peace in sleep? Is an escape from the pain we harvest in our waking hours? Or is it the tender tranquillity that is exhaled from a sleeping body?
She slowly faded away into the darkness, and I remained alone for what was left of the night.
Continuation from the first part.
I stared at the paper with pity. I pitied myself for being so fragile and weak. I wished I were like the others. Life would have had a different flavor and the wind would have carried a different scent.
But at that moment,my soul was in that letter. I grew weary, lifeless in beauty like a gargoyle amidst the lilac sea. But God would not create a weak and fragile beast for no purpose. I had a purpose; I had become to believe that I am a cloud that hovers above humankind, away from the troubles of life, always seeing the earth as a crafted piece of heaven. And when I felt that someone had been suffering below, I pour down my rain so that there would be new life, a new hope, a reason to move on.
But clouds deal with the thunder and the lightning.
I held the letter not knowing what to make of it. I tore a small piece of the paper; do not deprive me of your melody – I folded it as neatly as the little piece would allow, and tied it to a small pebble with a piece of cloth, and threw it to her balcony. The paper landed by the leg of the piano. I felt content, satisfied; she would muse me with her reaction the next day.
That night, fate had made its atrocious decision, a rite which it performs on every man’s soul. The rite of planting the seeds of compassion and affection, doomed seeds they are. Mine have been planted before, the weed felt no remorse.
The threads of destiny drew me to the balcony in an attempt with delicate vehemence to weave my soul into another. I sat at the balcony and looked down at the piano such painful melancholy. The letter still lay by the piano. She had not read it. Or had she ignored it? Could it be that she had not seen it? Such thoughts bound themselves to my mind. I could not escape them, they grew inside, multiplied, and I felt that death was more honourable at that hour. I regressed to my bed.
I witnessed a dream, my with the absence of a companion and no piano to awake me. Life was as it was. The street below spoke of its tales from the early morning and beckoned me to be part of its life. I strolled the streets, visited the shops, and wandered without aim but without fear. My sense of security returned, but an element was missing. My dream ended abruptly.
As I arose from the bed, notes of a piano sang in my ears. She had read the letter, understood its contents, and kept an un-pledged promise. I overflowed with energy, I ran towards the balcony, and looked upon her side.
There she sat, playing the piano. The letter was not where it was once; it sat upon the piano. Her notes forced a new blood through my heart, one that I have so longed for. I did not want to miss one note, and I cursed myself to have been asleep while she played.
The pigeons and the birds danced to her melody as they soared in the cotton morning sky. The road below had no more stories to tell. The people all seemed happy, their voices muted in the air. The frightening details of life have disappeared. I was blind to all the greyness of the city, I was falling in love.
Her notes ceased. The birds drifted away into a warm draft, leaving both of us, two balconies apart, separated by silent air. She did not make the slightest movement. She appeared frozen as if her mind was suddenly possessed by a strong thought. The chatter of the people below was inaudible to me. My ears heard nothing but my heart pounding through the silent sound of thoughts.
She reached for the letter, and opened it with slight reluctance. What could she have been thinking at that moment? I watched, mesmerized, inspecting every possible movement she made that manifested the slightest emotion.
She neatly folded the paper, and placed it on a table that was to the right of the piano. A small lamp, another piece of paper and a pen lay on the table as well. She returned to the piano, seated herself, stood up and she returned to her chambers.
I woke up at a beautiful piano note, undoubtedly played by a woman. The notes were gentle, and carried a semblance that only women could possibly possess. The sun had already been hung in the cloudless skies, but other than the piano notes, there were no signs of life. Even the air did not seem to breathe.
There was no one in the room; the door remained ajar as it were the night before. Whoever accompanied me had fled into the previous night. My mind was focused on the notes; little did I know that the notes would be played upon the ashes of my youth.
I sat on the unmoved chair at the balcony, and looked across towards the opposite building in search for the source of my wake up call. There was a large balcony on the second floor, and a woman, whose back faced me, played the piano. There was nothing enchanting about her, but her hair flamed at the tips with crimson red. I was mesmerized by her music; it held me captive to its magic. The sad tone brought back memories of past, of a lost love I had, someone whom I perceived to be the princess swan, someone whose prince was not I. I closed my eyes in remembrance of every moment I had with her. My heart had been an open book to her, but she had failed to write in it, except daunting, false promises and an anguishing friendship that I had to forever bear. She had been my Northern Star, my only light through the darkest seas.
The lady by the piano had stopped playing, relieving me from my memories. She stood up and went inside her abode. I remained motionless, cold to the sun and deaf to the street. I had an impulsive thought; I wanted to write her. I wanted to express to her how I felt to her music, how it made me remember and relive all my fears and my memories. I had not talked to the woman yet, nor was I able to judge or compare her beauty, but the notes she played were more than enough for me to capture the essence of her character. Thus, I wrote:
I write to you today even though my mind forbids me to. But my ashen heart has been rekindled by the warmth of your notes. I write to you with fear that I will, at one point, hate you for loving your notes. I do not wish to be in love with you, nor do I ever wish to even see your face. All I desire is for you to wake me from my reality, to be in dreams for as long as life flows through your fingers. I plead to you: Do not deprive me of your melody.
“I see that you have talked to her,” he commented, his concentration apparently fixed on his work.
“I am certain of that fact,” he coldly said as he placed his tools on the table. He appeared tired, and he found his way to his bed, and lay there. I addressed my own bed, and felt that a dire omen was soon to appear.
The rest of the day passed without incidence of abnormality. The Lieutenant and I spent the day together; we had lunch, and we talked about many insignificant issues, mostly for entertainment. When the hours had darkened, the Lieutenant surrendered to sleep early, and left me awake to address my own thoughts and emotions.
As I lay in my bed I thought of what the Lieutenant had been telling me regarding April, and trying to balance my own thoughts and emotions with them. I had understood what he meant when he told me not to love her, but at the same time, I wanted to know her better, even though my incentives were different. I did not want to please romance; I only wanted to know her better for her character. My heart however refused my sudden change of thoughts. My heart demanded romance, and my mind denied. A battle waged, and at that night, I allowed for my mind to surrender. I decided to give in to whatever my heart desired. I wrote a small letter which I tore after my heart earned its gratification. It read:
You cannot believe how being awake at this hour makes me feel! What silence, what concentration! To think that never in my life that I spent this hour awake! I am happy to write to you at this moment, because you are sleeping and I feel you belong to me more. You cannot imagine what I would pay to watch you asleep!
I recalled the dream I had when I watched her sleep. I felt an unbearable nostalgia, and I truly desired her that night. But all my feelings were gone when I tore that letter. My inner turmoil ended when I had allowed my heart to express itself in a harmless manner. My thoughts regained their domination as a consequence, and I felt at peace. My resolution was only temporary, and I could not discern how long it would stand.
Your affections were only a passing crush, I told myself repeatedly. They were wrong for many reasons. I slept that night convinced that they would disappear the following morning.
Written on 27th May, 2005