In one way or the others, we all are story tellers by our own rights. Is it not wonderful how we can talk about nothing and yet it seems to be everything or how we all choose to craft our stories, understating our shortcomings and exaggerating our deeds, each with their own intent. In every story there is always a moral to be seen, a lesson to be learnt and genius to appreciate. At times, the moral might be blurred, or the lesson unclear; but with due time and proper medium one can peer through the confusion and delve deeper.
I met such a story teller at the most random of all places. I had spent a night tossing and turning, unable to fall asleep. Whether it was due to the stress of work or the upcoming life events or the simplest of explanations being a heavy dinner? So as I lay in bed, I decided to go out for a walk. I am the lazy type who would have preferred to crawl onto the couch and watch TV just to pass the time, but that night my whole body and mind was screaming to go out for a stroll in the cold night.
At 2 am in the morning, in the calm serenity of darkness where you would least expect to come across a fellow being I met Mr. Haven. Till this very the day I die or get Alzheimer I shall not forget this special person. At first sight, I was quite hesitant and was already speculating on walking to the other side of the street just to avoid the walk by. But just as how I had stepped out of my house to go for the walk, my body and mind were compelling me to walk towards Mr. Haven. I looked into his eyes and I did not see a drunk loitering around, I did not see a soul lost from home, I did not see a thief taking solace in the curtains of the night. What I saw shocked and startled me, for what I saw was myself peering into a bottomless well. A bottomless well equivalent to endless possibilities!
I questioned myself and looked intently at Mr. Haven. It was like he was in my mind looking out through my eyes, feeling my heart thump within my chest. What was this sensation, what was this yearning that was seeping out from under my own skin? “Take a breath, my child”, he whispered. While he said this, I could feel a release of pressure from my head. “It is freaking 2 am; I thought to myself, what am I doing here?”
“Do not question yourself, come sit down take a moment with me”, said he.
So I listened and sat next to him. I sat next to him not because I wanted to be kind to the man or because I had this feeling he was a part of me. I went and sat next to him as I felt I owed myself an explanation as to why I was there, encountering this man in the depths of the night.
“Let me tell you a story, a story about myself”, said the man.
What the man went on to tell me not only left me with a cold shiver down my spine, but it eased my heart with the softness of his voice and the purity of his story.
“Life, as we want it to be, is a lie. Life, as we actually live it – is a treasure and beauty that we choose to ignore. I have been blessed to roam this world from all corners for all times. I have seen too much to be angry or happy about anything. My happiness is the inner peace I have gathered from learning on how to live and not to question”.
Who was this man, telling me his meaning about life? Did I really need to hear this? Did I even want to believe him? You read about these life affirming do good quotes and to me he was sounding clichéd by the second and was turning into the poster child for promoting Live Life!!
It seems he felt my cynicism, for he then took my hand asked me to close my eyes. In that moment, I swear, I lived through my whole life from the time I was born till that very moment sitting next to this man. 27 years of my life, I saw through a third eye within sheer seconds. How was this even possible? Did he drug me?
What did I see you wonder? I did not see the cliché of my family and friends beside me, I did not see the ups and downs I had in my being, I did not see the happy me when I graduated or got my first job. What I saw was hard to explain. I saw being born to a faceless woman, I saw myself zombie-like going around my world of faceless family & friends, nameless schools, university and work. My face was the only face visible. Neither a sad or smiling face – just a face with eyes, nose and a mouth. So in my faceless existence I had turned 27 and would go on living in a faceless eternity.
I jerked my hand away from Mr. Haven. I slapped him across the face. What came over me, I cannot say as I have never laid a hand on a single person. And with this act of hatred, betrayal, fear or whatever it was it led to the disappearance of Mr. Haven. He was gone and I was left there contemplating about what the hell had just happened. Was I hallucinating? I pinched my hand and felt nothing. I looked into my reflection in the dark shadowy river. As I started to look, I could see myself turning faceless. My head was turning into a mere outline with smudged features. Just like Mr. Haven I was gradually dissolving into the darkness that engulfed me.
If there was an instant in my life to be awakened from a nightmare it would have been that very moment and to my good fortune, my Husband shook me awake and tenderly took me into his arms hushing me and wiping away my tears.
While I lay in his arms, letting his body warm and gentle heartbeat press against me, I understood why Mr. Haven came to me in my dreams. I understood his meaning of life. I could comprehend what the faceless flashback meant.
I embrace all the clichés, quotes and sayings and acknowledge that you only live life when you can appreciate what you have and have been through.
I am blessed to have faces, names and bonds for all the faceless people that were in my dream. I am grateful for I am surrounded by people who hold me dear to them. I may whine constantly about being the zombie walking through life lost at times; but knowing that I have a treasure chest of people I can call mine, every dark moment in my life dissolves into the thin air. Vanishes in seconds, for we only have seconds to seize the moment and to truly live our lives!
Mr. Haven, you were a fearful ghost or an angel perhaps but the story you told me and the raw emotions you made me feel, will always remain intact with me.
So yes, we are all story tellers of our own design, who we choose to share it with will be ours for the taking.
I wrote this piece to acknowledge and appreciate the fact that I am lucky to be surrounded by love – family, friends, pets, good food, laughter, peace, home and many more. Love to Love you – speaks out in ways that I tell this story. I can love because I am loved.