Saturday, September 24, 2011

Streets of Stories

Some time along, between what we would call long ago or a while ago, in a place so far away that no maps could fit it in, nor anyone ever did see. There was the story of a girl that lived in an orphanage, not like the scary ones we hear in tales nor like the boring, sad ones we make up inside our heads. It was a rather happy place where the girl had spent most of her life and a place that she had grown to love but not to keep. It was all this girl knew; she had no past, a clearly uncertain future, and definitely a dying present. Although she was surrounded by love she felt empty, like an empty glass being held by warm hands.

As expected as it was, the years went by, all was gone, people, time and therefore childhood, the little girl was now a young lady, not any less innocent than what she used to be. All that she had ever known was gone, only a few scattered memories now survived in her desolated mind, and the harder she tried to think of her life as it was, the uneasier it was. It was as if all her life had managed to leak out of her head leaving her with nothing but vague memories of things that were so hard to identify, at least on her own.How disgraceful and hollow moments were , nothing seemed to make sense, what was of her before, where was she now, where was she supposed to go now, who was she. Desperately, she decided to find out about her life, just because out there someone had to know her, her story. Saddened by the trouble she had unwillingly gotten into, she tried to think, where or who could she go to find out that which she most wanted to know.

Warmly like the first sun ray of a chilly morning an idea popped in her head; the street! You see she didn’t have to remember anything to know this, because anyone there would know that there it was, a street, so rare and different to every other street you may have heard of, seen or imagine for there the most oddly of all people lived. It was said the people on that street had all lived for the longest time on that land, and people rumored that they could tell tales that went back to ages ago. They perhaps, thought the girl, would know who she was. Peaceful but with a throbbing excitement inside her, the girl made her way to great entrance of the famous street. Once there she took a quick review with her pure eyes over the entire place. You wouldn’t have look too closely to realize that the place was indeed and old looking place, tall buildings with expensive sturdy lamps hanging on the walls, moss had found a way to incorporate itself in the landscape but yet it looked dead, adding only an older look to the place. The road appeared to be stamped carefully with old grayish rocks and it lay out straight out but it was somehow difficult to see where it ended. If there was people somewhere in here they must had been hiding for only sweet melodies of birds and graceful swinging of leaves were the things that revealed that there was life there. Tightening one of her hands into a fist, the girl warmed enough courage to give her first steps as she dared to adventure into such an unknown mysterious place. About ten feet past the first house she heard something that woke her up to her bones, they were noises, familiar type of noises, human voices, indeed human voices, she lurked around the tall building to find several people sitting around a small table, the idea of finding anything strange on this place now faded away, this people looked instead as normal as any other person would. They seemed to be enjoying a good morning talk, the girl was starting to approach the nice looking meeting but realized she would be rude, after all she wasn't invited. So she stopped herself and hid back behind the wall. There she noticed that these people did look pretty old, but not as old as if they had lived for ages. She wasn't going to stand there forever so she politely coughed to call the group's attention, she excused herself and asked if she could join, the crowd surprised stared at the girl, slowly studied her and with a quick unanimous agreement gave the girl a tiny soft stool to sit. They smiled but did not speak, so, bravely the girl spoke out, sharing the reason of her visit. She expected a respectful apology from them saying they were sorry and that they didn't know anything about her but instead together like a well coordinated hand plays a chord on an instrument, they started to orchestrate a story. The girl could not hold on to all the excitement, after all, she thought, she was finally hearing the story of her life. She was mesmerized by their story, it was beautiful, so happy and loving and caring, full of excitement and adventure, she couldn't be anything else than joyful.

Suddenly the people's voices started to raise up and the story was hard and her heart pounded at the things she heard, all that happiness wasn’t any more, instead she heard about moments of pain and sadness and she could not take it anymore and slammed her hands to protect hear ears as she leaped to her feet and sprinted off the place. When she felt safely away from the voices she stopped and her ears were free, at the distance all she could here now was the sharp annoying and agonizing sound of the people’s laughter, as if they had an enormous pleasure in making the girl hurt that bad.

Standing as firm as she could, she recalled her recent experience, could such a tragic story be hers, could her life be so sad, how would she even know if they were true. Disappointed she gazed straight up the street, there had to be at least someone else here who she could go to, that was just one house, there had to be one at least one other place to go. Then she heard the steps, they were quiet but yet strong and she turned around to see the face of this short funny looking lady, she smiled and walked past the girl. The girl had no need to think she unwillingly spit out a good morning greeting the lady looked at her and smiled again, the girl thought she could trust the lady and she followed her. They walked into a small house that was totally unnoticeable, the house ended up just being a hallway that lead back outside and there it was a tree quite small but yet tall and wide enough to hold whatever sat on top of it.

It was a tree house that connected to the ground only by the tree and a slim ladder that soon the lady started to climb, inside the house bright yellow banners and blooming flowers decorated the place, they were attached to the wall in such an unnatural nice way. The overall feeling of being inside that place made the girl happy. One by one she noticed more people in the room. All seemed to be a lot peculiar but something about them made her feel she could trust them. They all greeted her with refreshing smiles; they all sat and invited her to sit with them.

Next thing that happened took her completely by surprise before she could even say a tiny word they began to speak. They began to tell a story.

It was the sweetest of all the stories one could possibly imagine, their words their voices just set into it perfectly. This was what the girl had wanted to hear, she was after all a girl and the tenderness and sweetness of this story inspired her and enlightened her soul. The group kept telling the story, each of them adding tiny bits to it, and every now and then at least one of them would look at the girl to give her a smile. They went on and on their story so long seemed to just never end, she could tell by their faces that they were willing to keep on with it, but something else she could notice, none of them were looking at her anymore, or smiling or even care that she was there. Slowly she tried to make sounds to get the story tellers attention but none ever did care, they continued as if she didn’t exist. Then their story was now so happy and illusionist that it couldn’t be anything else but a lie, all the apparent happy things they spoke were nothing else than mere lies. Bitterness filled her up to the very tip of her head and she grunted at the tellers not only because they had forgotten her story but also because they had fooled her, they made her believe they knew her story but they didn’t. She stood there resentful and hurt, and by now the tellers were looking up on her. Silence invaded the tiny house, until one of the tellers got up walked straight up to the girl and got so close that she had to step back, she backed up so far that she almost fell off the window, fortunately she held to the window frame just in time, but she wasn’t going to be up there for too long, the teller approached to her and then touched her forehead softly, but with enough strength to make her loose balance and throw her out the rectangular window. Heavily her body hit the orange grass beneath her, she tried to coordinate things a little and then got up to her feet. She felt annoyed and yet still sad at the fact that she was easily deceived by the tellers and how easily they had forgotten her. The place looked dark now and she had probably been around here for a few hours, she tried to figure out the time by placing the sun in the sky but it wasn’t anywhere, yet she was sure it was still daytime. Her mind began to be troubled, this after all had been such a strange happening and she wasn’t sure what to do. She could go back and live unknown and empty forever or she could continue her journey. Sadness prevailed, so she decided to go back, just perhaps she could some other way find out her story.

Decidedly she got back to the road but what she encountered was a completely different thing from what she expected. No matter how far and to which direction of the straight road she looked unto, there was no end, had she really been walking for this long, she wondered, so intensely long that now she was trapped?

There was no other choice now, she thought, than to just continue her way and possibly be lucky enough to get out of here.

It was the first time since she started walking down this street that she had been able to walk for this long, so long the expression in her face became tighter not exactly because she was tired but because the thought of walking this long and not being able to find anything was tormenting her. The only thing that assured her that it was still daytime was the warm wind but even that had changed drastically now, the air was cooler, the light had dimmed, but she was still able to see good enough. Scary thoughts of staying here forever, or not finding anything else here but abandoned houses began worrying her. It was all so quiet that even her breathing sounded so loud and heavy. Even the quietest thing would take anyone to shocking jump, and that’s exactly what happened when the squeak came out of somewhere. She desperately looked around to find the place where the sound came from. Then she saw someone, a tall thin man, knocking on a door, knocking so softly that all you could hear was his squeaking chest as he breathed, rather than the knocks. Someone opened the door for him and the girl didn’t hesitate and almost leaped on her way to the door, the man disappeared inside the house, once passed the door and she thought she wouldn’t see him again, but the door was left opened.

Inside the house a tall lamp on a corner of the wide giant room illuminated the very few things it could reach. The entire place smelled old, and the walls had so many things on them, photographs, paintings, ornaments. The tall man stood there with his face towards the light, so all the girl could see was his black silhouette. A very polite hello came from the girls mouth, it was rather a scared hello than a polite one, and the man completely ignored her and sat on a wide couch. Then another shorter and bulkier old man, whose face was lit by a hand lamp, started to apparently float off from the top left corner of the room, but as he got closer to the floor his lamp made the stairway visible. He sat along the tall man and then more people came in through windows, the main door and one even landed from the roof being hanged down by a rope. They all sat on the expensive looking furniture and they quietly settled their eyes on a candle that was now sitting on a table on the center of the room. Glued to the floor and mouth stitched, this people seemed to be, for none opened their mouths to say a word and the only thing on their body that moved were their eyes as they blinked on very rare occasions. Softly and extremely stealthy, the girl walked down near where the lamp was, to be seen by them, probably. She greeted the faces with a trembling and confused smile but none of them even looked at her. Their eyes all fixed on the dancing little flame on top of the candle. It looked so graceful just floating there, the girl got closer to look at it, and then she understood how beautiful it was.

Then the light of the little flame became stronger but it was only because the hand lamp and the standing lamp had gone out. The tiny flame seemed to be incapable of fighting all the darkness in the room by itself. Slowly the candle began to melt and it wasn’t long before the girl realized it soon would be out and they would be left in complete darkness, she had to leave the place but outside she saw how dark it was as well. Panic made her entire body jump out of her relaxed position on the floor and she began to call to the people, she begged them to listen to her, she asked and cried for them to speak but they didn’t their eyes knew nothing else but that light and their ears heard nothing else but the sound of darkness. Something had to be done before the now agonizing flame went dead, then all would go dark and she knew then she’d be lost.

All possible feelings except happiness soared through her body and she wanted to run because of fear, scream of fear and cry from sadness, but it all seemed impossible for her to do. Her agony was so immense, she was lost the last bit of hope she had on the tiny flame was dying, so small it was and darkness so full, she opened her eyes wide to catch the last small piece of light inside them.

It all was much more than she could take, her lungs filled up with air one last time, and as the tiny spark began to vanish out of existence, the air out of her lungs was released not as a deep heavy breath but as a loud thunderous scream. Then silence and darkness conquered the moment.

Tiny bits of light began to bring the girls eyes back to life then her body followed back with them. She was not wrapping her arms around herself anymore like she was in the dark room. She was standing straight and with her eyes contemplating a beautiful morning. There in front of her laid a big gate and the buildings so old and familiar. Yes it was the same gate at the beginning of the street, and the same buildings, the same street! Confused and disoriented she realized what was going on.

She had never left the place, it all had been such a realistic thought, a realistic daydream, a nightmare. Now the street was here again so peaceful and quiet.

She wouldn’t dare to go back there not in a million years she thought, but could it all be as bad as it had been in her dream. She took a small step inside the gate and inspected the place with her eyes, to see how similar it was to her dream, and then she saw him.

He was slowly walking towards the gate, an old man that was slowly getting closer to her. Soon his face was in reach for her eyes to fully see, something about his appearance emanated youthfulness and wisdom. His face rose up and a smile curved off to one side of his face. His eyes were the next thing the girl saw, so sweet and loving and wise. This man she felt she could trust and his words she could hear.

With a generous nod the man invited the girl to go with him, so trust worthy he looked that she ran straight to him and he held out his hand, politely and humbled she stretched out hers and they both smiled, all at once she knew she had found was she was looking for.

They both sat on a small bench under a tree and began to speak. The man knew the girl and why she was there without her even telling him. He told her how many went to that street for different reasons, many were fooled, others scared and many trapped and lost.

Her need for a story had brought her here, and although the man didn’t tell her, the girl knew that he indeed had lived for ages and could tell her story.

He spoke and the girl was amazed he knew every single detail she ever wanted to know. It had everything, amazing adventures, terrible losses, happy thoughts and it all came back together all her life in front of her eyes. All of it to the moment that she was now living. She sat up to the excitement of knowing that she was about to hear what he knew was going to be next for her, but his mouth shut and the smile was still there.

He got up and almost immediately she did also, he hugged her and began to walk away but she hadn’t heard enough from him, she wanted him to stay or maybe leave with him as well. She stepped in front of him to block his way, demanding to hear more, and she looked deep into his eyes, she could look into them so well that she was able to see her reflection in them, but it was far more than just her reflection, it was something different, a peaceful, somehow older and happier version of herself.

She forced her sight away from his eyes, for she was scared she would be fooled like the others did to her, but not this man, his story had brought stillness to her troubled mind, and joy to her uneasy heart.

Then she knew it, her past didn’t really matter anymore, past was gone and future was a head, she had heard the man, the one who had lived forever, and had seen the reflection in his eyes, maybe it wasn’t necessarily real, but it had shown her how to live, it was now her own path to walk and own decisions to make and own story to live.

Slowly she let go of the man’s hands, he had done enough for her, far more than enough, he had done more than she even expected, more than she deserved. His smile seemed brighter, the shine in his face was nothing like she had seen before, and he started walking down the street, the girl standing still.

He quickly looked back his eyes met hers and his were so loving, it was the last thing she ever knew of him, she knew it was not a good bye. A warm breeze gently waved her hair, and her feet started the journey back to the place where she wanted to go, just then, the gate was there no more instead there was a crossroad, that she was sure it wasn’t there before, but truth is her eyes were just now open to many things that were gone for her before.

The orange light was now kissing the sky good bye and trees turned colors as a farewell, her eyes were fixed upon the setting sun and her body gracefully followed the last path of light that there was on that land. Wrapped in light she joyfully walked, her eyes focused on her destiny, she had left all she never had, for now she had been shown what could be hers, a story of her own. Although darkness at times would hit, there would still be lights on the sky to let her know she was on the right journey, the one He had shown her, the one He had planned for her.

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