Shorter works

Waiting for a myth

It has been winter for too long. I used to wonder if there was any other state than this, to feel a void within my heart, my chest a barren orchard, no fruit of any kind grown here, not even a canopy of soft green leaves, like the fingers of tiny angels brushing against my cheek, no sweet scents, no blue sky—the dazzling jewel of blue that crowns a summer’s day, glowing, glorious—not even this above my barren orchard. Yet I must carry it around, as I did for decade after decade.

At twenty, it did not seem like a burden; I was used to it and time seemed endless; if this went on for another few years, it was of no account. And then at thirty, I was more battle-worn, my thoughts echoed amid the bare trunks of those fruitless trees, those mocking companions—You are alone, alone, so what are you going to do about it? Nothing, there is nothing you can do; you can only go on and on. Which I did. And then at forty, I watered those trees with my tears, and still no fruit came. Still, I was living a joke; the joke was me; just look at me; I was living a life alone and I knew that this was not supposed to be; but what could I do? What could I do? And my resistance had worn bare; to tell the truth, it had failed me at thirty but I had kept waking for each day and laying my head to rest on my empty pillow each night, my fake pillow—for everything about me was fake, for I was alone; I was living a lie, a joke, a mockery; that was me, and my pillow, along with every other aspect of my life was a mockery also, but that was where I lay my head at the end of each day, for I had no choice.

At thirty, my resistance was no more, worn threadbare by unintentional thugs, yet still I carried on, bleeding invisibly from my imaginary wounds, till it seemed that I had no more blood left within me, and I felt twenty flavours of scorn circling me each day and each of those flavours was another vulture’s scent dripping from the sky, eating yet more of me with mere words—Let them have me, I would think; I had no use for a body; come, take me; bring it on; there is nothing left of me now; you can take it all! And at forty, I seemed safe; there was no more left of me to eat; what meagre pickings there had been, they had taken and now flown elsewhere, leaving me, a walking cage of dry bones, its chest housing that barren orchard, left it in some kind of peace, to count out the remaining days, which had seemed fine—perfectly acceptable. So, I had sampled life on this Earth—so it was barren; so it was long—too, too long, when many a minute had seemed as endless as a condemned man’s last sleepless night.

And just when I had achieved an expertise at this counting of days and seasons and years—as an aged oak standing patiently in one spot watching the world pass it by and learning not to care, for caring was of no use—just when I had thus counted almost to the end of my fifth decade, along you came. First I saw your picture, heard your voice, saw your smiling face, and some part of me—some deeply buried part within me that had not died, had lain dormant like a buried and forgotten acorn—that part recognised you and dared to dream and its dreams were the buds of sweet blossom in my orchard. Yes, the trees had not died; true, they had never lived; but at least they had not died—for here they were, bearing sweet blossom. And then you appeared before me in person and I felt that I beheld a myth. After all those years of waiting and hoping and planning for something that I had almost come to accept did not really exist—there you were, standing right before me.

And now I can feel my life transforming into mythology.

The fruit has come.

And it is ripe and sweet and soft and it tastes so good.

It tastes so good.

10 April 2010

(A poem for Rhyan)