Stormed

stormy city

(Best read with the attached track, Nocturne Op. 55 No. 1 {variation}, originally composed by Chopin and performed by Mr. Chad Lawson, as well as the “Rainy Mood” link at the bottom of the page. Using a laptop is recommended so you could play both tracks simultaneously and enjoy an atmospheric read.)

I stepped out of the door, into the dark city of light, while all forms of life moved around me busily. An aggressive beat of nature hammered my ears, whilst clouds clashed in fierce combat, pouring infinite masses of rain onto my head as I slowly came to be soaked to the bone.

Yet I was at peace with the violence of the world, as the earth shook from the storm attacking us all. The few roadside trees around me looked like they will be no more, as they bent sideways under the winds’ punches. But I couldn’t wait till the skies cleared up. There was no time to waste.

I began walking, setting off on this journey towards a destination which had induced anxiousness into my soul. I felt my insides being bitten, but was it the bite of the cold, or was the tension I dealt with digging its teeth deep into my skin?

Slowly, yet naturally, the streets came to be emptier and emptier, as the rains grew ever harder. Soon enough, I was on my path alone, with not a single breath being taken around me.

For a fraction of a second, lightning emerged from within the clouds, and a huge bright light illuminated the world around me. Night became day, gloom became happiness. I saw plants everywhere, and birds flying. People walking, and dogs barking. I saw life take form right in front of my eyes, only to be interrupted a millisecond later by the darkness that had been there before. The dark city of artificial light, with its empty streets and heavy rain.

Not long after, the expected roar of thunder shook the world. I was deafened, and my ear started ringing, as I heard the laughs of children in the far distance. Yet even that sound was quickly drained down by the thousands of hammering drops of rain around me.

As all others hid behind their houses’ doors from nature’s wrath, I felt as though I was one with the world.

Bright blue fireflies flew around me, and with every breath I took, a galaxy of stars expanded, creating a scene of surreal ambiance. The galaxy got clearer and the buildings disappeared, leaving behind vast spaces of emptiness for the stars around me to emerge. I wasn’t walking. I was floating. Yet the sound of rain and thunder prevailed.

I closed my eyes, let go of my body, and gave in to the universe, as it carried me through its endless worlds, all filled with the sounds of a roaring storm, one that failed to disappear.

With my eyes closed, I saw more. I saw trees dancing to the beat of the thunder, and millions of red petals flying into the air the very moment lightning struck, filling the world like beautiful red floating confetti, only to disappear in an instant, the moment the lightning left the world.

I could feel the large lips of a mountain blowing at me, creating the wind that carried me with it towards my destination. Yet that soft, light breeze it created produced a surreal duality with the raging storm, as it safely carried my weightless body through nature’s attacks.

I was carried, swung, and thrown, all so delicately between the stars, metamorphosing into a mere feather being nurtured by a gentle breeze. Yet the did not remain so gentle, as it was ultimately overcome by the raging storm that soon reminded me of its immense dangers, slamming electric bolts all around me.

The galaxies faded, and the wind threw me roughly onto a surface. I felt a screeching pain as my back crashed against a brick wall with a lead grey color. Words stood on that wall, created by the mold that had accumulated on its surface. “IN HERE,” they said, pointing towards a large battered oak door to the right. 

I gently touched the warm oak, and it obediently opened with a slow creak. The moment I stepped inside, I could feel the absence of rain over my head. The door closed shut as gently as it had opened, while a chair moved, scraping loudly against the floor. I took that as an invitation to sit, so I rested upon the delightfully warm seat.

Two candles flickered at both ends of the room, producing a dim light bright enough to make out the contents of certain figures in front of me, but nothing more. Yet within that luminous field were were three large wooden tables, with an item on each.

On the left one sat a clean glass jar, closed shut, with a living firefly inside of it. The firefly shone with the lively, golden yellow of youth, while flying restlessly inside the jar, smacking into the glass every few moments.

On the right one sat a broken glass jar, very dirty and old, with a dying firefly inside of it. Its light was flickering with a crimson red color, as thick as blood, yet as smooth as a red velvet cloth.

On the middle table, however, sat an ancient book, with a layer of dust covering it. The moment I laid eyes upon it, the thunder outside roared louder than ever. The chair sensed my intrigue, moving me towards the middle table so I can further investigate the contents of that book. Sat by the table, I couldn’t help but notice a mirror  with a crystal clear reflection mimicking my every move from within its Gothic frame.

I grabbed the book and opened the first page, yet it was empty.

Rifling through the book quickly, I found nothing but an increasing sense of frustration with every blank page. My fingers soon found themselves grasping the book by its jacket and flinging it across the table, only to reveal a note that came swooping from between two of its worn out papers.

I initially hesitated, but curiosity ate me up like a parasite. My hands couldn’t help but feel the smooth texture of parchment, pushing forward a finger that followed my eyes in their joyous hopping between letters.

You are lost. Confused as to what all of this means. You know not what you want, or why you want it. You seek truth, yet delve into the world of imagination. You seek love, yet embrace the hate within you. You seek immortality, yet crave death. And this could only mean one thing. 

You seek time. Time to live two different lives, and experience the opposing scenarios you cannot choose from. You’re at a crossroads, yet ache to traverse both sides of it. You’re frightened of reaching sadness at the cost of another happier path, yet you’re even more frightened of reaching happiness at the cost of another more exciting path. 

There’s a certain kind of magic in listening to words that describe exactly how you feel, and that magic took over me as I attempted to digest the words I’d read. Obviously, they were written by someone other than myself, yet their effect felt as though it were a form of introspection, pushing me towards examining my own nature: my sanity, my well-being, my emotional outbursts… Other men’s ink may have written those words, yet my eyes were the lenses capturing their twists and curves as my brain deciphered the meaning behind them. Has my life truly been a series of static instances characterized by my inability to choose? With a deep breath, I continued reading.

You have experienced happiness like no other when walking through one of these paths. Yet it was a path to nowhere, leading you around a loop towards the very point you began at. Content halted your progress; it killed your potential. And now that you’re back where you started, you are clueless as to which of those two paths you should take.

Is a life of routine happiness, one that gets you nowhere, truly a desirable life? Is there even a guarantee that the loop won’t alter itself with every spin you take? You hope to find its safety and happiness intact, yet such a fate is all but determined. However, the other path is a mystery, and mysteries are unsafe. It may take you somewhere new, but the unknown is frightening.

Is the risk necessary? Are you willing to risk a potentially safer path in order to know what the other one hides? Or will you sacrifice a new experience in order to walk yourself through a memory?

As you see, there are two jars to your left and right. You can only take one. If you choose to take the left, you will have to open it. You do not know if the firefly will remain in the jar, or fly away and abandon you.  If you choose to take the right jar, the firefly cannot leave you. However, it can die unexpectedly at any moment. This is when you make your decisions.

There is a third choice, however. One that is potentially dangerous, yet offers something the other choices fail to propose. Go back by moving forth. Good luck.

  

I raised my head, and heard the creak of the door behind me, revealing within its frame a more peaceful world with calm rains pouring down from the skies instead of the wild storm that had threatened the world before. “Go back by moving forth.” It must have meant that if I went back and exited through the door instead, I could move on with my life; move on from this puzzling clash of fears I’d always had: the fear of wasting my time in this world, of doing nothing with my life, in its intense battle against my fear of the unknown, of the risk of failure.

I quickly concluded that moving on was the better choice; a choice where I didn’t have to choose.

However, as I meandered towards the door, it slammed shut. There were words carved onto the damp oak wood.  “Go back by moving forth. Do not go forth by moving back.”

I went back to where I originally was, and reclaimed my seat.

For long, endless minutes I sat there, trying to figure out what should be done. It was never one of my qualities, to let go of something in favor of the other. I’d always wanted everything. I hated sacrificing something I desired to obtain.

My fist slammed onto the surface of the table with a loud bang, as rage boiled through my veins. Suddenly, desperate tears filled my eyes, as my heart set on beating violently against my chest.

Looking up towards the mirror, I saw that my face had reddened. My eyesight was distorted by the tears being shed, but I could make out the general shape of my face, and the vein popping out of my neck.

I stared at my tired self for a long time, then suddenly felt my heart skipping a beat. How could I have missed it?!

“You’re not my reflection, are you?”

My own face in the mirror, staring right back at me, produced a wicked grin very smug in nature. “No. But I am your savior.”

It was a triumphant grin fed by failure. It illuminated a mocking victory, one which implied loss. As a matter of fact, it was fueled by loss itself.

Yet I smiled back, knowing exactly what to do. Moving on didn’t mean letting go. Leaving was not an option; I was brought here for a purpose beyond a cowardly escape through the big oak door. Moving on in no way meant turning away from the crossroads, but rather changing the reality of my situation. I was so taken by a reality I chose to believe, the reality of sacrifice and choice, that I trapped myself within these four walls when the obvious escape was staring me in the eyes! The illusion of choice, in its nature, is but a reflection of one’s fear of choosing. Yet if standing at a crossroads was but an illusion that a choice is to be made, then it is the reflection of a far greater and very different reality: the reality of will.

“Your will to fear is but a branch of your will to live. Yet its reflection stands opposite and equal: your will to succeed. That big oak door stands behind you. Should you walk back, you leave with your will to fear. You would be going forth by moving back where you came from. But as I said, I am not a mere reflection. I am your savior. I am you, yet I see life from a different perspective. Join me, on the other side of the spectrum. Emerge as I, and you’ll find your journey out that door going the opposite way. You would go back outside, but will have moved forth.”

I approached the right candle, and with a soft blow, killed the flame that danced on top. I grabbed the right jar, and walked towards the mirror, carefully handing it to my reflection. As he mimicked my movements, I raised my arm, and it slowly passed the mirror’s surface as though it were smoke. Our arms were now merged at one elbow, while our hands and forearms disappeared right where the connection appeared, merging them into one symmetrical arm; shoulder to elbow to shoulder.

I quickly pulled my arm back, and the jar was no longer in my hand. It was held only by my reflection in the mirror.

Slowly checking if the left jar was still in place, I noticed that both the left and right jars remained on the table. At that moment I smiled. It turned out exactly as I’d expected it to.

I approached the left jar, took it, and handed it to my reflection exactly as I had done with the right one. He now held one jar in each hand, maintaining the wicked smile on his face.

With a deep breath, I slowly stepped into the mirror, “merging” with my reflection. As I passed it, I found myself holding two jars. Quickly, I turned around to face the mirror, now behind me, and I noticed that I had no reflection. To my right, a flame danced on the candle, while to my left, the flame of the candle was extinguished. The smug smile on my face got wider, as I walked out the open door with both jars in my hand, and saw the world calmly rain around me. I went back outside by moving forth from the four walls I’d trapped myself in. Best of all, I finally possessed both fireflies. I was invincible; the world was at my mercy.

Then, a deeply sarcastic voice filled the air with a joyful phrase full of mockery. “Narcissistic, naive idiot. You shouldn’t have done that.”

http://www.rainymood.com

 

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