Every Little Thing
The dull orange poked and prodded the heavily settled gray, trying to overcome the gloom with the distilled warmth. The remnants of night slowly started to fade as dawn conquered the black shroud of the night with persistence. He sat there, a nonentity in a new city. At times, he would hear the caw of the crow, or the beeps of some passing vehicles. At times, he would feel the chilly wind crawling over his skin. That was all he could – hear and feel. The only two senses that were working properly.
The wind was nippy and he pulled the jacket closer as he waited for the miracle to happen.
There was something magical about it, though he had no hope of ever seeing one. There was something refreshing about how the light fought the power of darkness. Riveting. Hopeful. The impact spoke volumes, volumes about how life can always turn back from a messy juncture.
He was a normal human years before. His life revolved around different space, then, than this life he was living now. He was fast-paced, running behind something and nothing, all at once. There was a kind of rush in his life, though sometimes, he didn’t even know what he was running behind.
His wife would often say, ‘life is all about the little junction you face amidst a long journey. When you stay here at this place for one peaceful moment, you’ll notice that the place you’re going to visit tomorrow is too distant to reach. Too fictitious.’
He had never understood what she meant. She was too wise for his shallow self. Too unworldly. So he ignored her and continued running for money, happiness and power. Running. Running. And he didn’t stop, not for a moment, when she had asked him to.
‘No such things as fictitious. You can make it happen, if you want it to.’
‘But John, are you saying that you have the capability to flex the inflexible?’ She had smiled.
Her peppy, bright eyes would reflect with mirth and intelligence, whenever she smiled. She was truly a sight to look at and he regretted never looking enough, for he ran endlessly.
‘Nothing is inflexible, Trina. Nothing is.’ He was adamant on his theory and she, hers. It had never broken any pact between them. It was just the way they were. Now, John wondered how his life would have been, if he had heard her. If he had stopped from the endless marathon he ran, for endless reasons. Endless, worldly reasons.
John was pulled away from the past when he felt the first lick of heat on his forehead. He pushed his face upwards and watched through his mind, as the sun perked up with vigor. He imagined the bright orange and fiery red, the colors once he had ignored, and pasted the blue sky with them, all in his imagination.
‘Beauty, what a beauty you’re.’ He had said one day.
‘I am. So is everything in the life.’
‘Life is too cluttered. Too miserable to ever be beautiful.’
‘John. What had happened to you? Look around you and you will see the beauty of life.’
‘Life happened to me, Trina. Life. Life, full of misery and miserable possibility. You’re the only miracle in my life, the only meaning.’ Trina had smiled at that, but the stubborn press of her lips never left as she looked at him. Down. Though she was shorter than him, her look was superior. With so much energy. So much trust. So much life – the life he had never felt before.
Someone sat next to him on the bench. He was pulled back from the memory lane, again.
“Hi.” The man next to him said.
“I saw you for a month now. Every day, you would come and sit here. Close your eyes and just sit. Just sit and do nothing.”
“Yes.” John said again.
“Why?” The man’s voice sounded eager.
“Once, I’d been blessed with the eyes. With sight. I ignored every morning hours. I would decidedly walk past without looking at the wonders that were scattered around. I’d robotically traipse past without looking down at the beautiful flowers, or the misty green leaves.
“I was that man, who denied the little blessings and searched for the big one. I was that one who ran behind happiness when it was close and near.”
“What changed,” he asked after a moment of silence. John felt the hesitation and smiled.
“Everything. An accident took my sight away. Now, I wanted to see every little thing. The pattern of the snowflakes as it touch my hands. The hamburger shape of the rain drops on top of the leaves. The vibrant colors of the flowers. The morning sun rays and the sunset. I wanted to enjoy every color. Orange. Red. Green. Blue. But I can’t do anything anymore. It was like God was trying to teach me a lesson for my ignorance.”
The man stayed silent for a long moment. Then he sighed.
“You know, it is a coincidence or maybe the twist of fate. I was blind from birth. A small operation on the optic nerves brought back my sight after years. When I was blind, I wanted to see the things you said. Blue. Orange. Sun. Moon. Now I have it and I haven’t spent a moment to sit and stare.”
“Tell me about it. Humans and their desire to do things they can’t.”
“Yes.” The man left after a minute of silence.
That night John had narrated this to his wife. He imagined her smiling up at him with love. How he missed seeing her!
“Yes. Wonderful. Honey, you’ve always asked me to sit and enjoy, but you’ve never forced me to. I would have hated you if you’ve done it, but now, sometimes, I wished you have forced.” He closed his eyes as his wife hugged him close to her.
“No darling. You’d have resented me.” Her voice smiled and he nodded wordlessly.
The next morning, when John sat on his usual bench, there was a human presence next to him.
“Hi.” The man said with the familiarity of a stranger. Familiarity, which could one day go deep if it was used right.
“Hi.” John said back.
“I am watching the sunrise with you.”
“Yeah, I can see.”
They both laughed at that. The laughter merged with the air, a music of newness, as Sun dipped her fingers, one by one, in the color palette and started painting the blue sky with her nimble fingers.