Waking the Monster (part 1)

What if there is a simple cause to all our pain and suffering? What if we could blame it all on someone… some”thing”?


Note that these words might be the ravings of a madman. However, my family has no history of schizophrenia. Furthermore, my family, my friends and my wife have always considered me as a rational man. In the past, my thoughts were always clear and coherent. I do not think I am or ever was “crazy”. Nevertheless, if my findings are correct, I believe humanity is doomed. Although, if I am not and am in fact “insane”, humanity is still in a dire situation. Here is my story; make of it what you will. I am haunted and do not wish to continue living like this. “It” has taken what I cherished most: my mind. 

I was blessed with an incredible brain. When I was a child, I would spend hours inside my own mind. Creating worlds, creatures, characters, stories… My dad would drive me around a lot. We traveled often. He did not talk much. However, I was never bored during our lengthy car rides. I would simply stare out the window and imagine things. As you might presume, I was a distracted child.

Consequently, school was not easy for me. Teachers would speak for hours on end. I listened to what they said as I was a respectful kid. My imagination did not belong here. I could not venture in my mind as I did in the past. Time was constricted in the classroom. We, students, could not waste it. I resigned myself to this new and boring lifestyle. At times, outbursts of imagination would disturb my tuition. At first, I raised my hand to ask the teacher to clarify my insights. But the teachers would rarely answer my questions. They would justify their silence with various excuses: “That is not what I want you to learn David!”, “You will learn that next year!” or my personal favorite “That is too complicated for the class David, I don’t want to confuse the other students!”. I quickly understood that if I wanted to learn everything, I would have to search for answers by myself. It was then that I turned to books to satisfy my curiosity.

I read every book I could find. From philosophy to science or historical romance to fantasy novels, my curiosity was insatiable. I quickly mastered different uses for my brain. I started losing myself inside my mind once again. Simply, this time, instead of creating my own world, I would contemplate all that I had seen and learned. I would rationalize my thoughts; understand them. My comrades quickly found that I was an insightful tool. I made many “friends”. With their help, I grew to further understand human interactions. I was a good listener. I absorbed everything I was told. People came to me for advice or simply to be heard. At my own peril, I was and still am an emphatic person. I could understand exactly how others felt and why they were troubled. I rationalized their problems and guided them as best I could. I learned from their mistakes and matured alongside them.

Come December 21st, 2012, the last day of the Mayan calendar. How ironic that we would cause our own demise on that specific date. The worst day of my life… the worst day of our lives. I spent that entire day in bed, but I could not sleep. I trembled. I clutched at my bed rails to stabilize myself. I could not close my eyes, for every time I did, all I could see were two gleaming red eyes floating in a world of darkness… a world of hatred. I lay there paralyzed for hours, haunted by the sight of those spiteful red slits.


Humanity is a peculiar race. We discover, think, innovate and build. Curiosity is what defines us… from our beginning to our end. We discovered how to create fire. We explored our world and adapted it to our own lifestyles. Our planet still hides many mysteries, yet we venture elsewhere to discover our galaxy. Our curiosity is truly inspiring… and dangerous.


As I aged, I realized I needed to focus on the struggles of the real world. My mind remained my safe haven, but it could not protect me from the cost of survival. I needed to find a job to pay my bills. Money became a priority. Without it, I had no shelter, no food… no value. I searched for jobs and continually reached for higher salaries. I lost myself in the process.

I never spoke of my “first episode” to anyone. “It must have been a panic attack” I told myself. A few years passed as I transitioned through many jobs, trying to find the right one for me. I had lost my imagination, my curiosity, my powerful mind. I felt depression and anxiety wrapping their dark tendrils around my feet, constricting my body. Preventing me from finding my path. The creeping darkness I felt was swallowing all the hope I could ever have of freeing myself. I had no purpose. Sadly, my imagination and curiosity had fled, but my empathy remained to spite me. I could feel the sadness and suffering of everyone around me. The pressure all of humanity felt. We had to be successful, we had to be beautiful, we had to be kind and generous… we had to be perfect. Anxiety and depression were and still are at an all time high! Why did humanity suffer so? 

Our parents seemed happy enough. They had found a path that suited them. They were happy with what they had. Was our generation cursed? Were we doomed with eternal despair? Even the rich and famous had their own set of problems. No one was truly happy. I assumed it was because of how society had evolved. I assumed it was because of the rise of social medias and the pressure they caused us. I assumed it was because we were promised everything but could have nothing. I assumed it was because of all our rules and social standards… I assumed…

Luckily, in 2015, I met the perfect woman, my savior. Her love was unconditional. She helped me escape my misery and find my true passion. She reignited a flame that had long since died in me, submerged in the darkness that surrounds us all. She jolted my sleeping mind back to life.  

I became a writer, an excellent one, a renowned author and blogger. Everything was perfect for a time. However, my happiness was ephemeral. My imagination had returned, and with it, my recurring nightmare. My mind never stopped. I constantly thought of stories and tried to perfect them. I was annoyed by all the buzzing of ideas in my head. I could barely sleep but when I finally did, all I dreamed of were those burning red slits starring at me from the abyss. 


We searched too deep. We woke it from its timeless slumber. Damned by our needless curiosity. We discovered something we should have never found. 


 

Fear

I try to create an appropriate environment for the task at hand. I light up a scented candle; Lavender… the smell of tranquility. I search for the perfect ambient music; Orchestral… the sound of inspiration.

I sit down and stare directly at the emptiness that exists before me. The dreaded blank page, ever so daunting. Alas, tranquility and inspiration are not what I need. They are ever present within me. My mind is a creative wonderland capable of wonders when put to the task. Any environment can be a palace of serenity if it is used to do what I love. Why then, is it impossible for me to write? Why do I procrastinate if I have the skills to complete the task at hand? Why am I powerless?

A frigid tear wakes me from my stupor as it tumbles down my cheek. However, it is not a tear bred of sadness.

I am haunted by recurring thoughts and doubts. I dread I will never be successful. I am terrified of never being read. Fear… Fear is what paralyzes me. My fear of judgment… my fear of failure. Oh, the irony of my idleness.

Fear supersedes ambition. Passion is replaced by anxiety. Will I ever become a successful writer? Or will I succumb to the will of my own demons?

***

Courage is found in the darkest of places. All I needed was a single spark that would reignite the flame within me. What I received were many. My friends, my family, my few followers… I thank you for your support.

I will not falter. I will no longer procrastinate. My demons will continue to haunt me, but they will not stop me from achieving my dreams. I will become a great writer. I may stumble. I may fall back in the abyss of self-doubt. However, my undying courage will shepherd me to success. My flame will never waver. It will grow alongside my conviction.

6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…

Bang!

Gun shot.
Vital spot.

The light fades.
His last thought.
Not what expected.

The pain is overwhelming.
Yet he neglects it.
His life is ending.
Yet, he regrets nothing

Surprisingly, he thinks of her.
However, he does not smile.
Tears stream down his face.
He cannot leave her alone.
This world is not safe.

Who will guide her, protect her.
Who will appreciate her beauty now.
Who will make her smile everyday.
He is wasting his last moments.
With his last breath he says:
I love you, with all my…

Safe Haven

I feel it building up inside of me. The by-product of social gatherings. It has become… insatiable. I hadn’t thought of the consequences as I was feeding it. How stupid of me.

They know… They know what is happening to me. They can feel it also. They are all judging me. What can I do now? The pressure is overwhelming but, if I leave now, I will confirm their speculations. Damn them! Why do they even care?

Its growth is accelerating. It is now feeding off of my anxiety. I have to get away from them. Far away, where I will be immune to their judgmental gaze. Somewhere they will never dare find me. Somewhere safe from their condemning chatter. I feel as if I were going to explode at any moment.

I find the perfect room; the only room that could save me. My safe haven. I open the door and lock it behind me, for added security. Anxiety cannot affect me here. I am safe now, as they are safe from my future actions. I am free to filter the demon I have bred inside of me. I am free to evacuate all of my unnecessary problems.

I breathe in harmlessly. The last pure breath I will inhale for a long time. I sit down on my throne of peace and absolve myself from all that can affect me. There is only happiness here. There is only relief in this safe haven.

Inside the bathroom.

Contract

I felt it creeping up inside me. A spawn of despair and anxiety that I could not contain. My mind was fractured. Insanity had me in its clutches; the result of overwhelming despair.

If only I could have experienced something new, something unexpected. Day in, day out, the same mediocre suffering. At first, my resolve was unwavering. I woke up with a smile. I was unflinching, charismatic, funny even, a positive leader… a beacon of hope for everyone around me. I felt needed and persevered… for them.

My days were bleak and tasteless. My jokes became as redundant as the days were themselves. My torture was mediocre but mediocrity was torture itself. I think he knew it was pointless for him to change his sadistic recipe for suffering. He had found the best instrument to cause anguish, time. Patience was pointless for us. We were all waiting for a miracle that would never come. God could not intervene here. He could simply wait; rest as we inevitably gave up, one by one. He wanted to see us fall while our single purpose was to survive. Who would win in this contest of patience?

I struggled to stay strong. I could not let them down. I could not appear to be weak. What would they think of me if I gave up? Anxiety and despair, a concoction of pure malice, poisoned my spirit. I lost myself in the efforts. I had become what they wanted me to be; what they needed me to be.

I resigned. My endurance was cracked. My resolve was shattered.

I walked into his office. There he sat in the darkest of rooms, hidden in haunting shadows, he, the one with the blackest of hearts. He stared at me with a casual grin. Time, his friend, had brought him another victim. I signed his malevolent contract.

***

I felt relieved. Not because the suffering had ended- It would never end, not for me. Not because I could finally stop portraying an heroic character, ending this constant pressure imposed by my peers. Sadly enough, I felt relieved to, at long last, experience something new. However evil this new task may be.

I embraced my new position. I had a new purpose. I did what he asked of me. The anxiety they had caused me fueled my actions against them. Causing suffering did not affect me. I was already broken. You can’t break a broken man. Causing pain was better than suffering through it. Or at least… it was different; a welcomed change.

***

Days, months, years… Time was still on his side. Inflicting had become as bland as receiving.

This new kid came in. His resolve, his smile, his charisma, even his jokes were impressive. He inspired others around him. I started focusing my attention on him. Until I could break him. Why? To show him his facade was pointless? To teach him he would inevitably win? To renew my purpose and postpone monotonicity? Or was it because he reminded me of something; of someone?

I stopped trying to justify my actions a long time ago, yet I could not waver this feeling of nostalgia. He kept challenging me. We both persevered for a respectable period of time. However, I eventually broke him… broke myself.

I saw him walking towards his office. What had I done? I had relinquished the role of a character to simply play the part of another. I had become his puppet to be used to create a cycle of pain and suffering.

Will he always win this contest of patience?

Fallen

Empathy… my gift… my curse.

I was the happiest kid on earth. My parents exerted incredible efforts to hide their sorrow from my immature eyes. I only knew their smiles. They concealed their tears and their anger from me. They were talented actors. I cherished the joy they showed me and the love they gave me. My parents simply wanted to protect their only child; whatever the consequences may bare. I grew up naive but happy; innocent but loved.

The moment they feared most finally came. They could not protect me anymore. They had to offer me to the clutches of society. I was horror struck by the chaos that unfolded before me. The screams, the rage, the tears… School haunted me for years.

I mostly kept to myself. I was the silent kid; the shy kid. I kept studying, not school subjects but people. Smiles became a rarity for me. All the kids played together while I stood alone. Friends.. a foreign concept for me. I was lonely. I felt sad, desperation slowly crept around me. It was engulfing me. Then he came.  The first of them. Out from the darkness, a light to show me the way. He held out a hand and invited me to play with him. He became my first friend. He showed me how to interact with other people. I still kept  mostly to myself. I kept analyzing but the fear of loneliness had vanished. He had saved me.

High school started. I had already matured at an incredible rate. I exercised everything I had learned from my surveillance of social interactions. I made many friends. We played together; our individual happiness amplified by that of the others. I had never felt such blissful joy. I relished in their jubilation. Every smile and every laugh I created radiated through me. I wanted to make everyone happy. I tried to extinguish everyone’s sadness by listening to them and helping them through their pain… By giving them love.

I quickly learned of all the suffering that existed in the world. War, hate, sorrow, for a time, they were all I perceived. I wanted to change the world. I had a special gift. A talent at understanding others. I could help them, the ones that suffered. I wanted to show people how easy it was to be happy. I could give them love. I thought it would solve everything. I thought it was going to be simple. I had ideas of grandeur. I wanted to be the next Jesus… the next Gandhi… the next savior.

Humanity needed a savior. And I tried to be what it needed. I concocted plans. I was a great visionary. Why stop myself at simply helping my friends and loved ones. However, I was young. A kid… and nobody listens to children. Why would they? How could a child know anything about life and its intricacies. How could a kid teach anything? My authority overruled by my age. If I could not save the masses, then I would have to find another solution. I resolved myself to help the world one person at a time. Helping people, one by one, to slowly save humanity from its sadness.

I helped others. I spread happiness. However, desolation was stronger than I could ever become. People kept asking more and more of me. Desperation was now the one that crept up around me. Its claws tearing through me, weakening my resolve. Dreams of failure haunting me. How could I ever save a world that did not want to be saved? My resolve was broken.

Then she appeared… Our salvation. A fallen angel who’s light radiated brighter than any sun. Possibly brilliant enough to burn away the shadows that grasped our world. Her glare could absolve any sin, her smile could cure any disease, her words could heal any wound, her touch… her simple touch could inspire love.

I stood aghast. Jealous, at first, of her incredible power. Then I saw it. My gift, my curse, it showed me what others blindly ignored. However formidable she seemed, she could not hide her doubt, her fear, her sadness from me. Her charisma was indisputable. She had the power to save masses at a time, but I could feel her strength was fading. Her resolve was withering, as mine had. She doubted herself. Anxiety ate at her. She feared what would happen if she failed. Her light was dimming.

By her simple presence, she gave me the most precious of gifts: Hope. She had renewed my resolve. I knew I could not save the world. Not yet. Not alone. But what if I helped the one who could. I vowed to protect this fallen angel. I vowed to make her smile, to make her smile, to never let her give up. I would give her hope as she had given me. I would fuel her wavering flame and together, we would save the world.

Image result for fallen angel

The Teacher

 

His alarm rang loudly. Another weekend already over… Another damn Monday. He tried to appease his anxious mind by speaking to himself: “Only 42 school days left teaching to these ungrateful students! You can do it Dave! Summer vacation is right around the corner”. 

He drove off towards the school. Another day teaching pointless notions to evasive ears. The bell rang. Most of his students were late. Punishing them never solved the problem. Why start now. He simply endured. He began explaining a complicated math problem. A few kids listened intently. The ones that probably did not need to listen and would have good grades regardless. The others chattered among themselves, burying his voice beneath their own cacophony. He did not care anymore. 42 days left.

One of the students, Tommy Narchay, raised his hand and talked immediately. Surprising that he took the time to raise his hand if he’s simply going to impose his words upon us. The class fell silent. They respected this student more than the teacher. Damn Tommy.

– Why do we have to learn this useless shit. This is bull shit. How is this going to help us later on?

Every year, some student would ask this question. The question seemed late this year, but it did not surprise the teacher in the least. He quickly thought about what he would like to answer. School is simply an elaborate daycare. A way for the government to conform you to modern day life, entice you to follow rules and obey different authoritative figures, prepare you for 8 hour shifts. You will probably forget most of what the education system tries to teach you. And, yes, most of what you learn is pointless for any job you may have in the future. However, he decided to reply as he always did.

– You need your diploma if you want a good job. And the only way you’re going to get that piece of paper is by suffering through my class and all the others. You might think everything you learn here is pointless, but some of it might be useful for certain aspects of your life. You never know what might happen. That is why we try to prepare you to any eventuality. Furthermore, we try to teach you every subject we can in the hopes that one discipline might stimulate you more than the others. Our goal is to help you find your passion. A goal in life.

As it did every year, his speech commanded silence. Every student was mute… thoughtful. The teacher always relished in their pondering silence. Suddenly a loud Bang! broke his cherished tranquility. 

A gun shot echoed through the hallways. Nobody understood at first. Puzzled glares flickered everywhere until they all rested on the teacher; the authoritative figure. He felt betrayed by the education system once more. It kept asking more and more from him. He felt a rush of adrenaline overpower him. He had to act quickly. He spoke to his class.

– Everyone stay calm and quiet. This room must seem empty. Block the door as silently as you can and hide in the corner. The police will arrive shortly. Again, I need everyone to stay calm!

He was surprised at his own rapid initiative in this chaotic event. His countless meetings about school shootings had finally paid off. Students began slowly moving their desks towards the doors. However, before anyone could advance, Tommy stood up and screamed “fuck this shit, I’m out of here!”. He ran out the door before anybody could block it. Damn Tommy.

The teacher followed after him. Pleading him to stay with the others. Hoping the shooter was far away. He looked to his right. Tommy was standing still.. paralyzed. He was staring blankly… passed him. Damn. The teacher screamed: “Run Tommy!”. He spun around.

Bang!

Everything went dark.

***

His alarm rang. It’s already over! Damn it. He drove to work, mumbling complaints all the way. He walked through the familiar hallways.

The bell rang. All the students looked up at him intently. They already respected him, but did he deserve this respect? He introduced himself and started teaching. A student lifted his hand lazily. The teacher gave him a simple nod, urging him to speak.

– Why do we need to learn this? This is never going to be useful! We’re wasting our time!

Already. First class! 

– What is your name son?
– Dave

Figures…

– I am going to be entirely honest with you Dave. You will probably never use most of what you learn in school.  In fact, school is like a complex form of daycare. Our education system was made for you to conform to societal rules at a young age. Most teachers will say otherwise. Not because they want to lie to you, but because they want you to stay in school. Not out of spite, but out of love for students. You will learn things here. However, they are notions you did not expect to assimilate. You will mature. You will learn how to adapt and organize yourself. You will make friends and master communication skills. You may think that going against the current is a smart move. You may think that you are better than everyone here and that you have already mastered all these notions. Telling yourself that you can do everything your own way and much faster, but believe me when I tell you that you are wrong. We teachers have lived through what you are living now and we simply want what is best for you even if you do not see it at the moment. Appreciate your education and find a use for it even if that may seem impossible. Now, If you still believe your own path to be better, I simply demand one thing of you. Do not follow it alone. We live in a large society. We prosper together. Do not go against the current. Follow it. Push it forward. Become a positive leader for your friends and fellow students. Never sequester yourself. Never act alone.

– Woah… okay.. Well thank you mister Narchay.

 

Lifehack #1 One life

Listen up everyone! or better said, read up everyone! I am going to change the pacing and the style of this series. This guide should not be focused on my writing prowess or even on philosophical aspects of life. My goal here is to make you laugh (at me or with me), to make you understand my thoughts and enjoy yourself… to help you live a happier lifestyle. So no more fancy words and no more retrospective bullshit. Now, lets dive into this chapter!

Lifehack: how to live more with a one stock life!

Yup, you read correctly. I know a way for you to potentially live and experience an incredible amount of things that you could simply not accomplish in a single lifetime. It is pretty simple to do. Here is how:

Firstly, listen when people talk about stuff.

And that’s it. That’s all the steps you need to follow to live more with a limited amount of time. Pretty simple right? Wrong! It is harder than you might think. Now some of you probably think I’m stupid when I say that wasting your time listening to others is supposed to help you live more. In fact, it does sound contradictory… but it isn’t. Here is a concrete example of how it could help you:

You’re at your friends house and he keeps rambling on and on about this shitty situation that happened to him today. Now you have 2 options (if you’re a decent human being, there are a lot of other options if you are a bag of shit). First option: you listen intently (acting like the great friend he/she thinks you are); you even might try to console and help that person (but lets not go overboard here, most of us are not that nice). Second option: you ask yourself if you really need to listen to all this negativity while he/she talks and talks; you already have your own life to deal with. In this option, you will probably feign comprehension; nod your head once in a while (lets face it, you would probably lose your friend when he/she discovered how selfish you’ve been!). Now, both options have some merit and their own uses. Here’s the twist. A week later, you are confronted with the same shitty situation your friend was rambling about, only, this time, you are the victim. If you followed option numero uno, you’re good to go. You know exactly what to do because you’ve already solved the issue with your friend. In this scenario, you “wasted” time in a conversation with your friend that probably helped him out and ultimately saved you from all the anxiety and problems the same problem would have caused you. Win Win. Lets see how option 2 would pan out. Yeah, awesome, you did not waste an entire evening listening to your friend and letting his negativity affect your life. However, now you’re faced with a problem that you do not know how to deal with. You live through the consequences (plus some added regret; whispers in your head saying: you should’ve listened to him you egotistical bastard!).

I do understand that this might never happen. I do understand that this scenario is pretty specific. However, I find that there is no negative outcome of listening intently to your friends, family, coworkers, hell… people in general. You’re going to live so much more if you take the time to listen intently to others. If someone takes the time to talk to you. Hear them out and analyze what information they are offering you! Here is a list of all you will gain if you do.

  1. Solutions to problems that may arise in your own life (yes, like the example I just gave you, you’re so perceptive! Look at you already improving yourself). Here’s another example.
    • Ex: You’re talking to a friend again: Your relationship is awful, poor you dude. Wait, you left her? How did you do that? How did it work out for you? What would you have done differently? Any regrets? Oh wow, I just realized I’m in a toxic relationship too. Let me just apply everything I’ve learned from you so that I don’t suffer as you did. Thanks bro. What a happy coincidence! The first guy could talk about his problems and be listened (first win) and the second did not have to suffer as much when he applied everything he had learned (second win!).
  2. Experience things that you might have never lived
    • Ex: Wow! You went to Japan? How was it? What did you do there? Did you enjoy yourself? We both know you’ll probably never go to Japan. But, now, you’ve lived through a shadow of that awesome trip; a small experience of what it was like. In addition, you’ve made someone happy because, let’s face it, who doesn’t love talking about their amazing trips?
  3. Learning stuff
    • This one is kind of obvious for anyone who has had to suffer through North-American education. You can learn a lot by listening to people but not simply from teachers, tutors or mentors. Everyone around you has something to offer. You can also analyse people: Oh wow, that guy is so dumb! This other guy is so charismatic! Stop and consider what gave you this impression. Copy the things you’ve enjoyed seeing in others and try to avoid the things that you’ve disliked (odds are that if you like or don’t like certain mannerisms, you’re probably not the only one. Copy the ones you like and prevent yourself from doing the ones you despise!).
  4. Sharing happiness
    • I will probably talk about the contagiousness of happiness in later posts. However, here is a brief overview of the concept. We all know how fast smiles can spread. In fact, you don’t even need to know the cause of a smile to smile yourself. If you see a man laughing on the bus (or anywhere for that matter), you’re instinct is to smile or even laugh. You might appreciate the fact that this person is enjoying himself or you might simply be a dick and find him stupid for laughing in public. In both cases, you’re probably smiling or laughing (with him or at him) and then the happiness chain will continue with you.
    • We do not need a reason for smiling or to simply be happy, but, when we do, it will be more profound. It will be an earnest (synonym of sincere… sorry, I know I promised I would try to not use big words… but they are so pretty) happiness. If you know the cause of your conversation partner’s happiness, you might be more inclined to empathize with him and feel a portion of that person’s joy. It will be a greater and longer lasting happiness. Of course, this only works if you are capable of empathy/sympathy (sorry for all you robots reading this).

Ultimately, if you follow this lifehack, you will have lived part of everything everyone around you has experienced. You won’t have to suffer as much because you will be ready for certain problems before they ever happen to you. You will discover more and in a much faster way. Learning from your mistakes is a long process and implies that you will have to make many  mistakes yourself. What if you learn from the mistakes of everyone one around you instead? Isn’t that much better? No pain and all the gain, I say fuck yeah I’m in. Plus, there is the small but incredible bonus of sharing and spreading happiness! Stop living your own life your own way and take advantage of the fact that we live in a connected society. Lets share our progress and not simply our pain.

 

 

The Happy Man

Every morning, he walked around town, waving and smiling at everyone he crossed. Many laughed at him and others simply judged him in silence. They gave him many names: The clueless dreamer, the silent drunk, the happy dimwit…

One day, the richest man alive crossed paths with the happy man. The former was late for an important deal with his clients. He was pressed for time but could not help himself but stare at the smiling man that stood before him. The happy man waved.

–  Do I know you? asked the rich man

The happy man shrugged as a sign of confusion. Unsure of the answer. Unsure of the meaning of the question. The wealthy man starred at him. He analysed him from top to bottom. The ragged man in front of him wore stained an torn clothing. He had no other apparent possessions; no sign of wealth.

–  Why do you have such a tremendous smile? You are poor! You have nothing!

The poor man starred at him with concerned eyes. The rich man started to wonder. Why did this man continue to smile? The happy man had nothing while he, on the other hand, had everything money could purchase. Why was it that the man in front of him was the one smiling while he could not remember the last time he was happy. It seemed like he never stopped feeling anxious and pressured… empty.

The happy man took off his shirt and handed it to the rich man. A gift? Received without effort? The rich man put it on, the gift from a man who seemingly had nothing to give. He understood that he was missing something in his life; something intangible. Something he could not buy. His lips curled. He returned a smile to the happy man as the latter walked away.

The next day, the smartest man alive came to town. He too crossed paths with the happy man. As he walked past him, he stopped and starred at his smile. Curiosity, the pillar of is intelligence, got the best of him. He had to ask:

– Why are you so happy?

The happy man looked at him unflinchingly as tireless questions filled the smart man’s head. The man that stood in front of him did not seem to understand a thing. Did he understand the question? Did he understand anything? Did he ask himself any questions? Did he not possess a shred of curiosity? Did he already find the answers to all his questions?

A glimpse of concern flickered in the happy man’s eyes. Did this man understand his troubles? The burden of his unending curiosity? Suddenly he started to fling his arms around reaching for his armpits. He screamed and made monkey noises. He acted like a baboon in the middle of the street. Bystanders starred awkwardly yet the smart man burst into uncontrollable laughter. A profound cacophony of joy that he had not appreciated for some time now. He thanked the happy man as they both walked away.

On the third day, the greatest leader alive came into town. He too met the happy man and could not help but wonder why this man was so relaxed and content. The leader had acquired the respect of numerous nations. He had united people  and accomplished various other great deeds. He had achieved all he wanted to achieve, but he could never be satisfied. He never stopped. He had to be the best, the greatest and the most generous. Why was he not allowed to live peace and happiness?

– How do you live without respect? How are you happy while accomplishing nothing?

The happy man slowly walked towards the important leader. He held out his arms and hugged him. The leader had never enjoyed this kind of comfort. He accepted the gesture and a smile crept up on his face. He was allowed a small break; a brief moment of respite. For all the respect he had received, he had never welcomed love into his life.

The happy man walked away and he continued walking… his smile, impervious to external judgement… his mood, immune to greed… his mind, protected from unending questions… his soul… exempt from sadness.

The Soldier

 

Image result for soldier at front doorThe soldier walked back home. Home… such a distant memory. It has been so long since he last came here. He stepped up to his front door. He stared blankly at it, unable to make a move. Should he knock, or should he enter? Does he still belong here? Is he still welcome?

***

He spent his life with the army. Fighting wars upon wars. Defending the helpless. Attacking the corrupt. The strong always preyed on the weak. He had to be strong for them. No one else could. No one else would. However, the wars never stopped. The corruption spread. Was he making a difference or were all of his efforts pointless?

***

He entered. His family rejoiced; tears in their eyes, smiles on their faces. They embraced him, as a savior, as a revenant. They had changed. Everything had changed. They were old. Wrinkles cracked on their faces. He did not know them anymore. Had he changed also? Was this is real family?

***

He had made his own family in the army. Brothers in arms. He would sacrifice anything for them as some did for him. Their memories would never fade from his spirit. Scars that would never heal. A brotherhood of selflessness and sacrifice. 

***

He tried to make a living but he didn’t know how. He had learned so many skills, yet none of them were of any use to him. This society had so many rules and restrictions; things he had forgotten over the years.

***

Rules don’t apply to soldiers. Rules get you killed in war.

***

His friends found love and founded families. He envied them. He did not remember how to fall in love. His friends had it all figured out. The soldier had never felt so alone.

***

A soldier could not love. Love was weakness. A soldier could not be loved as he could not keep promises.

***

He felt constricted by time. Time he had used on a pointless venture. Time he wished he had spent on himself as all others seemed to do. He still could not find a purpose to guide him. Something that would drive him. He was haunted by his past, tormented by his troubles, sadened by loneliness and pressured by his lost time.

***

He quit the army. Hoping to find a new purpose. Hoping… that it was not too late.

***

Still, the soldier searches… for a goal, for something to bring him happiness, to bring him closure. He knows he will find it. All he can do is rise from this point. In his heart of hearts, he knows he willd still amount to greatness.