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 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.