I’m sure you’ve all been waiting for this. Chapter two of my love story. I wrote the first chapter two years ago and I have, erm, been thinking about writing the next one for two years. I just never found the time and the inspiration at the same time (I made an attempt once that didn’t turn out too well, bloody awful if I remember it right). I find it truly marvellous how a story can live in your mind for two years. I can’t really believe it was two years ago though, but it was. It was around Easter and there were flowers in the Canyon, I was doing yoga there in the mornings…my darling LA…well, this story is from my heart, not from the city…but then, that city too, is in my heart…
The Journey, Chapter II
He played her like a violin. Soft, penetrating notes echoing in the first light of morning. Like dew they were crystal clear, the notes, as they flew through the skies, the echo softly fading into eternity. She could feel him. As he moved something moved within her.
He wasn’t there. He was away in travels. He hadn’t been there since they met. That first whirlwind couple of weeks when they got to know each other. He had already known her, as she had known him, as souls know each other, recognize each other, but they had to get to know each other on a day-to-day basis. He found out what hours during the morning she ground her spices. She found out what hours of day he spent rehearsing tricks for his shows. He watched her as she came up with recipes, baked…tasted new tastes as she created them. She watched him as he learnt to make something disappear only to reappear unexpectedly, or six juggling balls fly in endless patterns across the skies.
It was funny she thought, how she felt she knew him, without knowing a single thing about him. He kept surprising her with the small things he did. Whether he suddenly showed up with the perfect present at the most unexpected hour, or told a funny story to a stranger, there was always this element of surprise – of making things appear out of thin air (which he was very good at quite literally). Still, even if he told someone a story she had never heard before, or suddenly showed up with all the neighbors for a spur of the moment picnic, which no one in the town had thought to do for the last 100 years or so, she was certain that she knew him. Her soul knew his soul, as his soul knew hers. Whether they recognized each other because of centuries past, or because they were made of the same stuff…she didn’t know. It was as if their essence was the same, or completely complimentary. Yet, there was nothing complimentary about him loving coriander and she loving mint, him traveling and she having a bakery, him staying out late to perform and she waking early to bake, but it felt right. As if they shouldn’t be copies of each other. As if they were different, yet the same. Complimentary, she thought. They fit without having to fit.
It was a splendid dawn today, just as the day three months ago when he had entered her little cafe well before the rest of the town had stirred. When the air was still fresh and clean – desires, agonies, pains, hopes and passions, still sleeping. It was the purest hour of the day. It felt much the same as the tones of the violin – clear cutting and raw, beautiful and light, yet forceful and demanding.
He had entered at dawn. It was his colours, his aura, the feel of him…a man who was wide awake, making things happen. A man who preferred to rise whilst the rest of the world was still sleeping. Yet, he was a man of the night; an entertainer. As everyone know – people like to be entertained at night, when they have time for such indulgent pleasures and their minds let lose and their hearts play. He could sneak in the shadows and appear in the light, he was filled with contradictions like that.
As any good entertainer, he could make anyone feel at ease instantly. People were drawn to him and she imagined the women in his life must have been plenty, yet he was a loner. He was always there, present in the moment with people, open, warm…still she could see he didn’t feel connected to everyone. He was present to them, they touched him inside, as he touched them, but he wasn’t connected to them on every level. As if they were different from him. Few people could get to the core that she had imagined she had touched.
His exterior was so light, always jesting, but underneath was something else. He could spend hours thinking up a story, coming up with the deeper meaning, the sublime messages….then hiding them in word plays, tricks and jokes. He appeared light, but he had a depth she’d rarely seen before. He was a man who knew the truth and conveyed it in jest. He saw far beyond what eyes can see. He saw into people’s hearts and minds and slightly altered them during his performances. A true jester, an alchemist at heart. She knew that was the path of jesters in ancient history. Apparently some lived on.
It was hard to pin him down. Just as he could see through the facades of most men, straight into their hearts, it was hard to see straight into his. From all the people he had met he seemed to have picked something up…it was as if he was everyone, yet, he was so distinctively himself. And when he let go, when he wasn’t entertaining, or analyzing, when he was just him, without doing anything, he was beautiful.
She remembered one day….the sun just starting to move from the very top of the skies towards the horizon, his voice – that soft, deep melodic tone – floating effortlessly into the air around him, a smile covering his face. A small group of people had gathered around him, like colorful dots, as he stood on his red mat.
Given his audience that day was filled with children, he told them a fairy tale. The woman smiled, as she remembered the story – it had been about an Easter egg hunt.
He had told the children that in one town, a small town much like their own, only instead of always basking in sunlight, it was placed on the mist swept hillsides in what appeared to be a magical place, the tradition was that every year on Easter Sunday the adults would go out early in the morning to hide beautiful eggs for the children who turned ten that year. The eggs were large, made out of wood and beautifully painted in bright colors, gold and silver. Intricate patterns, sometimes even images making up stories, covered the eggs. They said the tradition was as old as the town itself and in fact you could buy these eggs all year round to bring with you back to your own town. The eggs were very expensive, the accomplishment of a long tradition of craftmanship. For the children though, the eggs were free and filled with wonderful toys and fantastical sweets and every child longed to turn ten, just so they could be the ones participating in the Easter egg hunt that year.
According to tales from the town it was said that if someone really needed something the spirit of Oestre, of dawn and new beginnings, would bring it as a gift and hide it within the egg. Most people didn’t believe in this tale though, as it was old and filled with superstition, but as tales go it was still told over and over again. It was as much part of the town as the cobblestones themselves.
One year during the traditional Easter egg hunt, a girl found an egg that was much smaller and uglier than all the other eggs and when she opened it inside was a small bag of seeds, a needle and one piece of chocolate. Nothing like the endless amount of sweets, toy trains, games and other beautiful toys the other children found.
The girl who had found the ugly egg felt very disappointed at first. This was something she had been looking forward to for years and something her friends had talked about for weeks now. Even the adults looked at her funnily as everyone swore that the egg hadn’t been placed by them and there was another egg, one like the ones the other kids had, that had gone missing. They believed someone was playing a trick on them, but they thought it must be a stranger as everyone in town at the time got along really well. As there was no other egg – every egg in town had been sold before Easter – the little girl had to make do with the one she found.
As all the other boys and girls were gathering around to show each other their eggs and eat their sweets the little girl felt angry, thinking it unfair she couldn’t do the same. The other children offered her sweets but it didn’t feel as nice eating them when she couldn’t offer any in return, or swap around for favorites, like the others did. Nor could she play with her new toys, as she didn’t have any. After sulking for a while, she gave up, simply because it was too boring to sit and be miserable and decided to go home. After all she thought, maybe there was something special with her egg? Maybe it was a magical somehow? She would have a closer look at it when she got home.
Once at home she opened the egg again and sat steering at the contents for a while, waiting for something to happen – magic is supposed to make things fly, or play music out of nothing, isn’t it? Nothing did happen though, so she decided to put the contents of the egg to use – there wasn’t much else she could do. She took the seeds and planted them in their garden and once she was done she sat down and had the piece of chocolate she had been given. The chocolate was truly delicious and as it was the only piece she got, she took her time and ate it very slowly, enjoying every bite. She thought the other children probably didn’t enjoy their sweets as much, because they ate so many in one go. When she got sweets in the future, she would take her time to enjoy each one. Once she had finished her chocolate she hurried inside to try the last thing in the egg – the needle. As she sat down with a piece of fabric, needle and thread in hand she immediately managed to prick herself with the needle. Not a great start to an enjoyable gift she thought, but she realized she didn’t actually know how to saw very well, so she took the needle and walked over to her neighbor, who happened to be a seamstress.
As it turned out the little girl really enjoyed sewing once she got the hang of it. It took hard work and a lot of patience, but as she started enjoying what she was doing she learnt fast and soon she was making dresses for her dolls and shortly thereafter clothes for both herself and her family.
That summer her father got very ill for a couple of months and as the family didn’t have much money the girl made some extra money from her sewing and was delighted to find that she now had a garden filled with vegetables they could eat. Later in life she became a very accomplished seamstress and made dresses that created happiness for all that wore them. So the little girl who got the smallest egg, after all got the largest treasure. And she learnt that things that are valuable continue to generate joy for years and magic truly is a gift you have to make happen yourself.
After ending the tale the jester magically pulled out an egg from various places to each one of the children, each egg containing her homemade sweets and a gift that could be used for many years to come, something that needed to be used to create something else. That way, he explained later, they would carry the magic with them. She had asked him how he knew what gift to give to each child, whether a set of paints, or a mini-carpenting kit. He had smiled when she asked him this. “I know a little bit,” he said, “but I do not know everything. I was hoping chance would play it to my favor. I prayed each gift I chose would be the right one, using my intuition if you so like, but life after all will happen as it chooses and we all have to deal with what comes. Sometimes a gift today can seem worthless, that in years to come becomes precious. Just as in the story I told.”
He smiled again as his mind seemed to wander. “My granddad had a flute, which he had never played for more than an hour in total his entire life. It had been a gift to him from his father in law, who, as an established musician, hoped that his new son would learn to play and carry the traditions of the family forward. As it were grandpa never really got used to producing his own music – he preferred listening to others, like his beautiful wife, whom used to sing to him. So the flute gathered dust in a corner of their house, until some 35 years later I found it and learned to play. Much thanks to grandma. To this day, that’s the flute I play. It’s made of some incredibly hard wood and seems to never wear out. Magical, really. It’s my favorite toy, my most precious belonging. Apart from you, of course.” He laughed and winked at her. “I don’t belong to you,” she objected. She could never get used to people talking about each other as belongings. She was a free spirit, not jailed to anyone, or anything. “No, but you are part of me. Sort of the same, don’t you think?”
She didn’t, but she knew what he meant. It was what she had been trying to explain to herself for the last couple of days as she felt him much stronger than before. As if the notes of his flute were playing within her, opening her to the sudden feeling that he was present in the room. She wondered if she was insane as at the same time as she knew she wasn’t. It was the same as she feeling exactly what someone needed to eat to alter their state of mind. It was knowing something that travelled through you, without you knowing exactly how, or why. It was a feeling, an impression – something as tangible as it was inexplicable.
She thought about the flute. Notes, playing her, caressing her…maybe life is like that she thought? Like a million melodies playing at the same time, some harmonizing with each other. Those where the people you felt you belonged to, were part of. Maybe the whole universe was made up of sounds, of notes echoing out into eternity, never really disappearing, just reappearing in another melody. And when you met melodies you harmonized with, you felt stronger, as two voices sing louder than one. You felt at home, understood – as if the spices finally matched up, creating the perfect harmony, the perfect cake. And maybe, just maybe, you heard the melody before it entered? You were drawn, as if by magic, to the people and the places that would harmonize with you?
She felt a wind swirling in from underneath the doors and the spices twirled up into her face. His spices. She looked up in wonder.
The doors opened. “Hi,” he said.
Some melodies enter our life for a little while. They belong to one verse. Others stay forever as they are part of our refrain, if not every verse. They suit a part of us, as we suit a part of them. We play together, sing together to find strength. Together we move mountains. Others are part of our entire melody, whether they play near you, or far away. As their notes echo out into eternity, they touch you, caress you, alert you, warn you, love you…they are always there for you. Their music grows stronger when they are closer in their minds and hearts, but the music never stops. As one, you will always play together, whether you know it or not. You are in this life together. Without each other you wouldn’t be. Yet, you may never meet each other. Your hands may never touch, your smiles never be recognized, but should you, you will know. On some level or another you will always hear the music.
THE END (…of Chapter II…)
To the notes I play with, the winds I fly with. You are me, my life and every verse of it.