I woke up today. There was nothing special about today. It was just another day.
I continued to feel in the doldrums, with my head stuck under the clouds.
Around 1 pm, a letter came through the crevice under my door.
I wasn’t expecting anything.
Definitely nothing important.
And luckily this also wasn’t important
It was a simple message.
Something I already knew, but something I guess my brain needed some clarity on.
I realised I found myself quite irritable and negative.
Often finding solace in books, films, and music.
And of course the company of good friends.
But nonetheless, I’d often find myself lonely. Sometimes even with company.
I continued to yearn for something.
However, then I read the letter.
And as the words were read by my retinas and then processed by my brain, I immediately felt relieved.
As if, after living with a 200-pound parasite on my back of self-inflicted punishment, I allowed myself to breathe.
I allowed myself to smile.
A real smile.
After a very long time.
And mean it.
I allowed myself to look out in the yard and see the birds chirping in the garden.
Some pecking at the cherries I’d worked so hard to plant.
See the worms snaking through the garden, going from plant to plant. No doubt causing horrendous damage to my endeavours.
But I continued to smile.
As the sun shone through the window. As the wind blew at thirty kilometres an hour.
As the iguana slithered across the fence looking for its next meal, hopefully not in my garden, all I could do was smile.
The world can be beautiful and also dastardly, and often you can find yourself lost in the labyrinths of the mind. Searching forever for a way out.
We often forget to love life, for the dastardly bastard that it is.
I’d forgotten the many things I did as a child.
Climbing coconut and mango trees on the beach.
Eating tamarinds with close friends at school.
Swimming in the most beautiful waters in the world.
I’d look down and find myself in awe of the world right below or next to us depending on how you experience language.
I’d forgotten many great moments with family and friends as I’d become encapsulated by the need to be constantly efficient.
The need to go from one thing to the next.
I used to swing in the hammock on a Saturday morning as my parents played jazz throughout the house.
I distinctly remember hearing Marvin Gaye through the speakers many an afternoon.
That’s where my love of music began.
I would stay up with my father and watch movies I was far too young for.
I watched Jaws at this point which at one time made me fearful of the water I used to love and also uncovered a love of cinema.
I’d spend countless hours in the public library. Reading everything I could get my hands on.
Normally it was an Agatha Christie or a Jules Verne novel.
I distinctly remember how I felt reading “Around the World in 80 days”. I was in awe of the ability of literature to capture me and convey feelings I’d never felt before.
So encapsulated in a world.
That’s where my love of literature began.
As I continued to venture through childhood, I realised that these loves began to dissipate.
Almost as if the light in the bulb itself was dimming.
I felt myself yearning for adulthood.
Because I was certain that adulthood meant freedom.
Freedom from being treated as a child.
Freedom from being told what to do, what to wear, what to study.
That’s what we all believe do we not?
So I yearned for adulthood.
And then adulthood came, quite early for me.
I left home at fifteen to go to university.
Assured in the direction I was going.
Sure that I would find my freedom.
It was not long before I realised the freedom I was yearning for was not to be found.
I found myself captured in institutions and organisations.
And slowly my loves began to die.
I wonder why we ask children what they want to do when they grow up.
Only for our response to their answer to be, “be realistic”.
Fifteen years later, I continue to yearn for those feelings.
The feeling of eating mango for the first time.
I remember the smell when we would peel back the skin.
I remember the trees.
The birds pecking at the mangoes.
I yearned for my curiosity back.
It felt like it was stolen from me.
A preposterous injustice.
As I look out on my garden, I began to feel those emotions again.
I’d found my curiosity.
As I smile I begin to mean it.
And the lightbulbs no longer dim.
I thank the gods for this letter.
- By: Anonymous