A rainy day with flooded streets and wet to the bone. I left home to get here. The city gloomy and depressing welcomed me like a vulture welcoming death.
The clouds parted. And I lived. Like I never had before. A small town has streets with voices and every house has windows with eyes. But a city will go by not noticing how different you are. It thrives on the quirky.
But it is also alien to you. You don’t have your backyard, your morning tea, your bed just as you would like. You have instead a shanty to fill with love. And you have freedom to be who you chose. Freedom is a scary thing. But without it everything else is inconsequential.
There was so much I loved about it, the hustle bustle, nothing stopping for nothing, the life throbbing through its veins, it was alive. It taught me to walk with my head held high. It taught me to love myself. It taught me to stand up for myself. It made me feel alive. But like everything I loved back then I hated it as much as I loved it. It was everything I ever wanted but sometimes everything is not enough.
To hate a place like I hated that city. The stench of death, of rotting human souls. The sickness that enveloped everything like fog. I knew for the first time in my life what reality looks like. What it smells like. What it tastes like. And I didn’t like it. I wanted my cottage on a knoll, I wanted to sit by a river bank lazing in the shadow of an old elm tree. I wanted that cliff by the sea with no one around for miles. I wanted an uninhabited valley and snow capped mountains. Reality stung, like wasps, like sting rays. I wanted to run away, to hide, to disappear. But it found me and it clung to me like sapling to the soil. It fed on me till all I could see was the black in all shades of grey.
Tears. I woke up to them, I went to sleep with them.
Loneliness arises from within us. It consumes us unitil nothing is left of us. And we just stand by and watch. Not because we don’t want to be happy but because we simply can’t.
Then i came back home after five years. To the backyard, the tea, the bed just how I like it. And I still like it.
Why did you leave they ask me. We didn’t. We avoided all the pain. We stayed home. In our town, out cocoon. We were never waiting to die.
And I said I know what it feels like to want to die, but that feeling gives me the strength to live. It’s easy to live among familiar objects. The house you grew up in, the tyre swing, the view from your window. It is where your heart learnt to love, where it learnt to forgive, and where it learnt to hope. But when you leave those faces who pulled you up every time you fell. When you leave them behind on that road that takes you on. You find a new place where your heart breaks, where you sin and ask for forgiveness, where you know what is it to despair. For without those things we are incomplete. And only when you know what death feels like do you realise life is beautiful. I want those chilly nights so when I finally find the cabin in the woods with a hot meal on the table, I know I want to stay.
So no I don’t regret any of it. The sadness within me did not arise from a place. It was within me. Only I couldn’t hide from it there. And when I faced it and I fought it. And now when I smile I feel lighter, when I laugh my eyes light up. When I love I don’t do it because I need to feel loved but because I have love to give. So yes sometimes we have to fall, we have to live in darkness for only then do we learn to stand tall and move towards the light.