In the still of the night, all I hear around me is the dull buzz of the lights and electronics. There’s the ever so often blaring sound in the distance, probably from some truck driver speeding down the road, but all in all, it came quite close to silence.
Sitting on the couch of my family’s abode, I find myself just staring at the wall. Wait. No, I’m probably staring through the wall.
Through this medium, I can see swirling figures dancing on a white canvas background. They’re distant, and they kept their distance.
I continue to study their movements and realize that there are indeed two of them. They danced at a moderate tempo and frequently struck poses that would leave anyone breathless. I continued to watch them, never once thinking that they were watching me…
I felt my eyelids grow heavy. Their performance was intricate, but had a fleeting ambiance that lulled my consciousness until it was fast asleep. My head bobbed for a few moments, then all faded to black.
A dream materialized instantaneously. The figures I gazed at through the wall were now within my proximity. It appeared as though I had shrunken to their size, to accommodate some necessity for balance perhaps, but I speculate.
The scenery began to fill with apparitions of people. People I knew, people I didn’t. The couple continued to prance at the centre of the crowd. Their passionate strikes and poses had withered down to a modest waltz that circled me.
My eyes, unable to concentrate on them for very long, soon fixated on the people in the crowd. The first was her.
It had been several years since I’d thought back to her. She was probably the most important person in the world to me…twenty years ago. The pure and childish love that I coveted for the longest time. The one that never happened.
The next face that came into focus was him.
One of the most influential people in my adolescence. He was the reason I looked after others like I did. The episode of my life spent with him showed me that people were ruthless and I had to be all the more cold-hearted. Trust no one, and no pain shall ever come your way without your knowing. I followed his teachings down to the very dotted line. I believe it was thanks to him that I learned to understand and handle to cruel realities that life often bore.
The third face was them.
They are the group of people that I never really got close to, but continued to pester me at every turn I made in the early days of my adulthood. They were my employers, coworkers, strangers I came to knew at cafés and bars…the list goes on. None of them really did much to change me on their own, but altogether, they helped me piece together the puzzle that was my unsteady future.
I stopped studying the faces in the crowd. Suddenly feeling like I was taking a trip down memory lane.
Again, I refocused my attention to the dancing figures. It wasn’t as if they moved quickly, but rather just enough to blur the edges that defined their bodies and facial features.
Finally, the music stopped. When had there been music? Or maybe it was simply the end of their performance. Either way, the two had stopped moving. I turned my gaze towards them and quickly recognized one.
It was my wife. The love of my life. Her face had haunted me for nights on ends these past few years, and now she makes a full reappearance in my dreams. Just. My. Luck.
I had fought for so long to push her memory into the recesses of my mind. Why must you appear now?
She turned towards me and walked hand in hand with the other figure. He was a complete stranger to me. He was tall, had short hair and…wait. It was me. A younger version, at least.
I get it now.
“You’re trying to tell me to stop. Remember all the things that I’ve experienced and take them in stride. You want me to swallow my fears, regrets, and crippling moments so that I can move on and lead a fulfilling life with someone else, someone new.
Well, let me tell you this now: there is no one else after you. There can’t be. Everything I am, everything I’ve felt and done are reminders of what I had with you before you left me. I’ve tried now, really, really hard. And I can’t do it anymore. I’m going to end it and no amount of reminiscing will save me.”