Despair, anguish, anger – beginnings of all great stories.
I woke up to a loud emergency alert on my phone warning me about strong winds and flooding. It has been drizzling all day long since a few days. The weather report states a hurricane is expected to strike Central America. I sigh and get out of bed. The gloomy weather has made me lazy and dull. I drink a banana smoothie and decide to head out for a walk since all I have been doing is lying on the couch and whiling away time doing unimportant things, such as work. So, I decide to start my day by being a little more active even though it’s wet and cold outside.
I grab my rain jacket, plug in my earphones, and step out. I get engrossed in an episode of Radiolab about Time on Spotify and take several rounds around the park in the neighborhood. After an hour long walk, I grab a coffee and a sandwich from a nearby cafe and walk back home. On reaching the entrance to my place, I notice strange, muddy footprints near my front door.
The footprints do not look like shoe prints or animal footprints, they look different. Strange! I get worried and quickly check if I had left my door unlocked. Thankfully the door is locked, but I still do a quick check to see if there is anyone inside. I check the living area, under the couch for any animal, patio, bedrooms, bathrooms, under the kitchen sink, and find nothing.
The strange part is not about seeing the muddy footprints, it is about the unfamiliarity of the footprints and how they abruptly end near my front door.
These footprints kept appearing repeatedly outside my door for the next few days, which I found rather unusual and upsetting. I put in more effort and looked further to find out where the steps start and why they always ended near my door. My futile attempts only led me towards puddles near the entrance of the apartment with no other clue. After wasting a good amount of time, I would groan angrily and go back to doing my daily tasks.
It is Halloween today, my friend from work, invites me over to a costume party at her place. I wear a simple grey dress which has a furry tail and a hood with ears. It is a werewolf costume but it makes me look more like a cat. After a long night of chatting and drinks, I sober up and drive back to my place by 2 AM in the morning. Tiredly and sleepily, I hunt for the house keys inside my handbag without noticing that there is something near my feet. I realise this and pause for a second before looking down. I let out the loudest shrill scream upon seeing a wolf in front of my door.
Immediately, the lights in the neighbour’s house turn on and an old woman grumpily opens the door. She looks at my deeply shocked face, the animal, and starts laughing.
She starts apologizing for not informing me about her new pet, “I am so sorry dear, meet Hemlie!”, she says.
She pets the animal and continues speaking,
“My grand daughter wanted a husky before Halloween so she could dress him up as a werewolf and take him along for trick-and-treating. On her way back with her friends, she lost Hemlie and came home crying. She fell asleep an hour ago after crying all night long. Poor girl and look here he is, I guess he found his way back home. Smart one, this boy!”, she bends down to pat his head and grabs Hemlie’s collar.
“He must have scared you.”, she looks up at me and smiles in the dim light of the corridor.
I smile at her confusedly and look at the dog’s feet and see him wearing a weird pair of oversized boots. I tell my neighbour about the strange muddy footprints that I have noticed near my door.
For a while she looks confused but then immediately looks at me apologetically, “Oh dear, I had no idea about this. My grand daughter has been taking him out in those shoes and must have made Hemlie clean them up on your door mat before entering our home, because you know I am a stickler for cleanliness!”, she says sheepishly.
I crawl into the bed feeling relieved that the strange mystery of the muddy footprints is solved and also silly for worrying too much about little things.
Today, a grey and red spotted moth got trapped in a gap between the glass and the mesh section of my window frame.
I tried to help but there’s no way I can without breaking the glass or cutting open the mesh. I sit down and wonder where the moth must have entered from. Then, I notice a slight opening outside, near the upper edge of the window. I feel relieved because there’s hope for the moth to escape. All it needs to do now is find its way, go back to the opening, and fly away. But sadly, all it seems to do is walk farther away from the opening, or fly and hit itself against the glass pane, and fall down. Sigh!
While I watch this little moth try helplessly, I get reminded of the story of The King and the Spider. I sit by the window and narrate this story to the moth of how the spider never gives up and continues trying until it succeeds. Just to give the moth some company and a few words of inspiration. Slowly, the moth starts moving towards the center of the frame. It gets closer to the edge but again suddenly decides to fly straight towards the glass. Another fall! “Now, why would you do that? Stop flying and go towards the corner where you entered from.”, I say but the little one does not listen to me.
Thankfully, it gets up again and continues walking. It walks multiple times over the same path, starts flying, and falls down. Poor thing continues trying, sometimes it is super close to the opening but it mindlessly walks away or flies only to fall back down again. Now, I am not sure about the moth but I give up. I cannot watch the moth struggle to find a way out of its own trap.
Sometimes, we create these kind of traps for ourselves in our lives due to bad decisions or sometimes unfortunate circumstances make us feel trapped with no way out. What’s important is that the moth did not give up even when the end was near, it did not stop trying. I guess when we stop trying, we stop being alive. So, let’s hold on to dear life.
I picked a book from the library and excitedly ran all the way home.
I locked myself in the tiny closet and sat down on the floor.
Eagerly, I opened the book and the words were waiting for me.
Looking up at me curiously.
Two little strangers would embark on a new journey.
Slowly and patiently from one word to another I rolled.
The words started revealing a story like I hadn’t read before.
This time it took me into a forest dense and green.
I escaped from the reality and lost myself in this picture serene.
I was a Merman and a white-winged divine horse accompanied me.
A heaviness in the air,
An adventure was on its way.
A mystery to reveal.
I got absorbed in it so fast that I had forgotten to eat.
My mind raced..
Word by word, page by page.
I travelled in my mystical world
while being seated in my tiny unkempt home.
And just like this, everyday
I traverse into my world of fantasy
Away from the pain, fear, anger, brutality and poverty.
I go lands away just by coursing through the page
and I escape my reality.
His warm and loving side disappeared as he let out a monstrous roar. “Go away”, howled the beast and pushed a boulder off the cliff in his frenzy of rage. Now, he was all alone. In his loneliness, he pondered on how his bad side had taken total control of him. He stared blankly into the darkness of his cave and let out a deep sigh. A few minutes later, he noticed a faint light. He turned around to see that his loving caretakers were back but this time with torches of flame in their hands and fear and uncertainty in their eyes. The beast knew that it was his end, so he went back into the cave and sat with his head lowered down. The people approached slowly but hesitantly. They entered the cave and noiselessly placed the torches around the walls of the cave to brighten up the place. They came closer to the beast and sat down beside him. Slowly, they removed honey buns, loaves of bread, and chocolate cakes from their bags. The beast couldn’t understand and looked up at them only to find nothing but worry and love in their eyes. To his questioning look, they replied “We know it’s been a bad day, we left because we wanted to make things better for you. Come now, let us feast on some good food, it will ease your mind”.