sometimes, we search for the wrong things in this life, i guess. we read the signs incorrectly. we get lost, trying to find a way back to what life was like when we thought we had it figured out. trying to get back to normal.
and if we’re impossibly lucky, there’s an instant, when it just all falls into place, again.
bushwhacking my way out through the noisy, steaming crowd of music people, i got a text from lydia, who had escaped the crush early and waited for me to follow. but her track had overgrown with wet limbs and closed so quickly that i had to dig my own. such a buzzkill.
finally, i got out. a mild summer breeze naturally found its way into my lungs, cooling off my heart and mind, immediately. it was a beautiful view that i had from the doorstep. right before sunrise, the skies began to light up around the edges, from pitch-black to a full, dark blue and then on to softer shades. across the street, around chained chairs and tables, the lyric people were sitting, caught up in deep conversations, and among them curled-up lydia, with a bottle of cheap beer to her feet, looking around, taking it all in.
there was one thing i never ceased to notice; melancholy seemed to always linger with the most honest of people, like a cloud of poisonous gas, veiling their view, drawing a curtain and demanding for more, until it destroyed them.
i took one slow step towards that group of lost silhouettes, but someone grabbed my arm and pulled me back, raising their drink, screaming nonsense at me. seconds later, they let me go, again – grabbing someone else and shouting in someone else’s face, perhaps. people held on to me like that, sometimes.
this madness wasn’t my place, though – not since i had met lydia. our eyes locked and together with the atmosphere, her face lit up, as well. so i walked across the cobblestones to the lyric people, silently poured a drink and sat down next to my smiling center of origin.
she murmured something and raised her nearly empty bottle a bit, not noticing my confusion. my ears had not yet adjusted to the silence, so i didn’t quite understand, but i raised my cup as well and clinked it at the thick brown glass. she then contently put it to her lips and drank a sip, and i did the same.
“you know”, she began after a while, pointing at the door across the street, “i used to like it in there.” a moment passed – a blink of an eye to me, but a painful eternity to her. “it feels strange, now. like i don’t belong, anymore.”
i babbled something in response, amazed at my drunken slur, but she went on. “or like they don’t let me belong.” suddenly terrified, she turned to me, “they don’t, do they?”
while i stood up and walked away to get another drink for her, i thought about what lydia had said. i had never really felt like i belonged. i wondered what it was like, to enjoy drowning between live bodies, giving in to the flood of sensations, forgetting who i was and where everyone believed my place to be.
“i want to be like them” she erupted, with a trembling voice, when i returned.
“but you’re not.”
“i could try.” she squinted her eyes that followed a lonely silhouette vanish into the steamy morning light.
“you shouldn’t have to.” i said and she let go of the figure, turned her head.
“is that supposed to be a compliment?”
but i just smiled and kissed her forehead.
the horizon turned a pale orange, and lydia held on to me, now. half asleep, she asked me what was on my mind.
“people prefer ‘normal’, i suppose. they just like to sort other people in categories. they admire others who seem to fit in molds so perfectly. i can’t blame them. the world looks much more neat and tidy with everything cleaned up and all the drawers labeled. it gives this life an air of structure and reason, of right and wrong. but it’s really just a big, tangled up mess and we’re not the ones to try to make sense of it.”
“it sure is messy”, lydia sighed and pulled her legs a little closer.
and then – quietly – she began to sing: “islands in the stream, that is what we are. no one in-between, how can we be wrong?”
i smiled. “we can’t.” some believe they are, but they shouldn’t have to think so.
lydia giggled, put her bottle on the sidewalk, turned to me and took my hand, smiling under blushing skies. “i promise you: tomorrow, i will tell my parents.”