Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Have you ever?

He was walking down the street, in a pensive mood, pondering a line from a song he had heard while passing the open doors of a department store, its melody drifting through the air like smoke from a cigarette, until it finally dissolved into the surrounding bustle of the city. Cars were spluttering, sirens were screaming and thousands of people tramped on the concrete, like a squadron of ants marching to their anthill. The resulting noise was a chaotic cacophony, a composition that never took shape, a tune that was eternally tuneless.

He hated the city. It was not just the noise - he had become accustomed to that after a while. It was the whole atmosphere of the place or, to be more precise, the lack of it that he detested. It was dark and depressing, as if it was enveloped permanently in the shadow of some great unknown. The buildings towered over him as if he was being constantly stalked or observed. The streets were cold and comfortless, filled with people who were impersonal and aloof. He felt claustrophobic being hemmed in on all sides by concrete.

He disliked the underground too: so many people sitting next to one another, people with potentially exciting characters and yet always choosing to conceal their interior from the outside world like drawn venetian blinds in a window. The mood struck him as morose, akin to sitting at a funeral, everyone avoiding each other’s eyes and anxious to suppress any exuberant emotions. Instead, all played the part of silent bystanders, respectful of  those no longer amongst them.

In the city, people were mourning the very absence of soul.

Family, friends and all those who held him dear, we are gathered here today to pay our last respects to The Soul of the City. His passing has robbed us of a much-loved character who can never be replaced. He will be sorely missed by all...

Have you ever been to a place where there’s no love inside?

He certainly had, he was there right now. But despite his revulsion for the Great Gloom (as he called the city) he never thought about leaving. He had been here so long, ever since the day he was enticed in its direction, then ensnared by it, bound to the city like man to fate.

It hadn’t always been this way, he sorrowfully reminisced. He thought back to the time before Here and Now, before he had lost his soul to the Great Gloom. He liked to refer to that time as the Light. In the Light he had known happiness, fulfillment, an oasis of bliss. It seemed like an idyllic Golden Age, a Garden of Eden, the likes of which many could but dream of.

He couldn’t bear to think long about the Light however, and before long nostalgia would tend to be replaced by an oppressive melancholy, which effectively blotted out any last hint of sunshine in his spirit.

Heavy-heartedly he resigned himself to a future as a prisoner of darkness, stuck in his misery like a mouse running endlessly in a tread-mill, whose only choice is to plod on and on. All he longed for was one trivial but unobtainable pleasure: the rosy-fingered touch of the Light on his body and soul.   

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