Once there was a man I knew who was a little taller, chubbier than the average man. The way he smiles every time had the power to take you to the moon and sad eyes that would bring you back to the earth. You would want to know so very badly what on earth would make such a man like him cry, cry in front of your eyes to say the least. That man had everything in his life you would think, by everything meaning a nice car, a beautiful two bedroom apartment, a cleaner lady who would smile all the time, a cat, a job. All the things all the other men around him would only wish for was what this man owned, except love.
This man had no one to love. Not one single pretty girl would fall for his beautiful smile. Not a girl he has met so far felt anything he had hoped and wished for. Not a soul he could catch, not even a little innocent glance. All he had was these things that he surrounded himself with. He had friends around him, too although he would categorize them into nice, nicer and bad ones. He had friends to whom he could talk to, chat with hours, text with anytime, stay over whenever he wanted to. His friends, however were not his love. He would not consider them as his love at no any level known to men.
He was a loner but an unseen one. He could talk for hours during the day, but he would get lost in his own silence at nights. He could count on so many people in his life, but not on his partner. Simply, because he did not have one. No one wanted to be his. He had for this reason tried alcohol only to punish himself more with the shadow side of it. He had his reason to become an addict but he got addicted to no one, no thing. Nothing was there to remind him that he had come along a long way since he was a little child. No one was there to tell him he got through all the dilemmas of the past. He broke so many chains on his own without being able go have a crown. He was always satisfied with his life. Nevertheless, life always pushed him around.
Now that he was old and lonely, he had decided to change things upside down. Running outside in bare foot has now become his new playground. Donating his best expensive suits had the effect of a shaking ground. He could have been leaving his legacy around before he died but he died in a hospital bed all alone.
I dedicate this to all the hard workers out there who belittle their own emotions to gain wealth.
One wise man once said, “ Take me down to the paradise city where the grass is greener and the girls are pretty.” As you might have guessed, as guessed it right this wise man belonged to the band we all know, Guns And Roses. What a name to choose for your band. Guns that kill, roses that symbolized love. What is the message here besides the ones that is obvious? Can it be, maybe too much drugs? Just joking, smile.
I once dated a boy who taught me life lessons here and there. He was into alcohol, drugs, and himself too much. I watched, I learned. You see I am a person who learns everything because everything happens to us for a reason. Every experience is a new enlightenment, a new footprint in the deepest room of our human hearts where our souls laid down in peace. Back to the boy, back to the lesson taught and learned, which I believe an important one. I have been taught that cocaine takes you out of this planet where you think you are the king until you feel down, at times down on your knees praying for any kind of God beside your bed. Then, were you really the king after all? Do kings pray I wondered at times. Mostly my concern was the loss of touch with reality. He was a king, I did not understand where he came from.
“Talk about life to me.”, he would whisper in my ear as I opened my eyes to a sun shining brand new, hopeful another new day. I would tell him what anyone would tell him, you know. Life is a journey that we all go through with its ups and downs, blues and grays. He would then tell me, “Without white background the black dots would not exist.” At the time I thought he was talking about the polka dot dress that I had worn a couple of times, but in his mind he was whispering in my ear about his take on life. I see now.
I did not see life the way he did back then. I surely agreed on the black points on white canvas or the other way round, pixels, and point screens but there existed other colors to life that I was willing to show him some time, and boy did I not try? From food to sports to music to parks. Once I bought him a ticket to a concert that was special to me, my soul, my little own world. Right before the concert we argued because the night before he went out, did not tell me and was out of control. On top of everything, he lied to me thinking I did not catch his tagged photos of being at a bar, puking in the streets and all. He told me he stayed in, lies. His head spun with the high he got from drugs when I was in my bed high on music that would give me the chills for the next day. Excitement takes over my sleepless nights when there is good music coming into my town. Indulging in a good kind of music softens my stoned heart. It gives a breath to my death soul. However, that night brought me only knowledge about the side that I did not yet know about myself. Chills would go around and round around my head to toes, my whole spine. I had no idea how everything would have turned out. That night, God spoke to me in a very not godly way but through the actions of others, music and by a given glance of new hopes. I had no idea the night before because the boy was high and I was feeling very low.
During the day I had rather been excited for the music that would touch my soul that night. I would rather be in a garden full of blossoming flowers, sunshine in my face, my feet on the grass, and my head in the clouds. I had rather smiled, sung with the birds, and eaten a caramel soufflé with ice cream on top. In reality, I had fought him, refused to see him, and lost my temper at some point screamed at him on the phone while sitting in Washington Square Park. He kept lying about things, adding more things, more lies. The sun was not out for some reason, and it started pouring. My feet got so wet, my mind was destroyed by the sound of the thunder. The garden full of flowers left its dreamy landscape to the thunder and mud. I heard a guy yelling that the thunderstorm was supposed to take place yesterday, not today. Well, my feet were supposed to step on the dry grass today, not yesterday. I was supposed to be happy to take him with me to tonight’s concert, not upset.
His texts really did not sound like him. First he said one thing then, denied himself. He then tried to make an explanation of it only to contradict himself countless times. While this was happening I checked a message on my phone. It was my best friend asking me if I was nervous to go to the concert alone. I could not have been more nervous because I was actually going with him. My blood felt like it did not want to run and swirl in my body at that moment. Hands cold, feet wet, world destroyed I went to the subway station at West 4. He was still trying to make a point of his contradictions with himself by texting me countless text messages. Even he could not justify it all, how could I? He insisted he would be good company to me tonight if I had just believed he never had lied to me. But he did, and he would not be a good company for me that night. When his lies hit the shores of heart, they hit hard with all that crap on the surface. I do not mean to say the drugs, but maybe I actually refer to it. Who knows how my night will end due to him being the highest king of the kings when I just wanted to dance, humanly?
Waiting for my train with its delays to be over, I finally had gotten on it. Luckily, an empty seat winked at me. I winked back, sat down, looked at my phone buzzing with text messages between him and his consciousness. I played my music, connected it to my headphones and closed my eyes for a little while. My eyes hurt from all the rain water. There I walked into a vision of my conscious calling out for me. Following step, my next to do thing was easy; it was as easy as taking the next step yet this time a little closer, quieter.
I walked into the castles of my dreams with filthy walls of his. I walked into a dream in which I was a leaf flying from a grounded tree, he was the hunter who shot the bird on the same tree. I passed by lemon trees smelling citrusy, he sprayed them all with his febreeze to cover the smell. I opened the windows in my castle for fresh air, he locked all the doors, curtains shut. I tried to get out, he tried to hold on. He was the king of my castle. My castle burned in ashes. Ashes became little countless dust pieces, my dreams disappearing, my heart on fire. The smell of flowers turned into the smell of ashes. Every butterfly hid under my bed to become monsters. I held his hand to walk out with me out of the burning castle. He broke my fingers, tossed them in the air, in which I one day disappeared with the ashes of my own castle that was full of dreams, lemon trees and music. Then, there was nothing.
The next song woke me up from my dream. It was somehow a song about love that hurt. Slowly, I put the volume down, looked around and closed my eyes once again. This time, I wanted to take my castle back from him. I could be a warrior if he could be the king. It was mine after all no matter how he denied it. At that moment, my phone rang so loudly that I lost my vision that was in front of my eyes a second ago. I opened my eyes to answer my phone, and ended up ignoring it. He called me a couple of more times by the time I had gotten home. Maybe, I thought I could stay at home, forget about the concert and cry to sleep. Although it sounded really peaceful in my head at the time, a quick thought had changed it all one hundred and eighty. After a long warm shower, a couple of instagram likes, perfume, make up I set for the adventure of my heart’s only desire, music. As it all sounded so good to one’s ears, it fell deaf on his. I called him to explain the situation starting with how much I did not care if he lied, drank, smoked; following I had to tell him that it was my turn to make my choices, which consisted of listening to good music, feel my heartbeat going with the music followed by my feet, dance. I also told him that I did not want to see him there. Overall, what was going through my mind was none of his interests, hobbies nor plans for the night anyways. Though he insisted on coming with me I refused. He said he wanted to come with me to keep me company. He said he wanted to be there to share my happiness. Before I hung up, he said he cared what made me happy even if it was going to a concert he had no interest in going otherwise. Truth is I had realized how I wanted to go without him, alone. I wanted to be where people like me were.
First, my anxiety attack kicked. I called my best friend to help me. After talking on the phone for an hour or so, I walked into a bar where there were people of my kind. They listened to the same songs as we were about to listen to at the concert in an hour or so. I ordered some drinks to help me out. Seeing a friend there helped me the most. I prayed for his existence as I told him that his drinks were on me. He refused, paid for mine too. He then introduced me to some ladies, some guys. For a second, I found myself sitting at the bar checking my phone to see his long angry text messages. A guy walked toward me, asked me what I drank. We had started having a fun conversation before his friends joined us. After they left to say hi to one of their other friends, another guy approached and told me he loved my hair. I tried to tell him how long it took and such until the other guys walked up to me again. He came back to say that he would never come up to me if he were the other guy. After my restless questions of whys and more whys, he explained, “The first time I saw you here looking at your phone, I felt you. I liked you but I knew you would only bring trouble in my life. First, you were hot and beautiful. Then, as we were talking you were funny, smart and intelligent. These are the ingredients to trouble, honey. Have a good night.” The other guy had already left when the first one gulped the last bit of his drink with his words. He too left me at the bar. “Great!”, I thought. “People think I am a trouble here without even doing anything to anyone.” I wondered if he felt the same about me being a trouble because of my visible beauty, intelligence and sense of humor. What a stupid thing to do!
My friend came up to me as I was getting lost in the mist of those melodies the DJ spanned out. He rather wanted me to socialize than sitting alone at the bar. It was a wake up call for me. I was not in charge of anyone’s opinions about me hence, fun times ahead. I met so many new people that night, which was incredible. My happiness did not get ruined by the text messages I received because my phone was in silence and in my back pocket. Somehow, we ended up being a group of people walking to the concert area all together. What followed us was the laughter, music and sweet memories of that night at the bar.
I finally found my happy land to build a new castle for all of us. The girls I was hanging out with were amazing! We had great, high dimensional conversations that would take a man’s breath away, we did not care. Then, the guys joined us to carry that conversation along. We were all collectively wishing good upon all. All it took was one thought, then a step. The hardest was that next step, but once it was taken it laid all the good times ahead of us. As we arrived at the concert area, we all waited for each other at the door. Look at that! I just met these people yet we were all a union of hearts trying not to break, to be broken. Finally, we were in. We held hands, we almost cried as soon as we heard the music. We danced, we circled around the music. We shared our drinks, we laughed. Mostly, we were having one hell of a happy night … until he showed up out of nowhere. He had the nerves to show up at the time when I was happiest! Even after telling him not to go to the concert, even though he did not even know who was playing, even when he had no clue about the genre of the songs, lyrics, feelings, he HAD TO SHOW UP.
If it were the old me, I could have given it up. Since this is the new me, I thought why not choose what you really want. Following my own heartbeat to this situation as well as my favorite music, I did not go to him but stayed with people of my kind- the kind who knew this music was not there to ruin someone’s good time. He left after deciding that I would not show up. I kept singing out and loud, my feet followed, the crowd sang louder. We all danced until the next morning, nonstop.
Long story short, instead of going home with one of the guys I met at the concert, I chose to go to his house that night. I called, he answered. I waited; he came to pick me up from the station. No words were spoken that night. As the silence covered both of us in his bed, he thought about his night at the bar after leaving me alone at the concert, I fell asleep on the thought of how unstoppable my feet can get when there is good music. Night had already left us a pocketful of sunshine for a new day in my opinion, in his opinion he was still the king of my tomorrows.
I had read two different stories by him by the time I started reading Men Without Women. Haruki’s stories always took me back to my teenage years. It should not be a surprise since he writes about his own teenage years in his books though his are called fiction, my past had actually had happened. Who knows maybe his fiction is not very fictitious after all.
I was very excited to be reading Men Without Women at first. Every story left me with suspicion of what was to come. Since I only have spare time on my way to work and home from work, those were the only times I could read my books. Every time my stopped was announced, it felt like the story I was reading at the time was screaming, “Finish reading me!”
Now, for some stories I felt so deep down in my spine, I actually missed my stops. Rather, I had to take the train back to my missed stop, which in the end gave me more time to read while waiting for the next train. I never complained. However, some stories made me ask more questions. The one with the snakes for example. I had a dream about it the night I started reading it. I had the second dream when I finished it. Nights followed days, days turned to nights. I finished the book with that one story on a day that I broke up with him. Men Without Women… What a meaningful word order he put them in, combined, wrote and kept writing. You would think it ends there but it does not. Your spine gets tingly, your hands sweaty and your tongue dry. Like a drug addict, you want to read more of his books.
After finishing the last story, I turned to Youtube and Google for some answers. All I could watch was the comments that degraded the author. They made him look very unprofessional and careless about his writing. I have to admit seeing good comments made me very happy. Not all were letting him degraded like that. On the other hand, every bad comment about him made me more furious. I agree that he uses a lot of ancient metaphors at times. However, these books are translated from Japanese. Can we set aside all the “professional writing structures and rules” and feel what he is actually trying to do? After all, by using simple rules he is getting his stories across to millions of people-in which same process he shoots at the center of the heart. Does it not matter at all? I guess it depends on those teenage years one had, how open one’s heart is and whether one looks for beauty or ugly.