(turn on the song, as you read)
It’s been hectic lately, so much so that introverting becomes a luxury.
No longer listen to songs at 2 volume bars, or cares when something has a scratch on it. Yesterday by the time I reached home, eyes closed shut ready to throw myself on the bed, the single inanimate object that understands me. But then I had to join the birthday party of the 6 year old cousin, who has a Captain America themed party. Little kids were running around making all kind of noises, not bothering with a thing in the world. People were taking photos and selfies. And in the middle of it, I realize how much trapped and tired the soul is in its body.
“My birthday is coming”, said another cousin who is probably in the 5th grade. He was talking to his dad, a bit of yearning in the voice, signaling that thing that says “Hey, this kid has an awesome party, maybe I could have one too?”
Hum, I thought to myself, just say happy birthday to him first wouldn’t hurt, he seems sensitive about it. The little kid did not react much when I wished him happy birthday, he was waiting for his father’s response.
Earth keeps spinning, with or without me… The little kid is probably wondering why his father pays so little attention to him at that moment. I just thought, he will understand, one day, that the world is crazy, and too much has been going on in the adults’ minds, that it deprives them of simple joy, or paying attention to the ones they love, and that life is not easy, and that it beats people up, wears them down, until the wrinkles show, and until they do, it’s time for regrets, and that one day he will see the yearning in his old father’s voice, and then, it’s the son’s turn to forget to pay attention to the one he knows he loves.
I remember the end of “the book thief”, how Death angel comes to the town and dutifully perform his task, and how he sees humans, in their last moments. The mother, the father, Rudy. I love how he described them. The mother with the harsh words, but a gentle heart. The father with his soul lighter than that of a baby.
A few of his wise words:
“It’s always been the same. The excitement and rush to war. I met so many young men over the years who have thought they were running at their enemy, when the truth was, they were running to me.”
“I have seen a great many things. I have attended all the world’s worst disasters, and worked for the greatest of villains. And I’ve seen the greatest wonders. But it’s still like I said it was: no one lives forever”
“In my job, I’m always seeing humans at their best, and their worst. I see their ugliness, and their beauty. And I wonder how the same thing can be both.
When I finally came for Liesel, I took selfish pleasure in the knowledge that she had lived her ninety years so wisely. By then her stories had touched many souls, some of whom I came to know in passing. Max, whose friendship lasted almost as long as Liesel. Almost. In her final thoughts, she saw the long list of lives that merged with hers. Her three children, her grandchildren, her husband. Among them, lit like lanterns, were Hans and Rosa, her brother, and the boy whose hair remained the color of lemons forever.
I wanted to tell the book thief she was one of the few souls that made me wonder what it was to live. But in the end there were no words. Only peace. The only truth I truly know is that I am haunted by humans”
Spring comes, and winter ends. Life, and death. Night and day. Illusion of time. All of this captures the attention, momentarily. That’s the whole point. We are so busy living that we forget, most of the time, what is waiting ahead of us. The thought of it shouldn’t scare you, one bit.