Monday, September 27, 2010

Moral of the Story

It was a dark and stormy night. The wind was blowing angrily, the skies were tossing and turning, and the sun had long since escaped behind the horizon now hidden by the tumult of clouds fighting in the heavens. It was a dark and stormy night, and the little dove was struggling against the winds, trying to find her way home.

She didn't even notice when the winds had picked up, when the light had started dimming. She had been soaring up there on the thermals, higher than she had ever been before. Higher than she was actually allowed to go. How could a bird not strive to the highest of it's ability. To fly, to soar up there above the world, almost touching the heavens, to rise and rise above everything else pulling down. How could she not let go of it all, and fly. Fly, and feel the wind through her feathers, the warmth of the sunshine on her face. Just fly, and feel the freedom, the peace of being up there in the clouds, of being there of her own will and ability, without any expectations of what she had to do, of what she should do. There was no other glory as that of being up there alone. Alone.

Alone was something she was used to. Is used to. But it was something different to be alone on one's own choice, than be subjected to loneliness by those around her. And that stubborn rebellious side of her within always strived to make her own choices.

And now here she was, caught out in the middle of the worst storm she'd seen in her life. She couldn't blame anyone else but herself. This she knew. If there was any way out of this storm she had only herself to rely on.

Then a gust of wind slammed into her body, and she felt the ache in her muscles, from flying all day. She knew she had to keep up her will, because the minute she let her guard down, she would surely plummet, or be taken away with the wind to whatever end it met.

In the darkness, the rain suddenly belted down, whipping her, beak to tail. It stung her eyes, it pierced through her feathers, and the rain washed back out of her eyes. Blinking, she couldn't tell what was the rain, and what was her own tears. She couldn't keep it up. Her muscles sagged in exhaustion, and she closed her eyes as she decided to try to descend to whatever destination lay below.

As she felt the decline in altitude, she opened her eyes, and there in front of her was light!

Light, light, it was actually light. She said a prayer of thanks, as the relief surged through her body. She steadied herself with determination and flew towards it.

Somehow in the darkness, she alit on a windowsill, within which was a candle alit with a single flame. As it flickered in the darkness, the dove became entranced by the dance of its shadows and light. There wasn't anyone else but her and the flame.

The dove felt a strange feeling overcome her as she imagined how she would have had come out of that storm without this flame. She raised her wing and touched the glass separating her from the flame. The flame stopped flickering and stilled. The dove bowed her head down, and whispered a thank you to it, and it flickered once, then became still.

As the wind howled, and the storm continued, the dove could not make herself leave. Before she knew it, she had fallen asleep there with the flame before her.

In the days that followed, the dove would join her flock and fly with them, then leave them as twilight neared, soaring each night to the windowsill to meet the flame. Sometimes the flame would dance and make her laugh. Sometimes it just listened without blinking. Sometimes they just sat there companiably in silence, enjoying the stars and moon, listening to the music of the wind. Each night the dove would fall asleep on the windowsill and arise before dawn, heading back to her roost.

One night as the dove was soaring through the evening sky on her way to the windowsill as usual, she felt a curious feeling- of happiness, but of confusion, and she didn't know what it was. As she didn't know, she decided maybe the flame would know, he seemed to know everything, just from sitting there quietly.

As she landed on the windowsill, she smiled to herself, looking forward to the evening together. The flame flickered in welcome, and smiled back to her. Curiously, she asked "Are you alit all the time? How come?".

The flame grew still, and said, "As long as you are there to see me, I am."

The dove was touched, and she didn't know how to convey her feelings. Then, she noticed that the window was a bit open. She put her wing to it and it opened more. She walked through, and came closer to the candle than she had ever been. She paused, and whispered, "I hope you know that you mean a lot to me."

The flame grew stiller yet, she paused, and asked, "You do know that, right?". There was no response, and the dove's heart thudded. Maybe she had been mistaken all along. "Say something won't you?"

As the flame stayed still, the dove approached closer. Mesmerized as she always was by the intensity of the flame, she held her breath. Still yet, the flame kept silent. The dove felt a horrible feeling inside her, something she never had felt before, and did not know what it was; whatever it was, it did not feel good- was that pain?

A tear dropped from her eye and she brushed it away in her feathers. She turned to go, as the flame still remained still, then turned back once more. She raised her wing and reached to the flame. It flickered once, away from her, and she stopped for a moment, once again entranced by the magic his light had on her, then she made up her mind and caressed the flame with the tip of her wing.

The feathers caught aflame, and the dove pulled back quickly, burnt. The flame tilted low once, and before she knew what was happening, the flame went out.

The dove stayed there all night. Waiting, hoping, that it would somehow come back. When the darkness did not change, she sadly flew out the window.

Everyday, the dove would sit on the tree outside the window. And, everynight, there was no light. Days passed, weeks passed. She hardly ate, she hardly slept. The dove tried playing with other doves, she tried flying again, but nothing cured the hurt within.

Eventually, the dove had taken to living in the tree outside the window, but would leave it each morning to go out into the world, and come back late at night, tired from the long day.

One night, she returned home, and saw a light gleaming in the window. Her heartbeat froze for the smallest fraction of a second. Everything in her ached to go see beyond the curtains of the window, but she instead flew into the tree, and slept.

She continued to live so, returning each night with the light there, so near, but still so far. At first, the flame stayed low, and still, as if hiding from itself. Eventually, it grew brighter.

Until one evening, there was a tap on the windowpane, and there the dove was, looking at her friend, the flame. At first the flame remained quiet, as if not knowing what to say. Then the dove just smiled, and he smiled back.

Their friendship grew again, each night filled with that same companionship. The dove brought back stories of her day filled with adventures in the skies. Not once did they mention that night the dove's heart broke.

Then one day, the flame had to know. He thought about what they shared and decided they had to clear it out, or else the friendship would be still false. The more he thought about it all day, the sooner he wished the dove would come. Evening approached, and she did not come. Night approached, she did not come. He waited all the hours of the night, and still she did not come.

Morning dawned, and the flame was low on its wick. He missed the dove. He missed her terribly.

There was a flutter of wings on the windowsill, and there she came. She greeted him with a big smile and apologized. The flame decided things were just better without mentioning everything else, and listened to her story of the day before.

The dove went back to her tree that night, and noticed the flame flickering goodnight. She smiled to herself, a little bit sadly, then shook out her feathers, and tried to sleep.

The next night, the flame brought up the topic, "Tell me O dove why you come here each night?".

The dove smiled, "I told you this many moons ago, and I suffered, why shall I tell you again?"

"This time I promise I shall not burn you, come within, and tell me again."

"If you need to ask, then once is enough, once will always be enough. I won't be able to take it a second time."

"I promise, I will not burn."

"Then you do not understand. The pain I suffered was not that you burnt me, it was that I lost you.."                    

3 comments:

  1. This story is amazing, my words aren't enough to describe it!

    The only word in my mind at this very moment is..

    Dove :)

    ReplyDelete