|Picture taken from Google images|
♫ Crickets humming set a tune
Under sleeping stars I sing for you ♫
The rusty hinges of the gate creaked as Noah opened it cautiously and stepped outside. He padded on the crunchy gravel carefully till he reached the soft dirt road that diverted from the main path into the fields. Sneaking away from the house each night was a terrible risk, but it was a risk he was willing to take every single night of his life.
His constricted chest loosened as the shining death light of his front porch dimmed into oblivion.His feet found a new rhythm to walk on, flicking off the dust and ashes of a life that was choking him incessantly.
♫ Walking on dirt that seems so green
Flicking ashes off my toes so clean ♫
He let his mind drift away in different directions; his fingers absentmindedly nursing a new bruise on his arm. It was the same story everyday- middle school, high school… people were so wrong when they say that things change. For Noah, they never did. Every chapter of his life was just an extension of the previous one.
The underdog always remains the underdog, except that the ‘underdogs’ in his ‘school’ were treated differently. There was no use resisting; it took him 7 fractured bones to learn that lesson and there was no use complaining; things always got worse.
He tried not to brood on how wretched his life was- it was just an unnecessary exercise to his tear glands. But it wasn’t like this always, thought Noah; it wasn’t like this when his mom was still with him.
♫ A piece of my heart, it broke with you
These stars I talk with, they know it too ♫
Fairy lights. Magic chants. Doors that looked like walls. Walls that looked like doors. Colors splashed on every free surface of their tiny home, sheets of music lying everywhere. And his mother’s lilting soprano voice issuing now and then from behind bookshelves and underneath beds. Noah learnt the 7 notes of music even before he could say ‘mama’ and that, his mother claimed, had been the best moment of her life.
Living with his mother meant giving a free reign to his imagination- almost every normal thing in his life was defined at a macro level as something more imaginative, more interesting. He battled with monsters every morning he woke up, saved hundreds of drowning lives in his bath tub, harbored thousands of homeless creatures on his bed and created millions of forests, tarantulas and green ogres in his tiny flower bed. Night meant wild, high sprung stories with his mother ; nights which knew no boundaries to what they thought, what they said.
♫ Is it a tree that’s shaking,
Or a monster awaken?
From it good old rumbling sleep
Is it a firework going,
Or bombs exploding?
Waging war like my head and me. ♫
Noah’s blissful life ended the day he turned 10 and his mother lost the battle she was fighting with her life. “Don’t sing” the doctor had said. “I’d rather die” had been his mother’s reply and that’s what she did- Lost her life rather than losing her voice. But then, her voice was her life.
A father he didn’t know of took his custody and in one shattering moment, his life changed. School was shifted, town was shifted, house was shifted and to that day he had never been able to call that dull cream colored building his home.
The abuse and bullying at house and school alike wasn’t enough to dampen his spirits, but what did break his heart entirely was when his guitar was broken and thrown in the attic.
Life changed after that. Changed in frightening, disturbing ways and every day he buried deeper within himself in a place where nothing could hurt him anymore.
♫ It feels so good inside my head
A place to escape when I am on my bed ♫
The fairy lights had fused out from his life that was taken away from him in two quick strokes of fate. He could no longer be the superman, hoping that his troubles would end some day; 7 years of pretense had exhausted his imagination.
♫ It feels so good inside my world
Where pain and anger is almost null ♫
His fingers ached to strum the strings of his guitar again, his ears longed for the voice that sang him to sleep in all its pain, his heart ached to stop the pretense for once and for all and just be himself… just be himself. Why was that so hard?
♫ So I just walk, walk, walk away
Shedding the crumbs of my life on my way ♫
He walked till he reached a broken wall and stepped over the loose stones, pausing till he heard a panting sound join him.
“Hey there Jeff,” he said, bending down and ruffling the dog’s ears. “Sorry, but no biscuit for you today. Didn’t get dinner myself” The dog whined and licked his face, as if comforting him for both their hunger.
Noah walked briskly to the place he was seeking and slid down beside the grey stone with a sigh.
“Her voice was her life… and her death alike”
Noah stared at it for a long moment before he dusted the loose earth beside her grave in quick, practiced movements. His fingers worked in a frenzy, as if they were searching for life in those cold, unmoving depths and every nerve in his body jangled alive as his hands found a long object wrapped in a dirty cloth.
The guitar he had rescued from their old, rambling home came out like his personal angel in the chilly night and as his bruised fingers found the blessed strings of his life, every pain, every anguish of the world he was forced into peeled away from his soul. In every note of his guitar that rang out that night, his heart started beating for the first time that day; in the breeze of his voice mingling in harmony with the tune, he started breathing for the first time that day and in every word his heart wrote for his lips to sing, he started living… for the first time that day…
♫ So I just walk, walk, walk away
Away from life, towards my truth
Under this sleeping night as I sing for you ♫