Thursday, 9 February 2012

Our Flames of Fears

              Some days are brilliant and some bad and half of them just whirl away into the future without knowing how to get what we want to. None of us know how to get it without any efforts and just with empty hands. Something cannot be made from nothingness right?  But for Meryl it wasn’t so...or so she thought. Ever since she was little, she dreamed of becoming the best author on the planet of earth. She had soaring dreams of signing her books, seeing her names in the papers and everything. Although her parents never wanted to see their daughter’s dream turn autumn and wither away, they couldn’t support her beyond school. By then, Meryl’s dream was already fading and she accepted that for life will be confined to this little island they lived on and nothing beyond that. She worked as a librarian in the Coral Isle Library and watched the townsfolk stroll in and stroll out. There. Anyone would’ve said that life was settled for her. Unfortunately, Meryl wasn’t the one to stop with such a simple lifestyle.
                In the days, she would sit behind the oak desk all day, helping the people find their bookshelves …bookshelves where she imagined seeing her book as well. She would gather some of her favorites, read them and sigh happily as the clock did its work. Then dusk would fall and she’d lock up the library and head home, a dark figure along the seashore. Meryl imagined all kinds of things, but she just couldn’t frame them into a story with a ‘beginning, middle and end’. People loved the way her mind worked, but she couldn’t make sense of what she thought. Bottom line was…she couldn’t write. But there was a dark secret she held inside. She could go into books. . All she had to do was pick a page, press her forefinger firmly into it and wish to be there. To actually get into the pages and interact with the characters at different points of the story and to see what their true emotions are. She found their thoughts to be more rational than her own and so she snuck off into the library, one glowing oil lantern in her hand and bare footed to embark on her magical journey. Hard as she could try, she’d remember the conversations and try to piece them together secretly in her cozy room only to end up with paper piles of insignificance. ‘Face it Meryl… You just cannot write’ she’d tell herself with the first rays of the next day. And that was how thirteen year old Meryl just shed her hopes and rolled out five years in inferiority.
                Then one day, something magical occurred. From the books that she gathered to put back on the shelf, one was strangely intriguing. It seemed to be the story of her life. Of a young aspiring author who was stuck on an island…who couldn’t write. And it was so weird that everything she had done was accounted for in it.  She shut the book hastily with the sound of the clock chimes reminding her that it was time to go home. But at night, she tossed and turned unable to control her anxiety. What if that book was meant for her? If it was so, her dreams could be instantly fulfilled. She just had to read through it; no she just had to turn the page and maybe even see how her life would end. She wore her robe, lit her lantern and sprinted away into the darkness.
 Halfway there, the air around her simmered and the sound of crackling wood brought a scary thought. As rushed further, the sight of the flames brought her fears to life. She paused just for a moment to rethink her shifting thoughts. And she leapt into a broken window and scampered through the smoky hall to her desk where she had last left it.  And there in the middle of all the things that were happening around her, she could only feel her dreams and hopes get crushed with the look of the burnt book.  Nevertheless, she picked it up and flipped the charred pages slowly. Some of the writing was there, she realized, when she read the paragraph of the library burning. Her eyes grazed line by line until the line where the character held a burnt book in her hands. Now it was time to flip the page and see what would happen to her next. She took a deep breath, closed her eyes and turned the page.
                She opened them slowly and they revealed…a blank page. The story didn’t end there… it was merely blank till the last page of the book. ‘What does it mean?’ she thought fervently amongst the cries of the townsfolk outside dousing the fire. Blank, nothingness, fresh, unwritten. And then it dawned upon her. She was a character in her own book! The book had only what she had done. If no actions…then no words, the reality hit her hard. She realized that she can’t look into a book to know how to live her life. No one can teach that. And if she just waited for a solution? She turned the pages and the book ended. Her life would end as well. A few moments passed, and Meryl was lost in thought as the library doors broke and in rushed the firemen. ‘I am an author after all’ she said to them smiling with smudged charcoal all over her. ‘And I know just how to end this book’. 

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