"In a far away land in east, the land surrounded by the tallest mountains in the world
, long-long time ago; time when leprechaun
s and goblin
s roamed around freely, when it rained in response to some specially crafted songs; times when the world was a painting
, full of color and beauty, lived a pixie
by the name of Onaesia. I've never seen her for reasons very obvious, but I'm told that she had hair made of pure silk
; purest silk ever", said the traveler who told me of her by the Pacific Ocean
across from Route 1 this one evening while waiting for the sun to set.
"And her wings were the whitest shade of white possible; her voice could stop even the Time itself to wait and listen. And she would burst into songs at times, the songs of love and happiness, and songs of beauty of Earth, and every time she sang, the spring would come, the flowers bloomed and clouds came over as if to listen and cold breeze started flowing as if dancing to her song; and because these are the times when there were no calendars and no one cared about weather cycles too much, no one missed if Summer got shortened to just a week or two or if Winters never came for years altogether. The seasons, weather, and time, all revolved around her mood."
This traveler telling me of Onaesia was an old tired man who looked at sunset with very heavy eyes, the kind of eyes either men with very deep wisdom or men who are heavily drunk have. He talked in a language alien to me and after every sentence paused to translate it in English for me. At times it felt like he's talking only to him selves, when he would keep talking sentences without pausing to translate for me; I asked him why he wouldn't speak all in English because there's only me who's listening; he paused for a moment, looked up at me with his tired eyes and said, "No chief, you're not alone, I'm also listening".
"So this one time on a summer day, Onaesia was daydreaming of her sisters and friends she had left behind in her fairyland. There was Melonia, her younger sister with blue eyes and yellow wings and Kaila, her oldest and closest friend with the friendliest smile possible. And there was tRissio, her love; the warmest soul in the world. The most freedom she'd ever experienced was when she was with him. His confidence gave her the confidence in herself, and his smile gave her assurance that all is well with the world and happy days are here forever. She missed all her loved ones terribly. That day it rained, and it rained very heavily."
"Why was she not with her loved ones", I asked him, this bearded bespectacled anonymous story teller, "what was she doing on earth away from her family?"
He looked at me with such disbelief that it made me sorry I interrupted. "Use your imagination chief", he said after a dense silence, "There could be a million things which could've led to it you know...who knows, she was on vacation probably; or was serving some request by her father, the king of the universe, to look after some things on earth ... or ... or maybe she was cursed for some folly of hers to spend some time away from her family; you know how these things work don't you?"
I didn't; but I decided it is better to keep quiet and keep listening.
"So she decided to send her lover a message, her voice; a whisper. So fragile, you would need to close your eyes and hold your breath to listen. A whispered message to her love to tell him how much she missed him. It means a lot you know, when you are away from you loved ones, sound; a love filled whisper. These are the times before papers, pens or telephones or any such thing was available; so she started to think how she could send the message across. All she wanted to send across were a few feather light words; she finally got the idea and took a box, a wooden box hand crafted by the finest craftsmen in Italy and ..."
"So the wooden crafts were developed in Italy by this time?" I asked and regretted immediately.
"You are not much of a listener are you?" he said without looking at me and chuckled this time, "Okay, let's say it was handcrafted by a craftsmen on fairyland and she had brought it with her while coming to earth". I still had some doubts about the box but I had got his point by now. It's no lesson in history he is talking about; a lesson in life then(?), maybe not a lesson at all.
"She opened the box and whispered her lover a message in the box and closed it tight before her whisper could escape. Her message was saved and was ready to be sent." He stopped and looked at me, expecting an objection and a question, but I was not asking anything anymore. I just smiled at him and asked, "And what happened next?"
This made my friend very happy, his eyes lightened up and he chuckled for a second, looked back at the dark orange sky and then started talking again, "So she took this box and waited for the night. When night arrived, she wished on a falling star at north of the sky to take this box to tRissio, her true lover.
"She slept, and when she woke up in the morning, the box was gone. Gone to her lover. He would have listened to her message by now, several times maybe. She spent the rest of the day imagining his reaction. What would he do on getting the message? Would he know it's a message from her? Would he cry on hearing it? Would he be sad? And Happy? Its' a funny thing, 'Love', you know ... it makes you happy and sad at the same time very often."
After this my friend went quiet and started looking at the sunset that had started already, the base of sun was touching the ocean. In another minute the tip would be drowned too. He kept looking at it with devotion. Although I was curious about what would happen next, I didn't feel right to disturb him.
"We in the West can never see the sunrise", he said after a brief silence after the sun went under the sea, "Ours is to but see the sunset. Those folks in New York can't see the sunset. They can, but of course, see the sunrise ... not that they care for either. I once knew a shopkeeper from Manhattan, he didn't even know that sun rises and sets every day ", he said and chuckled. He had made a joke. I smiled.
"What about Onaesia?" I asked, "What happened to her? And her sadness? That message in the box?"
He didn't seem to have listened to me, my friend with a story to tell. He kept looking at the post sunset sky without saying anything for some time.
"Have you ever known anyone with speaking and hearing disability?" he asked me. "They are taught special language to talk with, the sign language or something, their hands are their tongue, and their eyes are their ears. They hear from their eyes."
"No. I've never known anyone with such disability", I replied and added "... I really should head back home now. Could you tell me the rest of story? I'd like to hear end of it."
"In the world of people who talk with hands and listen with their eyes, I'm the deaf and dumb one." He said.
Then he looked back at me like he doesn't know who I am or what I'm talking about. After a few seconds of silence he started speaking again.
"Our Onaesia sat before the giant ocean, the ocean of east, where you can't see the sunset and well, Onaesia got very sad. Her sadness started spreading like ink in water; thick, dense and dark sadness. The sadness kept getting soaked in the sand of the beach, the water of the ocean, the life on earth started getting sad.
"And the sadness of Onaesia traveled, like Sun does and the eastern winds do, from east to west. It traveled. At times hidden in the box like the whisper of love Onaesia had sent to her lover; flowing like waves of ocean other times", he fell silent again for a moment, my old anonymous friend; this story teller by the pacific sunset, and started to look at the ocean waves getting a little wilder now.
"Like questions they come to me, these waves", he says. "Like questions seeking answers so desperately, they have tears in their throat. And I sit here for hours answering them; some questions I answer raise more questions. One day I fear, a question with no answer will swell up from this ocean and drown me."
I decided to interrupt before it was too late. "And what about Onaesia?"
"What about her?" he asked as if he doesn't know what I'm talking about. "What do you think happened chief? Take a guess."
"I don't know...what happened?", I asked.
"And how do you suppose would I know?" he said and started looking at me with questioning eyes.
I didn't know if I should answer that or take it as a joke. So I just quietly waited for him to start again.
"The sadness of Onaesia traveled crossing the deserts, climbing the pyramids in the way to look at the distance to see where they're going; its like looking into the future by riding on the memories of the past if you think about it." He started again in his typical fashion.
"And it came down to rest in the west with the sun, riding on its rays. There's no where this sadness can escape from here. West was its final destination and sunset its vehicle. And every time I look at the sunset chief, this is what I see - the sadness, the concentrated thick and dense sadness spreading around me and then it goes to sleep.
"This is what you see chief and everyone else does, the sadness of Onaesia. I don't know what happened to her or if she went back to fairyland or died here on earth. I have no clue; but I know what happened to her sadness and now you do too", he stopped and started looking at me again.
I got up and dusted my jeans. "You know", I couldn't help tell him, "For this ending, the story could've been much shorter and simpler"
"Would you care then?", he asked, "Would you remember?"