Five years ago he probably would have answered that question with a quick arrogant remark. Today, he’d probably look above, to a starry sky and wonder, just wonder about the whys and ifs of his life.
By then he was a lost soul, meandering through life with an empty sense of self, lacking goals, lacking pride and meaning within his existence. The best thing he is able to say about those days is that he grew up to be one of the best pool players in town. He was neither a successful student, nor a successful man. He had no job, no woman to love and be loved by, no glittering string of pearly lights to mark his path. He was lost and alone, but he wasn’t aware enough to be afraid.
The last few months of that year would change his grasp of reality forever.
It came to him as a shock to learn that his father had cancer, having only a few months to live. What was asked of our young man then was something he didn’t know he could do, he still wouldn’t know it if it happened all over again; his father’s suffering, much more than his death, marked the end of his innocence. The world, his life, his friends, everything lost its sparkle, the shining sun was nothing but a dirty lamp post in a shadowy alley, and the stars mere dust particles upon a black board. His life became a violent current of thoughts, questions, doubts and regrets. And fear was his companion.
The simple things that he had always taken for granted became shadows of a future he dared not contemplate; instead, he turned to the past to feed his senses with glimmers of hopes and dreams; tainted as they were, they nourished his plagued mind into survival.
As usually happens in these chronicles, he met a woman, different from all the spectral shapes that roamed his reality. Her green eyes shone through darkness, fuelling the pale sun and the colourless stars back to life. The sleeper had awoken from the nightmare of a lingering tragedy, into a world of possibilities, pride, goals and love, all hand-in-hand in a joyful merry-go-round of smiles.
He embarked on a new adventure of the mind. He travelled far and wide, both inside and outside his soul. He saw the world, he met new people, new smiles, new dreamers, he felt new feelings and learned much that was simple but truly enjoyable. Yet, each time he returned to where it had all happened, a dark aura seemed to take him over, bringing him back to the days of sorrow he had experienced.
Eventually, the sadness caught up with him; he grew more and more disturbed, losing his equilibrium and self-control. He had difficulty in seeing the beauty around him; the pureness of friendship and altruism became alien to him; and finally, wrapped in that downward spiral, he collapsed into the darkness that he had fought so hard to escape. He lost everything. His dreams crumbled like a house of cards, the fear of life returned to its former enormity, and love, his love, her love, were lost.
Today he is but a wreck amidst the pale ocean of humanity. He can often be seen roving through life, looking up to a starry sky and wondering, just wondering about the whys and ifs of his life.