As far as my eyes could see, my heart leaped with concealed merriness upon the sight of my small house at the corner of the bare land, barren with emptiness and laid thick with barely strained and heavy emotion that slit right through my soul.
I was happy. Glad to be back. But my body ached to run away from here. Home was not an abode of warmth for me. Home was where my father had died of cancer. Home was where my brother had died of an unknown disease. Home was where my depressed mother stayed, with all happiness oozed and forced out of her body achingly.
And so, I’d decided to run away, build a better life for myself and mint as much money as I could.
But now when life felt better, I’d come back to bring my mother along with me, so that she could see how much I’d achieved and also live a better life.
I trudged slightly while walking up there. I glanced up at the sky. Flocks of birds shaped like swans of a turquoise lake flew mightily above me and not a worry had the power to touch their flimsy souls. The inner wedge of the sky spiraled shamelessly out of control, the hues that of a carnivorous flower after the first rain in a long period, and the pairs of spots of white where the birds had buckshot the clouds, filtered in the afternoon sun rays, representing heterochromatic eyes that had opened after being closed for an eternity.
I kept walking, secretly hoping it would rain. Rains always felt like God opening his vial of purity to pour upon the world when the air felt distressed. I knocked upon the crusty brown door, taking a huge gulp of nervousness as my feet drew circles of anxiety on the moist mud below. The air held a soft fragrance of eucalyptus and lavender with a hint of honey. The warmth was suffusing in slowly, trying to expand its place into my conscience. Something felt reassuring.
My mother opened the door and quietly let me in. I’d told her about my visit and she didn’t seem too thrilled.
I sat on the dusty divan, looking around. The damask of spruce hue had faded long since and the bare walls were adorned with silver embellishments that looked worn out. The smell of cookies filled the moat of quietude and I found myself smiling at my mother. She tried to smile too, but as she felt her lips wobble into one, she turned around and walked into the kitchen. I followed her.
“What brings you to Londonderry?” she asked quietly.
“I’ve come to bring you with me. Let’s leave. Please.”
My mother swung around “NO! This is my homeland and-”
“Mother please!” I begged, my knuckles turning white “can you please just listen to me?” “I will not.”
She came nearer, her breath hot on my chest “did you ever listen to me? Especially when I had begged for you to stay?”
Her eyes were laced with ire. How had I never noticed that she had cerulean hued eyes? How had I never noticed that each speck of it was much brighter than the previous one? How had I never noticed that there were minute fine lines in the iris that shimmered when she looked up?
“Emma” she quivered “I have waited. For years. I thought that you would never leave me. But god, was I wrong.”
“I never left you!” I shouted “I was in desperate search of a good life!”
My mother gaped at me and slumped her shoulders. Her face had grown smaller and the grayness in her hair reminded me how much time had passed.
The air suddenly felt hot and heavy. I gulped and walked right out of the front door.
I walked over to the lake nearby and stared at the crystal water. I had fond memories of playing in It with my brother. We’d dunk and hold our breaths and compete to see who’d hold their’s longer. And he would always win. And I could remember that our father would time us while our mother would laugh from far off. Life was good. It was happening and beautiful. Everyday felt like heaven opening up its arms to envelope us in its goodness of peace. We were poor but wealthier in terms of happiness.
Suddenly my heart grew heavy and I felt my tears arrest my eyes.
I sniffled and looked behind me. My mother had a tray of cookies in her arms and she offered me one.
I took it and bit into it. Heaven.
“Are you crying?” she asked me.
I nodded “I miss those happy times.”
“Me too” she said and clutched the tray closer to her stomach “I just hope your father and brother are happy now.”
“I remember that father loved talking” I grinned “he’d always have a lecture ready on philosophy. Lecturing would bring a wide smile onto his face-”
“Emma!” my mother laughed around “what was that one lecture of his on souls?” I laughed aloud too. Father had a theory on the human soul.
“Would..you like to re-act that with me” she asked, the desperation to make everything alright evident in her eyes.
I nodded gratefully. I had the ability to mimic father excellently. I toughened my voice and straightened my shoulders, getting into his character “I believe that it is said that the human soul is a fusion of all the feelings one feels throughout their life. It can be sadness, happiness, jealousy but emotions are just an element of the human soul. Because the soul also comprises of the secrets of the universe that unravels after the human dies. The soul which is trapped in the body is set free. And then the soul explores the universe, understands it, comprehends it in a way a normal
human never can. We are so tightly bound to this world, to our bodies that it is impossible to explore everything before we die. But our souls are so light and so free that they are always wandering off to different places, mostly after our death and they are in proper synchronization with other souls. I believe that after a human dies, their soul is set free to wander off. The energy is released and soon, very soon, all secrets unbeknown to the human mind are known to the soul."
I saw tears in my mother’s eyes “that reminds me of him, so much..But you know what, I always wondered that all those people who've died, their souls must all be still alive."
"Probably. But what if those souls die too?"
“Wait a minute. You claim that a human dies and then a time comes where the soul dies too?" "I am not claiming anything. It's merely a doubt."
"What if Emma, we treat the souls less like an entity and more like energy?" "Sounds good. But what about the part about 'after death'?"
"Let's assume, a person dies. The soul bearing all incomplete aspirations and feelings- probably a million, is set free. The soul wanders and wanders for years or decades, fulfilling dreams and hopes. But then after a point it gets tired. It stops and finally dissolves into nothingness."
"But what is nothingness? A soul can't simply just dissolve like that."
"What if the weight of all those dreams is simply holding up the soul? What if after those dreams are fulfilled, the soul becomes so weightless and empty that it is nothing anymore?"
"Yes and what if that is contributing to the energy of the universe?"
"And what if a part-a tiny part of the universe is nothing but the combination of waste energy of the dead souls?"
I felt good. My mother’s eyes were glistening with tears. She put the tray down and hugged me.
“Father would have been so proud of us. We literally just elongated his theory. Even brother. He loved the theories too!”
My mother nodded and wiped her tears. Suddenly the sky changed colors. There was a tinge of azure at the base, slightly close to the horizon, merging precariously with magenta which lay glumly in the concentrated essence of curtailment. The hues reminded me of my smothered
memories helplessly unfolding themselves into the petals of affliction that grew onto the weak flower of my past. I looked at the lake below and suddenly the reflection of the silhouettes of the birds onto it made me realise that my mother had cried here when I was gone. The lake was filled with her tears. I felt tears prick my eyes again and a strange insurrectionary current sparked through me. I looked at her and whispered “forgive me, please. Can we please start a new life, please?”
My mother beamed and pulled me into her embrace. The cauldron of noise that the birds created and the renewed horizon signalled at a new life and everything finally felt at peace. And the door to my childhood finally opened