It was a dark, stormy night when he decided to cruise by the place which he has been trying truly hard not to think about: the lot that houses many (probable) answers to his questions; and the wishful reassurance to his existence and what made him who he is. He has pre-emptively known this place inside out, even before he stepped foot into it, and part of him knew it was wrong. Nonetheless, he could not help it but wonder why it feels so good. And, why does everything that is so wrong feels so damned good?
There were hesitations, bags of hesitation. In the midst of every wavering back and forth, the battle that went on in his mind finally reached a breaking point. He has got to make a decision, and he knew the decision will not change things anyway, or at least not so much in the way he was seeing it. There will be consequences, and he could choose to turn back if he truly changed his heart somewhere down the track. Going through all the possible consequences in his head just tired his beaten soul even more. He needed to give it a go, somehow. How bad can it be – he asked himself.
The place was supposed to be hidden from the world as we know it, but for some reasons he found it with much ease. Having the exact address listed on the internet helped, though the place was not tagged or labelled in any online map services such as Google Map or WikiMapia. He has many anxious expectations, and many inquisitive thoughts. However, he went in not expecting anything in return. He just wanted to see the place. He wanted to see how the place was actually like, and feel how it felt like being there. It was not so much of wanting to belong anywhere, or longing to be part of something so desperately. Yes his heart ached every time he denied his desires, and pushed against his natural instincts. God, again, why does everything that is so wrong feels so damned right?
He was already in it, too late to turn back or run away now. It was cold, very cold inside. The air-conditioner was working full blast, and he was shivering to his bone. It took some time to adjust to the cold temperature, but he figured that should not deter him away from his prime objectives. Then again, his objectives were uncertain, and he told himself many times over not to expect anything. He knew he wanted something, but could not put together what he actually wanted. Hence, he just wandered off the paths laid in front of him, and let his eyes linger around exploring this new territory which he has been hiding from all this time. He feared that his guilt of the sins he has not committed was turning real. Very vividly real.
The thrill of discovering something new overwhelms his excitements, but at the same time, he did not find anything special at all. The coldness of the place started to warm up as he found new corners and walkways. He felt so defenceless, so open that he was helpless against everything that surrounded him. He tried to find pride and joy in his very presence in that place. He was smiling to himself, but he also felt something different walking all around him. Those feelings were genuine, as genuine as it could possibly be, but he knew it just held true in that place only.
He pulled himself away from the scene and sat by the dark corner. There was a window looking out into the streets. Gosh, this place really did exist, he thought to himself. He was amazed by how secluded and concealed the streets were outside the window, as if the whole area enveloping this place was bounded by some mystical invisibility that sheltered it from the cruel world. Many people came here seeking comfort and console. Many people turned to this place when the world has turned its back on them. Most of these people were not lonely; many of them were not single. They were perfectly normal souls, living very ordinary lives, every single day. Unfortunately, they were not designed to fit into ordinary living, and there was just something in this place that maybe, maybe could fill up the void which they carry with their souls.
The corner he was sitting at was the only corner with no air-condition. It started to heat up, and he felt trickles of sweat streaming down his skin. Good, he hated the feeling of numbness due to the cold. He was alive when he could feel the warmth of his own breath.
He knew he would find some answers, but at the same time, he will not find the solution to his problems. He had gone through a period of depression some time ago, when he hated the world that hated him. The period has long passed on, and he no longer hated the world. Coming to this place was like a sign telling the world that he had won the battle. He was no longer depressed, and he no longer held any hatred. Instead, he was ready to embrace what the world had to offer, and started to accept some very, very painful truths. He knew running away was never the solution, but timing was crucial. He was aware that, if he did not do this now, windows of opportunities will run out, and time will not be so kind to unwind itself for second chances. Life is never patient, and the race will only slip up on us as we watched ourselves wither away, wasting our youth. No money in the world, no tricks or medicine can bring back the lost youth. We have all been warned, and we have all been told to make the best out of our lives, before it was too late.
He braved himself, and went deeper into the place. The further into the place, the darker it became. It was becoming hard to see with naked eyes. Sometimes he thought why they had to dim it so much. The sense of danger and threat were alarming, and it was hard to move under such poorly lit ambience. He could not see anything, but part of him found peace in that, because that also meant that nothing there could see him too. Was it shame and disgrace that allowed the shadow to consume him, blending into the blackness of the dark, and obscuring everything from plain sight? By doing so, has he blocked out more of himself from the world than he had initially wanted? The darkness was so thick now, he felt invisible. The blanket of darkness gave him more confidence, as he walked on, and it has become his second skin.
Part of him wished he could come out into the light, when the world was ready. The world was never ready.
He decided to stop walking, and took a pause. He leaned his back on a wall of hard, cold brick. He stared into nowhere, and he did not care because everything seemed so dark anywhere. Then he started to think. How the hell did he get here? It was a long story, he knew it, every single bit of the details. He did not want to forget even though it still hurt him, and he thought it was good to reflect his mind by seeing those reflections in the blackness of the shadows he was staring into.
Was he staring at himself?
He saw himself in the darkness. He knew what he saw. It was nothing in the dark, and he knew it was exactly nothing. Hollow space with not even a trace of light. Is that what he has become? He has covered himself with such a compelling mimicry that beneath it all, he felt blank. He has lost himself in all the battles he has fought, to defend his pride, to defend the only few things that defined who he still was. No, he was not confused, he was not really lying. The truth has always been twisted anyway, so there were grey areas which did qualify his presence as he was. But the blanket of darkness gripped him so tightly now that he saw himself in such a frightened manner. The shadow was his mirror to his soul. He gave out a silent sigh, knowing that this was the closest thing to heaven he could ever get to.
He has come to a path that diverged in two. One would lead to an end, with the sign “exit”, and the other one, much deeper into the rabbit hole. Truthfully, this was not a dream, and Alice must have been lucky to go through all this puzzles in her dream, but not him. He had to make a choice. To fall deeper into nothing-ness, give more and more of himself into the comforting shadows, or on the other hand, just leave this place, and turn all this into mere distant memories. If he convinced himself hard enough, maybe he would actually believe this all was indeed a dream. Maybe then, he could find a reason not to come back to this place again.
But there are “things” that awaited him in those darkest corners in that place. He wanted to let go of himself in the place so badly. Just for that moment only, he thought he almost, almost found what he has been searching for in the first place. His heart was racing faster and faster now. It was undeniably beautiful of course. He has been waiting for this moment. It was so close now, so close. He knew it was there. He just needed to take a few more steps ahead. He then realized another painful truth. It was not his to keep. It was not meant for him, and what he had, was just a glimpse of what could have been his perfect world. It was a world that will never come to pass.
Exit, it was..
As he shut the glass door behind him, he turned himself to the dark streets. The street lamps greeted him, even the dim light hit his face and burned with a tingling sensation..
He hurried his pace, and looked to the sky as he was leaving the place behind.
The sky was dark, and stormy.
Nonetheless, he still looked into it.