The first thing that flashed into his mind at the sound of the verdict was the image of his primary school playground. Four kids had set up a court there and were playing judge and criminals. He was one of the criminals, presumably a robber. The judge – a pig-tailed blondie whom he had a crush on – deemed him guilty. When he asked why she replied “because I rule” and added slyly “because Sissy gave you her cookie and you took it”. He couldn’t remember who Sissy even was. But it was a silly reason as that that got him convicted then.
It was an unjustified reason that got him convicted now too. He was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Just because they could make him appear guilty. And he was there.
Justice isn’t always moral. And it isn’t always served to those who deserve it.
People who were getting to know her usually fired this question among their first ones. As a person who travelled constantly, it was natural that at some point she would lose the distinction of when she was home and when she was just visiting a place. It was a risk flight-attendants chose to take.
“You just know. Home is a feeling. It’s not just the place. It’s the emotions that you get when you walk into it. The smells that remind you of people, places and sentiments. It’s that feeling of safety and tranquility that it radiates. It’s somewhere you’re truly you”.
They had been planning the event for months. It was something that had caused many hours of stress, conflict, intense disagreement, even tears. But it was also what made them happy, because it was going to mark the beginning of a bright future together. They believed it.
But very often, it doesn’t matter what plans you make.
Life happens regardless.
And things capsize abruptly.
That day it snowed heavily. Everything was so beautiful in white. Everything but her.
He cried a stream of tears because he remembered their first snow day together.
There are photos that capture inside of them a bit of your soul. You look at them and can remember every single sentiment you felt in that very moment the photo was taken. You can sense the aura of the person you’re with. The feeling in the air around you. The emotions that ran inside of you.
There are photos like this that you want to keep forever. Or as long as that lasts.
But there are precisely those photos that hurt the most when that sentiment expires.
When you no longer feel that joy, you want all evidence removed.
Tom was frequently likened to a cat. Mainly because, whenever he could, he slept for most of the day.
He didn’t mind being compared to a clever feline. He rather saw it as a compliment.
Cats are perhaps the most independent pets around. They can take care of themselves and act as if you’re living in their house rather than the other way around. They are the beings for whom the problem during lockdown is that everyone else is staying home with them. But they can also teach you so many things on how to manage self-confinement. They know how to adopt a slower pace of life as the norm; to seek out the sunny spots in the house; take stretch breaks; stay curious and always discover new things making each day exciting; contact a human every so often; keep a tidy space and clean yourself often.
Cats are the embodiment that life is easier when you’re not too busy with what others are doing.
The problem with people like Tom is that they can’t be like cats for too long. Everything in life requires a measure, a balance to be complete. And even though it is healthy to spend time alone; to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person, happiness has greater value when it is shared.
And in order to be able to live fully, we need more people (or animals) in our life. People who share our concerns, and who will seek us out whenever we choose to disappear in the most incredible hideaways.
We will meet again soon. For the time being, choose to shine; it’ll soon become a habit.
She remembered it fondly. How she anticipated their first date. He had announced it to her with a paper plane that flew straight towards her. It was their way of communicating. She was walking on air all morning.
He took her to a diner that had just opened and was the talk of the town. The food was savoury. But that wasn’t what won her over; it was the song he chose on the jukebox and how he picked her up to dance rock n’ roll to what thereafter became their tune.
He had been asked many interview questions since his career gained an upward path, but this was by far the most intimate one. It reached right into his soul, past his life experiences, his childhood dreams and wishes, his ambitions and desires. It was the essence of who he was.
“There are so many reasons why,” he began. The emotional charge was already apparent in his eyes and in the tone of his voice that suddenly became softer and quieter.
“I dance because it makes me feel alive. Feeling my body in motion, makes me feel like I’m doing something right, that I’m allowed to experiment in every dimension with every part of my being. All a dancer needs to do is close his eyes and feel the music”.
“I dance because I’m happy, or I’m sad, or I’m angry…I feel through dance. It’s my way of expression. But it is also of healing. I always feel better after I dance”.
“I feel graceful and free when I dance,” he continued. “I feel my aura becoming lighter and brighter and this also helps me culturally and socially connect with others. I feel I am becoming a better person when I dance. And I like that version of me”.
“Dancing is also a way to escape everything that is troubling your mind at the moment. It’s great therapy for the mind and it certainly keeps you active and fit. It is a fun way to exercise and offers many more benefits that are first apparent. All you need to do is try it for yourself and you’ll be convinced”.
The interviewer stared straight into his eyes. She had never received such an honest and long response before.
And, of course, she was now eager for her first dance lesson.