The Man Behind The Curtain

 

He was a runner and a lover, but not a fighter. He could face your arsenal of rationality and logic with an impressive array of firepower, shooting holes into all the beliefs you once held like water in your chalice, until you are leaking from a hundred different places. He could stand alone amidst a maelstrom of contention with a perfect composure, as sure in himself as the sunrise in the morning. He could find a mountain blocking his path and move it effortlessly with a stroke of his pen- Or perhaps diminish it with one scathing remark, till it cowered like a molehill at his feet.

His power was always the ability to know when to sneak up behind you, but never the art of war. Meet him squarely on a battlefield with no walls to hide behind, and he would rather strike a deal than risk losing the war. A very careful player, holding all the cards close to his chest and betting only on a sure win.

It had seemed to work pretty well for him; he managed to emerge from every melee with a few marginal bumps and no scars to speak of. The marks that had been left were hidden so deeply they only pained him occasionally on cold nights, and he never allowed them to impede his progress. Determined to get exactly where he was going, on his own time and on his own terms, rewriting the rules when they needed to be bent, and breaking them when it seemed like more fun to do so.

He believed himself very subtle, very sneaky, thinking nobody saw him lurking behind the curtain and pulling all the strings. Ah, but you always did look past the obvious, and it wasn’t hard to see if you were really looking for it, which of course you were.

So you sat back to watch the show, finding yourself going along for the ride. Wind rushing past your ears as the back roads of life unrolled behind you. Breath was stolen away by the thin air of mountain heights, eyes blinded by the darkness of earthen depths. Spiraling in the current like an errant piece of driftwood or autumn leaf, and no more able to control your destination. Dancing to midnight melodies with a sad smile, and finding yourself dancing alone.

Time is a river flowing away, flowing away, and there is no way to paddle up stream. There is no time to look back, another rapid lurks just around the next bend, and the river is unforgiving.

You find yourself with altered perceptions, shattered preconceived notions of reality, handfuls of wishes that slip through your fingers like sand. So you find time to sit on the beach, wrapped in the cloak of your own thoughts, trying to keep warm. You contemplate the scenery; enjoy the moss between your toes, listening to the sound of silence in a desperate attempt to recapture solidity.

Of course you were always a fighter who never knew when to run. Throwing yourself into battle with a reckless abandon, willing to die fighting rather than step down. Never knowing how to temper your steel with patience, or hold back till the last crucial moment. This wild, untamed approach to life was your eventual undoing in the face of this glacial persistence in another’s gaze. A steady, slow advance of water can conquer the strength of stone, and soon your foundations were undermined by this insidious trickle.

Ah, but what a pleasant way to lose. There is something to be said for going out with a bang, and that is surely what you did. Shrapnel flew everywhere, wounding innocent bystanders and the guilty alike. The fallout was amazing, a widespread pandemonium of gargantuan proportions. The black cloud of you darkened the sky and blotted out the sun, till only the stars gazed down on the shadow land.

But in the end you have learned, have you not? You have seen the flip side of the coin, and you know the game is rigged. You have spotted the hidden compartment that the pretty blonde is hiding in, and you know the dove is really up the magician’s sleeve. Good for you, but what IS the end? Isn’t an end of one thing just the beginning of another? If everything is a circle completing itself, where are you standing now? If you are closing one door behind you, which one will you open when you leave?

Sitting at the river on a cold rock, with a warm breeze, it all comes into focus for one brief moment. Everything is clear, you can understand, it is all so simple… And then… It’s gone. Floating off somewhere on the wing of a passing moth perhaps.

You do not have the answers, only the story. You have no explanations, only the acceptance. You don’t really understand, but you’re prepared to go with it anyway.

You walk softly and carry a big dream.

Taking every day gently as the sun rises, holding all the memories carefully in your calloused palms. Treading onward, eyeing the bend in the river with a weary gaze. What kind of wonders or horrors tomorrow could bring is all reflected here, in a moment of clarity, where a robin sings.

 

 

 

4/11/11

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6 thoughts on “The Man Behind The Curtain

  1. Wow! What talent you have at writing stories. I love the line “You walk softly and carry a big dream.” I thought I had stopped dreaming until a near death experience showed me there are many dreams still inside me.

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