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A foreword

Writing has always been important to me. Still, I haven’t done this for a long, long time. Not since I stopped writing in this diary years and years ago. However, now I feel that the time has come to tell my story again from a new point of view. This will be the last time I ever open this book. This is the closure.

The world doesn’t change, it is you who changes. And that’s what hindsight is all about. You learn from your mistakes and fit better into the world. I know I did. I have made many mistakes, and got lost many times, but I regret nothing. All those experiences have made me who I am today and they have given me the strength to go on. Some of my loved ones got hurt along the way and I am truly sorry for that. I can only hope that my good deeds have brought joy and happiness to balance the pain I’ve caused.

But enough of this self reflection bullshit. It’ll be the foreword of the story I’m about to tell.

Part I: Childhood

I guess I’ll start right from the beginning. I was born on a small farm not too far away from the nearest town. I lived there with my parents and my older brother. We had some animals but growing grain was our main source of income. Our fields were huge and they surrounded our house from every direction. The house wasn’t very big but that wasn’t a bad thing, especially in the winter. You wouldn’t believe how much wood is needed to keep a house warm this far north! All those hours of chopping… My hands get still sore from the mere thought. Anyways, that is the place where I spent my childhood. I wonder who lives there now: maybe I could go pay a visit for one last time?

There was also another farm right next to ours. They had a daughter - same age as me - called Dawn. We spent a lot of time together with her and my brother, since there were no other kids around. We had some good times running in the fields and playing in the forest. But the moments I treasured the most were those I got to spend alone with her. Don’t get me wrong: I enjoyed my brother’s company as well but she was something else. I always thought we had this… special bond with her. I really hoped she felt the same for me - and at the time she probably did too. I just never had the courage to really talk her about it. I wonder how my brother felt about that: being stuck in between and all.

We had a secret meeting place with Dawn: a really old tree in the middle of a small field. We’d spend some long summer nights there together, sitting under the oak, listening to the nighttime birds. I’d caress her hair as she’d tell me about her dreams and wishes. To this day those moments are some my most precious memories. I’d give anything to return there with her, even for a moment. How we wished that those nights would never end… But eventually it did of course. Summers and winters came and we grew older. She moved on. I guess I didn’t.

So, you could say I had a happy, normal childhood. I wasn’t great at school but did good enough in the exams without doing any real work. It’s not like I was lazy or ignorant but I really wasn’t that interested in most of the subjects. Literature was the only exception. I wrote poems and short stories in my diaries and read a LOT of books. I went to the town library at least once a week to get a new bagful of books. I had a friend there: an older man who worked there. He got to know my face pretty quickly and started to recommend some books for me. Novels, poems, plays, old and new, you name it, I’ve read it. Before college I had probably read every book in the library - at least once. So it was a natural choice for me to go and study literature. For that I had to move to a bigger city. Time had come to leave home.

Part II: The city lights

I never was that close to my parents, since they had spent most of my childhood working in the fields. So, when I decided to move away, it wasn’t too big of a deal. They knew that I wouldn’t continue farming after them. I had other plans – like my brother before me. He was always interested in machinery and getting his hands dirty. He had moved to a bigger city a few years ago to work in some garage, fixing cars and motorcycles. He visited us every once in a while and told us vivid tales about life in the city. I was of course amazed and couldn’t wait for my turn to get out of there. The city was only a hundred miles from our old town but it felt like a gate to a bigger world. And there it was, just waiting for me to come and take my chances while I was stuck here.

After a wait that felt like eternity, the summer came and school ended. I was eager for a change, so I moved to the city right away. I still remember the first time I strolled in the noisy streets. The city wasn’t huge but compared to our little town it was so big - and so full of life. The sound of the traffic, the smell of industry… It felt unreal: I was finally there, starting my own life. I got a room in a small flat right in the heart of the city. I lived with a roommate: a guy from my new school, who had begun his studies last year. He was an idealist: he talked and dressed funny, but he was really clever. I got to know him pretty quickly and right away it was clear that we had a lot in common. Different arts, especially literature, were his bread and butter and he never got tired of talking about them. We’d spend long nights seeing shows and drinking wine and talking about books and writing. The city had a lot to offer and we tried to take in as much as we could.

The summer was the busiest I ever had, and it was over way too quickly. For those couple of months I was so mezmerized by this new exciting world that I had pretty much forgotten about my past. I didn’t contact my brother, home, or even Dawn until the school started. Then I got a letter from her and that brought me straight back down to earth. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t sent her a single letter for the whole summer. She had recently moved to the same city to study to be a nurse. She hoped to keep in contact. When I read the letter I realized how much I missed her. I decided to go visit her straight away.

She lived in the dormitory at her school, which lied all the way in the outskirts of the city. I had to go by bus, which took ages to get there. But it was truly worth it: she seemed really glad I had come. We walked and talked all night and I showed her the city, bragging about my new friends and all the cool stuff I’d seen in the summer. She seemed impressed but also scared somehow. She said that the big, noisy city was a bit too much for her, and she would move back to the countryside as soon as she graduated from school. I didn’t take it too seriously: she’d get used to it after a while - after I’d show her all the possibilities.

It was already dark when I took her back and promised to write. It was clear that we’d both be really busy with our studies and the distance was too great for us to meet very often, so writing was the next best thing to do. Still I promised to go meet her as often as I could. We hugged and I stepped in the bus. I sat down and waved to her through the window as the bus drove away. I was happy. I dreamt about marrying her and living together in the city. She’d get a job from the hospital and I’d start writing my own book. Life could be everything I ever wanted and it was all slowly becoming real.

Part III: The rebels

Unlike Dawn, I wasn’t that busy with school after all. I got to know many new interesting people and we’d spend much time together, enjoying everything the city had to offer. We watched shows and plays and talked about them all night at someone’s place – usually mine. Some wrote their own stuff, some were actors and some even wrote reviews to a local newspaper. We all had great ideas, which we’d share over a glass of wine in the middle of the night. We considered ourselves as the new generation of modern art - the fresh blood that’d start a whole new era in art. It felt great to be part of something bigger. For once I was accepted and people really were interested in my opinions.

At the same time I tried to keep in contact with Dawn, but it was getting harder and harder to find time together. She had her life and I had mine. At times I felt really sad, even angry, but then my new friends would come, open a bottle and get me lost in a neverending conversation about some new artist. This was my life now and sadly she wasn’t really a part of it. I decided not to worry: things would clear out eventually.

I felt ok but started to do worse and worse at school. We were rebels, and there was starting to be quite a lot of us. We skipped lessons and failed at tests we didn’t find interesting. We spent more and more alcohol. It didn’t take long until the drugs came along too. In a big city - and especially with the people I hung around with - it wasn’t hard to obtain different substances. Our flat was a mess: a meeting point for the lost. You never knew who was sleeping in the couch in the morning. But it didn’t matter, we were all one, part of the same group.

I didn’t keep contact to my brother or home anymore. Dawn didn’t answer my calls. I decided to stop caring. There were truly bigger things at hand. The world was not ready, it needed to be perfected. And we were up for the task, the new generation. We could make a difference. We would make a difference. The school and other “normal” life felt meaningless. We were meant to do bigger things.

Most of the world’s problems are a cause of people’s stupidity and ignorance. Human senses cannot comprehend reality as it is. Our experience is distorted and heavily limited. There is more to the world than meets the eye, and you can get a small glimpse of that by messing up your head. We had a plan to search for the truth. To search for a god. And for that we needed the drugs. We used different kinds and different mixes to get more glimpses from beyond, more pieces to the puzzle. One day it would be complete and we’d reach the true understanding. Only then could we change the world permanently. But the first thing to change is yourself, as I’d soon find out.

Part IV: Candlelight dinner

“Take this and you’ll find the answers to all your questions!” That’s what they said. I didn’t know what was in that pill, but I sure took it! I think I took something else too – just to boost the effect. I was eager to peek behind the curtain, desperate to understand everything. I don’t regret anything but I can surely say that it was the decision that pretty much defined my future. Maybe I found the truth, who knows. All I know is that I woke up in the hospital some time later and the time between is a mess.

I’ll try to describe what I experienced but the following might not make much sense. Apart from my writings there are only faint distinct memories, and the chronology is uncertain. Also I’m not sure which of these events are actually real. They all might be just hallucinations, but I can’t be sure. The jigsaw puzzle is unsolvable, since there are mixed pieces of different pictures, and most of the parts are missing anyways. It’s all just a poorly written play, a collection of short acts without any order or a rhythm.

As the drugs started to kick in, it felt like a big firm hand was holding the back of my head, pulling me into a void. I didn’t resist. “See you on the other side!”, I yelled as the black emptiness swallowed me. I swam in a sea of memories. To understand the world, you have to begin by understanding yourself. I knew I had to go deep, all the way to the beginning. I had to dig the wounded soil.

I woke up in a field. I recognized the scenery right away: I was home. The memories started to rise from the depths of my mind, overwhelming me. The sudden feeling of sadness grabbed my throat and I had trouble breathing. Tears tingled in my eyes. I realized how thoughtlessly I had forgotten about it all. And I realized how much I missed Dawn. I had tried so hard to deny it but now it was clear: she was the one for me. I stood in the middle of the field as a cold gust of wind sent shivers down my spine. I had to find the tree.

I lit the candles and opened a bottle of wine. The dinner was ready but she was not there yet. I had made all the preparations. After tonight everything would be alright. Something had happened to Dawn: she wasn’t herself at all. That’s why she didn’t want to see me anymore. I knew I could make things better. The sweet girl I used to know and love had to be there somewhere. I just had to search deep enough. The present her was just a mask, a character. All I had to do was to get her to snap out of it. I heard a knock on the door. Finally!

Blood everywhere… I had failed. She lied in my arms. She did not breathe anymore. She would not breathe ever again. I could not save her, and the morning was already there. I cradled her slowly and endless stream of tears flowed from my eyes. I felt dizzy. It was all so unreal. The sunlight dazzled me. I was home again, under our tree. Dawn was next to me. I wrapped my arm around her and she quivered slightly. We sat there until the sun went down. Just like in the old days. I have never been so happy. That moment was everything I ever wanted. I didn’t care about the truth. I would give up even art. She was all I needed. I fell asleep.

The heat woke me up. The fields were ablaze and the flames surrounded me from every direction. Dawn wasn’t there anymore. I cried her name, but it was in vain. Where had she gone? Had she lit up the dry grain? There was no escape: I was trapped. Just when I was giving up hope I heard something in the distance. I squinted my eyes to see through the flames. And there she was. Dawn was there in the middle of the sea of flames. As she came closer, I saw her staring straight at me. Those unnatural, empty eyes still haunt my dreams. She was smiling.

Part V: On the ruins

Paralyzed. The bright white lights in the ceiling hurt my eyes as they flashed by. They pushed my bed in a small room. I think it was raining outside. So tired. I slept. Every once in a while I woke up and noticed hazy figures around me. I could not talk or move, or even see or hear them clearly. It was like I had fallen deep into myself. My eyes were a couple narrow holes somewhere above me. I tried to peek through but saw nothing. I was lying in a dark, damp silence. I cried for help but no words escaped my mouth. Memories of Dawn made me wriggle in agony. I had failed. So tired. I slept.

I opened my eyes as the rain drops softly fell on my face. I was all bruised, muddy and wet, but the night was warm. Streetlights’ dim glow surrounded me, comforting me like my mother used to. It whispered: “You did what had to be done. And you survived.” My brother was lying next to me, breathing heavily. His throat emitted nasty scratching sounds every time he inhaled. He had lost. And he was dying. I knew I should end it there and then but I couldn’t. Not even when he seemed to mock me. All my feelings of regret, guilt and anger were there, lying in my feet, but I just couldn’t end his misery. Darkness fell as the street lights died away one by one. The sound of rain cradled me back to sleep.

The air smells different in the morning. The fresh dew on the leaves glimmers in a certain way, on that magical moment just before the sunrise. I was a ghost and watched the ruins of my life from a different perspective. Everything was perfectly still: no movement whatsoever. I saw his body in the bottom of rocky pit, which was to become his tomb. I shivered when his last breath finally broke the silence: it was over. I hoped that this time the silence would be permanent. As I looked closer, I saw a peculiar expression of peace on his face. I felt the same peace slowly starting to caress me. I looked at his face and realized how much he resembled me. I hope I will look the same when I die. The sun rose. I hovered away, leaving behind the pit and the collapsed buildings.

I still couldn’t see clearly. There was someone sitting beside my bed and holding my hand. I would recognize that soft touch anywhere: I had held her hand thousands of times. I tried to move my fingers and felt her squeeze a bit. The pain stroke like a swarm of insects eating through my brain. I tried to hold on to her hand, but she rushed away. They increased my dose and I got better in a few days. But the one hand I craved never returned.

Part VI: The winter

My journey for the truth had been a disaster: I had managed to lose myself and everything that was dear to me in the process. I wasn’t any closer to the complete understanding of the universe – even further away if possible! As I left the hospital, I had nothing. I was nothing. They told me to leave the drugs and I’d be ok. I wasn’t. I never returned to my flat, for there was nothing for me anymore.

All I could think was Dawn. She was my light as I wandered around for a time that felt like an eternity. Or maybe time didn’t pass at all. She haunted my thoughts during the dull days. She was the ruler of my dreams, filling my nights with sadness, anger and fear. I often woke up in the middle of the night bathing in sweat. And still I craved for her more than anything else.

The world had lost its colors. The winter was coming. I feared. I felt I was being punished for what I did (What had I even done?). I tried to leave it all behind, except for the diary I had been holding on to. I continued to write. I tried to hide myself from the world. I just wanted to bury myself in the snow and sleep. Sleep… I could happily spend the rest of my life here alone. This is what I deserved. From here I could not harm anyone ever again.

I embraced the memory of the day she walked away from my life. The last true, warm memory of her. The sun was setting and a slight breeze caught her hair. I could feel the sweet scent in my nostrils. Tears burned my eyes. That’s when I knew that I could not stay here forever. I had to find my way out if I wanted to really get better. Hiding and denying the problem does not solve it. So, I got up and started my journey back from that place. The road was long, but eventually I found myself in front of the hospital again. I needed help.

Part VII: Release

I had dived deep. I barely clung on to the edges of reality. They sent me to rest in a peaceful resort in the middle of nowhere. I was heavily medicated and deeply depressed. I don’t remember many details, but some moments I still recall like they’d happened only yesterday.

A car drives on a small winding dirt road. I sit in the back, watching the fields and the forests as they swiftly pass by. The sun is shining very warmly for this time of year. There aren’t any leaves in the trees yet, but the air smells different. The snow has almost melted: only small patches remain in the spots where the sun doesn’t reach. I see a beautiful white building ahead. We drive through a heavy metal gate and the guard closes it behind us. I’m overwhelmed by the strange, deep peace that surrounds this desolate place.

I see her in the hall. It’s definitely her. She comes to me and whispers to my ear. She will wait for me, but first I must get better. I have to face my feelings and let go. I have the key to wind the clocks again. The world is waiting for my decision. So, I promise.

She gives me strength. She helps me through hard times. She’s all I have, and it fills me with joy. I know that this dead season is soon going to be over. And then we can be together. All I have to do is let go. I let go of my sorrow. I let go of the pain. I let go of the hate. And I let myself go. I’m just and empty shell waiting for her to pick me up. I’m a child again: weak and dependant. But there’s no burden anymore. In time I will get up on my feet again and carry on.

I wake up as the sun dazzles me from between the curtains. The birds are singing. I feel different. I feel strong. Today is the day. We take a walk in the park as usual. I look at her but see her no more. I mean, I see her but not the way I did before. I kept my promise. I am free. I realize that she is the last thing I have to let go. And I do. I thank her for everything.

I can still remember the smell of the air on that day I left the hospital. The leaves on the trees were still small, and grass was mostly yellow, but bits of green could be seen here and there. I was free. Free to go anywhere I wanted. Free to start to live my life from scratch again. I sat on a bench and wrote the last line to the diary: I will move on. And I did.

Last updated: 2014-09-14 11:06:02