I put some more red lipstick on, tightened my hair tail a little bit more and gave one last glance at the mirror just to see that everything was ok. I had some extra 5 minutes before the guys would show up. It was Thursday night and like every other Thursday we would meet to go to the pub which was just a few meters away of my apartment. Actually, it was so close that you could hear the deep notes of the bass straggling against the city noise. The most essential component of blues. The bass. I took the cigarette which was still burning in the ashtray and took a few puffs. I wore my coat and went out to the balcony to “catch” the song that was playing from the local pub. I started moving my head slowly in the rhythm of the music when the laughter from down the street interrupted my “journey”.
– “Come down already!”
I got in, I squeezed my cat’s head hurriedly and run down the stairs to meet the guys.
We took straight ahead the road towards the pub. I was walking, as usually, in front while the guys were chatting and giggling behind. “I’ll ask them later” I thought. I was too lost in the music which was becoming louder as we were approaching. As we got in, the jukebox was playing the song “Cry me a river” by Ella Fitzgerald. We sat at the table near to the window and ordered our drinks. I ordered a Tom Collins.
… We were having a good time, we were laughing a lot. Jim went to the barman to order another round. I got up and said “I’m going out for a cigarette”. The guys didn’t even hear me. They were already lost in a conversation about the most exotic landscapes in the world. It had just started drizzling but I didn’t mind. I lighted my cigarette and I watched the smoke coming out smoothly. The song “Body and Soul” was on. I closed my eyes and imagined that the people who were walking by in a hurry, stopped for a while and danced in the smooth sound of Billie Holiday’s voice. I folded my hands tight and danced too, hoping that this cigarette will never end.
– You are late again!
– Ohhh don’t start again grandpa… Sleep is warm.
– The sun is warm not sleep.
– In winter sleep is warmer.
– Kid I’ve told you many times before that it’s really important to come here to enjoy the sun. At least once a week.The sun’s warmth gets inside you and ties your soul to this world. Sleep’s warmth is different.
– What do you mean different?
– Sleep’s warmth takes your soul from this world and ties it to different ones.
– And where are those worlds?
– Wherever your dreams take you.
– So are there many worlds?
– But this world is the real one, right?
– Things are different for humans. We are much more complicated. Our eyes are not the best judge of what is real and what is not. Our eyes see many things, but the way you look at things is what defines them. It’s your choice if something is real or not. You define reality. Look at the view and tell me what do you think is real?
– The sea, the trees, the sun, the sky…
– How are you feeling by looking this view?
He still remembers the long fairy tails, he and his friends used to make at the back yard of his house. They used to build forts and castles with mud and their stories would always contain a game of domination. Oh, how much he loved these games! They separated in two teams and his team would always win. That’s why everybody wanted to be in his team, in his side.
Year by year though, more and more kids got bored of his strategy games, less and less kids would concentrate to play with him, till the games stopped. All had heard about this “ticket” which would give one the possibility to acquire everything one ever wanted. Gossips flew all around. Even he heard about it. The real game was in action.The ticket, according to the rumors, had felt somewhere over there, so everybody started looking for it, day and night. They all got obsessed with it but not as much as he was. This ticket had to be his! His perseverance was so big that this searching journey lasted 80 whole years. He dedicated all his life trying to find it. He searched every inch of the streets, in the trash cans, everywhere.
As a consequence of this endless searching, his body started bending. Now, his upper body is almost parallel with the ground, he is just an old humped back man. Because of his body formed that way, he was not able to look anymore at something else than the ground. He still has this obsession with finding the “ticket”.
One day a voice came from above…
– Old man, is too late for you to be searching for “the ticket”, don’t you think so? Even, if you’ll find it you don’t have much time to enjoy it.
– Why do you care? This ticket will give me everything I ever wanted. I’ll enjoy it in the time I got left.
– You are too stubborn old man.
– Yes, maybe all this is just a bet for me now. Yes, maybe it would be better if I had found it when I was still young and had my whole life in front of me. I dedicate my whole life on this and I’m not going to die before I find it. I owe it to myself.
– All this time you were living in a dream old man. You are not going to find it.
– Why are you saying this?
– Because…I invented the idea of “the ticket”. And I’m telling you, “the ticket” doesn’t exist. Never did. It was never real.
Suddenly the old humped back man wasn’t feeling so well. He tried to hang on something.
The voice continued…
– I hate humans and as I was born really tall, I tried not to look down. I didn’t want to look at people and their greediness. “The ticket” kept their eyes down so they wouldn’t be able to look at anything else that might exist, so they wouldn’t know… In contrast with you, my body “learned” to always look up.
The old man sat on the ground and said:
– You talk about greediness like you aren’t greedy at all?
– Of course I am but I was able to recognize it and use it as I liked. Now it’s too late for me too. Because what I’ve learned at last is that the real ticket is in front of us and neither you nor I can see it.
…You are walking by the road when suddenly you see a house. It looks like some sort of an abandoned villa but you don’t actually care because your eyes are “pinned” on this huge, deep green ivy that covers almost all the stony surface of the building. Its majesty…As you get closer you notice the bold relief of the leave’s rib. Ivy usually spooks people because of its glory and it makes you feel that if there was a limit in the sky it would be able to reach it. You feel that it could devour everything that might be on its way. You don’t cut it off neither uproot it. You don’t want to mess with it. You just watch it grow and grow even more.
You turn your head to the left and see that next to you lies a grass land. Not a simple grass land but a meadow of daises. Beauty, serenity and smiles. You walk through the meadow to enjoy it. You don’t care, they are just daisies. Beautiful but daises. And as you walk through it, “the daisies of your sole” bent down one by one. They are just daisies. You stop and notice a beautiful daisy with all its petals on. You cut it off the ground and as you pull off its petals one by one, you count the probability of someone loving you, someone else, some “ivy”…
“Feeling important makes one heavy, clumsy, and vain. To be a man of knowledge one needs to be light and fluid.”