And there I stood in the cold darkness – alone, trying to digest
the fact that my love was nothing but a figment of my wild imagination. I
always thought of myself as a wild dreamer but never to the extent of being a
slave of it. I felt stupid, pathetic and embarrassed. But the way the wind blew
that night was tantalizing. Simply by the way it blew in my face then danced
around me made me feel as if nothing else could be better. It made me feel as
if I could do anything in my will to make the whole world wrong just so I could
be right. Just to prove that the girl I laid in bed thinking of at night was
real. That she could love me the way I love her. That infatuation was a myth
and one day we could prove that maybe love is
all we really need.
But as I stood in that darkened
hallway lighted by the rays of a single candle, I was brought back to reality –
the reality that I was just another young boy and a silly one, indeed. I
realized that the world is too big and life is too short to close my heart over
a dream that would never come true.
And with that, I left Araby and
Or so I thought.
10 years since I last heard that word. Oh my, that’s been a long time. How time
I can still picture myself
standing between the walls of empty bazaar stalls (or maybe not. I can’t
picture it out that much anymore. It’s been that long). But that was the past.
It’s amazing how much you learn in
10 years. Amazing how much you can achieve. Amazing how much you can change.
Yet the most amazing part of life is how quickly you can loose everything in a
blink of an eye.
After 10 long yet seemingly short
years, I look back at my life and smirk with every reason in the world to. I
admit I’ve stopped dreaming a very long time ago. It’s saved me the tears and
I have children now, (2 wonderful
boys) but I admit I’ve never encouraged them to dream in any way whatsoever. I
have nothing extremely big against dreaming, really. But since their mother
passed away (god bless her soul), I didn’t want them to start dreaming that she
would come back. I was too afraid that they would start to believe that that
dream would actually come true. I’m scared of the haunting thought of my past
but mostly, I’m frightened at the thought that my children would have to go
through the same pain that I had gone through once upon a very long time ago.
I hope you don’t get the
impression that I’ve forbidden my children to dream, I wouldn’t have the power
to do so. Dreaming is just something I rarely encourage in our household.
“PAPA! PAPA! Have you ever heard
of Araby?” my young son asked me one day.
“Yes, my boy. What about it?” I
replied with the sound of uneasiness. Araby was still a soft topic for me. No
one knew about this but me and I planned to keep it that way for a very long
“Well papa, Antonio told
everything me he knew about Araby! The stalls and the cheap finds! He also told
me that it was coming very soon and I was wondering if you could bring me
there. It’s almost my birthday anyways; maybe you could buy me a toy car. I’m
sure it wouldn’t cost much.”
And although I was doubtful about
returning to the scene of my nightmares, I knew that I couldn’t break my son’s
heart over something that broke mine. So with a deep sigh, I nodded and watched
him run off into the garden with pure excitement and bolts of energy.
That night I lay in bed, tossing
and turning, full of thoughts, untapped feelings and longing.
It was 3 am, the air was cold yet
I was dripping from sweat.
So, I stood up from where I lay
and gazed at my children. “How handsome and well rounded they’ve grown up to
be.” I thought to myself. The eldest, Ben, had his mother’s best features,
eyes, nose, forehead and lips. Looking at him was like looking at his mother.
Phil, he took after me, he was like a miniature clone of me and that made me
proud. Both my boys did well in school, made good friends and helped a lot at
home. Although there were times that they got into trouble, I understood that.
They we’re boys and they had to learn the ways of life the only way they we’re
supposed to and no one said that it would be easy. I learned the ways of life
the same way and I still am.
The wind was rustling against the
tin scraps of metal that served as our roof. So I grabbed my jacket and decided
to take a stroll outside.
As I was walking, a distinctive
wind blew in my direction. It was the kind of wind that blew in my face 10
years ago in Araby.
Araby, oh Araby.
Then suddenly, I felt a strong
gush of wind that felt as if it was pushing me in a certain direction, telling
my insides that there was a certain place in a certain time that I had to be
in. A date that only fate could’ve planned herself.
And I just let the wind carry me
to wherever it destined to. It pushed me, left then right, then another turn to
the right until I was at the corner of where Araby was to be held.
And in the corner stood a
“Excuse me. Who are you?”
Still she stood pretending not to
“Do you need help?” I said as I
Suddenly she turned and faced me.
And the moment she did, I felt a jolt through my spine.
know this woman but I felt like I knew her all my life. It felt like I’ve spent
my whole life dreaming of her at night and forgetting her in the morning.
The way the
light from the nearby light post outlined her body made her look beautiful and
I, quickly fell. And as I gazed into her eyes, I realized, yes, I did know her.
I knew her from a dream. A dream that I promised never to look back on… ever.
closer to her. Close enough to feel that she was real. But just as I got close
heard Ben scream from the distance.
So I turned
back and ran to my son. Turns out that he had followed me as I stepped out of
the house, claimed I was sleeping walking and wanted to make sure I was ok.
I went home
that night with the image of that beautiful stranger lingering in my mind.
Oh love! Oh
The following morning, I woke up
as if nothing happened and spent the whole day preparing myself for that
evening’s event. My reunion with a nightmare.
afternoon passed by and the evening quickly followed and before I knew it, me
and my sons, were on our way to Araby. When we got there, it was much more crowded
then usual. More colorful and there was definitely a larger selection of goods
to buy. It wasn’t like the bazaars in my time, one thing was for sure.
my boys scatter into the stalls and explore what Araby had to offer to their
young minds. Ben quickly found the toy car that he had asked me for as a
birthday gift and Phil found some small plastic soldiers that he was surely
going to enjoy during the summer afternoons.
didn’t seem so bad anymore. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
from the back said. I quickly turned around to see who it was who had hit me
from behind. And as I soon as I did, my jaw quickly fell.
It was the
woman from the night before! I was in shock. Seeing her again made her as real
as I thought she was, because now, I felt her and I heard her voice. I knew she
was real and I wasn’t going to let her go.
ran in the direction where she had headed to. But it seemed a lot like she was
avoiding me because she kept turning in different directions and dodging my
calls. But for whatever reason it was, I didn’t care. I just wanted to see her
again and tell her that she was the woman in my dreams and it was fate that I
we would meet again. I wanted to hold her close and remember who it was to be
in love again like the way I felt 10 years ago in the orphanage. But this time,
I wouldn’t be afraid to, because now, I knew for certain that she was real.
to follow her until she led me into an empty hallway. And I stood there
watching her stand from a distance. I watched the way the light fell against
her pale skin and felt myself falling on the inside and anxious to run to her
on the outside.
And as the
light slowly dimmed away, I saw her disappear with it. I watched her disappear
once again just like the way I watched her disappear 10 years ago.
And as I
looked around me, I noticed that I was standing in the exact place I stood 10
years ago. The same place where I realized that love was not real. The place
where I concluded that dreaming got me nowhere and where I felt that I was
nothing else but a stupid, pathetic and embarrassed little boy.
emotions rushed into my head as I realized how amazing it is how much you learn
in 10 years. Amazing how much you can achieve, how much you can change and how
amazing how long you can fool yourself into believing that you’ve gotten over a
dream that you never really let go.
again, I stood there, gazing up into the darkness as I saw myself as a creature
driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger.