There’s a war going on in my mind, in everyone’s minds, really. It’s a war between yourself and the outside world. If we entertain the idea that you have never been exposed to the world (meaning others opinions) how different would your own thoughts be? That is not to say hearing about others thoughts are bad, I think it’s more about society at large that decides what is good or bad. Again, that’s not always a bad thing, and really, it’s an unavoidable battle unless you are literally Buddha and have reach a state of utter detachment from everything wordly… What was my point again?
I guess the war in our minds, at least for creatives, is what to create: should the story be (1) what I want it to be or (2) what it should be, or already is? Because I believe stories exist independent from us and that they are there to be found rather than created. Sometimes a story isn’t what others would like them to be, and you have to change it, but that demands so much of you that sometimes you don’t want to. You have found this story (wherever stories are found) and you cannot toss it away, and at the same time, it cannot be made into something that it’s not, at least I can’t. Perhaps I can make still, even if it’s bad? Just to get it out of my mind…
“Honey, are you sure this is the right way?”
“Yes, yes, it should be right around the corner.”
“But, look, the road has stopped. You are driving on dirt!”
“We are supposed to… It’s a short cut, alright!”
She looked over at her boyfriend who kept his eyes on the road while glancing on a map that rested over the steering-wheel. The car swayed back and forth like a ship on the uneven ground; and the further they went, the more the forest enclosed them and the road disappeared in the undergrowth.
“Okay, maybe we are lost, but I can’t turn around now. There must be a roundabout somewhere…”
She did not argue at that. The branches scraped against the car as they drove on. The man winced every time the branches dug into the coloring, creating white streaks of blemishes on his fancy red car. But there was nothing he could do and backing up would almost be worse at this point. Finally, the trees opened up and a big dirt field, half covered in patches of grass, spread out before them. There were half collapsed fences that enclosed it and it looked to them as an old abandoned parking lot. They stopped on the cleanest patch of dirt and the man threw himself out of the car. He whimpered pathetically as he inspected the damage.
“Fucking hell,” he said. “We just had to go out and see nature, didn’t we?
“Oh please, don’t pin this on me. It’s not my fault you can’t read the map.”
The man grumbled, knowing by experience arguing never lead him anywhere. Even if he won, she would find a way to sour his victory, not that the damage on the car would go away anyhow, or payed for… “Where are we, anyway?”
She looked around and saw benches dotted around, all small and half crumbled. There was some sort of platform in the distance, but it was hard to see what it was exactly. As she looked, she saw somebody wave in the distance. “There’s somebody over there,” she said. “A couple?”
“I think there is. They seem to wave us over… should we?”
The woman shrugged and gathered their picnic basket and headed to them. They were very old. They had their own picnic spread out on the table they sat on and they smiled at the young couple as they approached.
“Well, isn’t that nice,” the old woman said. “I thought this place had all but been forgotten.”
“Well, we found it by accident… I’m James, btw. This is Lillie.”
They shook hands. “I’m Kay and this is my husband Gore,” the old woman said. Gore didn’t move. His body seemed stiff as a board but his eyes were clear and aware. He made a dry exhale as if in greeting.
“Would you like to sit down?” The old lady said.
The young couple looked at each other and decided to share their meal with them.
“There must have been a lot of people here at one point,” Lillie said.
“Oh yes. At one point there were hundreds. Last year we were three couples but now it’s only us that ever comes.”
James and Lillie looked at each other.
“Oh, nothing special happened here,” she said airily. “People used to come and dance, that’s all. We actually met here, Gore and I. Remember how you danced to impress me, dear?”
A smile crept up on the old man and exhaled like a broken vacuum cleaner on it’s last breath.
“Yes, you bumped half the people off stage until you had it all for yourself, hee hee. You were quite bad at it too, I’d never laughed so hard in my life”
Again, the old man exhaled with a smile.
“Yes, I knew that I loved you too then… But oh, listen to us ramble on. What about you? Are u married?
“N… No, we didn’t see the point,” Lillie said.
The old woman smiled sadly. “That’s a shame… It’s a beautiful thing, making the promise. It might be unfashionable these days, but I think there’s nothing more important in life than find a life partner.”
They were silent for a while soaking in the sun. “Well, we should be going,” the old woman said. “I’m glad we met you. I was very sad before you came, you know. That this place would be forgotten. But now I can be rest assured that at least two people in this world will know of this place, for a little bit.”
They watched the old couple go. When they were gone, James turned to his girlfriend. “You don’t want to get married, do you?”
“Hmph, not with you,” she said and munched on a sandwich and let the quiet sink in, the leaves rustling in the wind above, never gracing them. “We should come back here next year,” she said.
“Yes… Yes we should,” James agreed.
© Christopher Stamfors