Between the dawn and the morning..
I stood at the seashore, staring at the horizon. The sun was slightly above my head and the wind was touching my face with a sweet caress. I was standing very far from the waves where even the sand was dry. I was trying to not ruin my formal clothing as I had stolen the sea-time post work.
I liked my job. The statistics and the graphs paid me well. It required a good amount of creativity to be good in marketing and I was a creative person at heart. My friends and colleagues went out on dinners and drinks to chill out while I just went home to snuggle in my bed with my favourite book. When I felt too full, I wrote my heart out. My words, safely stayed into the pages of my dairy and none of them were put forth on a display for the world.
Sharing made me feel vulnerable. I didn’t even tell anyone that I wrote. It was my little secret.
But lately, even writing didn’t come to me as it did before. Maybe because there was nothing I felt so intensely that it would make me write.
They say that the darkest hour is before the dawn. However, it isn’t the most difficult one. The most difficult time is the time between the dawn and the morning. In darkness, there is grief to hold on to. In light, there is happiness to cherish. But at dawn, there is an infinite nothingness. ‘Nothing’ is felt so intensely that the fear of the darkness and the hope of the morning gets pushed away in a corner. Dawn is the most difficult period because it involves a lot of waiting and the most difficult thing in life, is to wait….
I kept contemplating these things as I stood by the sea. I felt my nothingness amplify itself. I felt at a loss of thoughts that could be put into words. I needed some inspiration. Something that could make me pen down everything that was inside me, craving to come out, dampened by all the emptiness.
Suddenly, I felt someone beside me.
I looked in that direction to find a guy with his shoes tied to his belt, black formals folded till his knees, black tie loosened and the top two open buttons of his white shirt showcasing his well-built chest. With one hand he hung his coat on his shoulder and his eyes were lit with a childish excitement. The same kind I could see on the faces of the kids playing in the water.
Mostly, I would’ve taken him for a creep and moved away. But his attire and his happiness charmed me like a magnet, and I couldn’t help but stay.
“Why are you standing here? The water is nice 10 feet away…”
I was about to tell him that I didn’t want to ruin my formal clothing but looking at him, I couldn’t quite say it. I couldn’t tie my heels into my belt like him so I lifted them in my hands and folded my formal pants up.
I couldn’t deny I was craving for the sea as well.
I walked towards the sea and he walked along. He didn’t say a word, nor did I. As we reached the waters, I stood at the distant ends while he walked slightly ahead. I really wondered why I stayed at the bay for so long when I actually craved to stand in the water. Didn’t I come here often to have some inspiration? Why did the fear of ruining my office wear stop me? Were my clothes really so important? I couldn’t quite understand myself.
The coat carrying stranger gestured me to come ahead, deeper into the water. I just shook my head. What I wanted to experience couldn’t happen there.
He shrugged his shoulders and turned towards the horizon.
I stood there gazing, contemplating, making my thoughts flow. Slowly azure turned into gold, and gold into bright red and the day entered dusk. Moonshine and the twinkling stars replaced the golden reflections of the water and it appeared as if a silver cover was spread on the sparkling sea.
When he turned, the spell broke.
My mind had emptied itself.
He walked up to me and smiled.
As if on cue, I started walking with him along the coast line on the wet sand.
He was a stranger, I knew that perfectly well. Yet he seemed to understand me, it seemed like he could feel what I was feeling. The aura around us was intense to infinity. And no vocabulary I possess can describe it. Either, there are no words to that feeling or I don’t know them yet.
After a while, he broke the peaceful silence that accompanied us. Had he not done it, I still would have taken back home a good memory, a memory of meeting someone who understood me without needing any exchange of words.
“Why did you come here?” he asked me.
If a random stranger had put forth this question, I would have either said it was none of his business or that I was here just like that, for you know, chilling…
But to him, I knew there was no point lying. He may not know my story, he may know nothing about me. But he did know me. It was just so evident!
“To find inspiration,” I told him.
“For reuniting with my first love, writing!” I told him what I hadn’t told anyone in so long. Why? Even I didn’t know.
A genuine smile appeared on his face.
“What inspired you to write before?”
“So you stopped loving?”
“No, it stopped paining.”
He sucked in a deep breath.
“So, did you find an inspiration?”
“Nope. But being here cleared my head. I stood at one place for a long time. So much so that the waves couldn’t take the sand off my feet while going away. And then I realised standing at one place for so long may hold you tight, but when it goes away, it leaves something behind. The left over sand would only go if I changed my place slightly. And then I realised that it is important to keep moving, and never to stand too firmly.”
He smiled, “You felt this because you were standing too close to the shore. You didn’t dare walk deeper. Had you done that, you would have realised you need a firm ground to hold you tight against the waves lest you shall fall and flow away with the water, to never see the same shore again. Maybe to never breathe again.”
It was my turn to smile now, “It all depends on who you love and who you wish to let go. You love the sand and hence waves make you fall. And I love the waves so I find the remnants of sand irksome.”
“How will you ever be happy if you love the wrong one? Why love someone whose basic nature is to go away? Waves are never meant to stay. Why not love the sand? It holds you tight even when the waves take away your balance!”
“Do we really choose the ones we love?”
“We should. It is very easy to love. It’s basic human nature to love and to crave for it! So why not love someone who can love us back?”
“Does it really work that way?”
“I am saying, it should.”
“What brought you here?” I couldn’t help but ask.
I looked at him, puzzled. Did he mean it literally or metaphorically?
Reading my face he said, “I start hyperventilating in closed places. I had a meeting on 40th floor. Couldn’t climb so much, and lifts make me anxious. So as soon as I was done, I came here!”
“How did the meeting go?”
“Oh, it went well!”
I just nodded my head and kept looking at the patterns our feet were forming. There were so many more. Corals, birds, animals and people. So many people had walked there before us. And newer patterns had replaced old ones. Just like someone else would replace ours.
Just then, a huge wave came by, sweeping our feet.
A small block of wood came floating and I stopped it with my feet. As I stood there and contemplated, he looked at my face with so much wonder that it mesmerised me. And then, I let that block go.
He raised his brows.
I brought mine together.
“Why did you hold it and then let it go?” he resorted to words as non-verbal communication didn’t quite work.
“The block of wood?” I confirmed. There were so many things I’d let go that day.
He only nodded.
“Well, they say a block of wood can save a person from drowning. And I felt like I was drowning. So I held it,” and then I looked into his eyes, “but I soon realised I really don’t need it anymore. Hence, I let it go, so that it could save someone else!”
We held each other with our eyes for a few seconds.
“Nothing inspired you today?”
I shook my head, but even to me my answer seemed shaky. Maybe I was getting inspired, after all!
“What is your inspiration? Maybe I could get some too.” I said
“How does it matter? You need to find your own inspiration!”
“I have tried a lot.”
“You have been oblivious then. Nature inspires you. Of all the people, I came to you, to ask you to come towards the water. You know why? Because the way you looked at the horizon, told me that you wanted to go nearer but the din inside your head wasn’t letting you. Your formal wear and the high heels and the 9 to 5 slavery that resides inside you was stopping you. And maybe all you needed was someone to remove the blindfold, and I chose to be that someone! Nature is all you need to pursue your first love…..”
There was more, he had stopped on a cliff-hanger.
I looked at him with expectant eyes to say it all.
“And… well… if you reunite with your first love, maybe you could try accommodating another?” he grazed his hand over his head and I couldn’t help but smile.
“I don’t know that. But right now, there is a lot of place for food!”
And maybe first time in the history of knowing a person, dreams, inspirations and fears were shared before the name and origin.
That night, when I lay alone on my bed, I wondered how beautiful the morning was. The morning that had arrived after an empty dawn. The memories of the dark night were fading away in a corner. And it was finally proven that the right one would come without any warning signals. There will be no drama, no lights, no knights in shining armour. There would just be he, me and the sea and so many constellations above. He came in like the sand, holding me tight, between the dawn and the morning, just like he was supposed to come…..
He came, to stay!