short stories

~ A World Not Made For Lovers ~

~ A World Not Made For Lovers ~

Her hazel eyes dimmed with a sadness. There was a heaviness in them which pulled them down to the ground. There was the light of love still in there somewhere, but it had been suppressed down to the tiniest flicker in the vast darkness that enveloped every horizon of her inner universe. Like most lovers in this tortured world, she sat alone in silence and stared emptily into space, confused at the situation of existence before her. She knew deep down a sensitive soul like hers didn’t belong in this society of cruelty and trickery. She wanted affection but got rejection; she wanted passion but got apathy; she wanted to fly but was tethered down by the concrete gravity of reality. In her heart she felt betrayed that the gods had left her stranded in this environment. Her cards had been dealt and now, like a little bird in a cage, she flapped around hopelessly within her confines, aching inside to return to the place where her spirit belonged soaring free.

      We had met recently out on the road and now by circumstance I found myself with her in the Netherlands. A Spanish girl in Amsterdam, Sara, away from home, trying to get by and make her way out in foreign lands, but stuck in a struggle I knew all too well. “The people are cold here” she told me. “They are like robots. The men just fuck you and then stop speaking to you. I can’t make any friends. People put up barriers if they don’t know you already. Honestly, I have no idea what I am doing here.” She carried on spilling her pain and frustration, talking about her ex and her past failures in relationships. “I am broken but everyone is broken after a while, you just have to keep looking and find the person who is less broken than you are.” 

     Her words struck a chord with me and naturally it felt good to be around a fellow scratched and scarred soul. We continued sharing our thoughts about life as we roamed around Amsterdam, spending our time drinking in the cafes and bars, strolling down the canals and checking out the sights of the capital. At one point we walked around a museum and talked about life and travel and relationships. We looked at Van Gogh’s paintings – another lover driven to madness and isolation by the weight of the world. In his self-portraits you could sense his simultaneous love and despair for the human condition. Speaking to Sara while viewing the paintings, I stared into her eyes and saw that same tortured look. I saw that little bird inside longing to be free, to be loved and to belong to someone or something. I had seen it before in the most beautiful of souls I had come across out there on the road. It seemed that if you walked this world with an open heart, you were sure to suffer more than the average person. If you truly loved without a filter than people didn’t know what to do; often the other sex saw it as a weakness and inevitably you were left heart-broken and dejected. I thought of Van Gogh cutting off his ear giving it to a woman to show his love. Admittedly cutting off body parts was perhaps a little extreme but, like Van and Sara, whenever I fell for someone, I went in with all my heart and was inevitably left shunned. Ironically I was here with her but had recently fallen for another girl who had rejected me, and now I had only added to her misery by misleading her. I was also part of the problem. But I had my own problems too. We were both drowning in our own individual way.

     When I really thought about it, it seemed that it wasn’t just relationships where the ones who loved without a filter suffered. It was life and society in general. The more open-hearted you were, the more you were beaten and broken down by the nature of humanity. I couldn’t make sense of it. I looked out at the world around me and saw a brutal and backwards system. It was a place where the cruel and cold-hearted rose to the top. A place where sociopaths and narcissists flourished while the most caring and thoughtful were trampled underfoot. A strange game was being played and the people who were usually the winners were the ones with the fake smiles, the smooth lies and a cold, calculating nature. To be sensitive and caring was considered a weakness in this society. It wasn’t good for the economy. It wasn’t good for survival. It wasn’t good for business or strategy. The best rewards were for the merciless and uncompromising. Dog eat dog, as they said. Every man and woman and child for themselves.

    Meanwhile, those who loved with reckless abandon didn’t make it. They lingered in the solitary shadows and sidelines. The lovers. The dreamers. The idealists. The poets. The INFPs. Often this world didn’t know what to do with them. So many of them were cast out, shunned, neglected, or misunderstood. In the worst cases they were gunned down by the fear and hatred of humanity. John Lennon. Martin Luther King. Gandhi. Malcolm X. JFK. Abraham Lincoln. Aside from them you also had the sensitive and artistic souls driven to suicide or early death by the crushing weight of it all. Kurt Cobain. Hemingway. Winehouse. Kerouac. Ledger. Sylvia Path. Robin Williams. For such people to survive in this world, they needed to put up walls and toughen themselves up. But so many of them were clearly unable to do that, and consequently they were left burdened by feeling too much in an uncaring and hostile world, slowly being driven to death and destruction and alcohol and madness.

     Yeah, no matter how you looked at it, it was a world not made for lovers and I guess, like Sara, I knew opening my heart up to it would also leave me tortured, sitting alone and staring into space, confused at the situation of existence before me. But I didn’t really know what else to do. I was a man ruled mercilessly by his own heart. With child-like curiosity I explored the world around me. I tenaciously followed my passions. I lived fiercely according to my ideals. I loved without a filter. I expressed myself from my heart and soul. I thought these things would be good qualities in life but so far it had only made my life extremely difficult. People abused my kind nature. Speaking from my heart often caused people to distance themselves from me. My authenticity didn’t give me acceptance. My ideals and passions were not compatible with society. I guess I had the ability to stop being this way, but a part of me refused to let the essence of myself be diluted down by the hostile environment I had found myself in. 

     “You need to stop being so sensitive and ruled by your emotions.” 

     “Man up.”

     “Learn to play the game like everyone else.”

     I’d heard it all before just like the others had, but by now I knew I wasn’t going to change. Speaking to Sara as we strolled around Amsterdam, I was reminded how much better the world was when you had those sort of people around you. Just a day or two in her company and suddenly my faith in humanity returned. Suddenly the streets of society didn’t all seem to be doom and gloom with people like her somewhere out there. As long as you just came across a few pure-hearted people every year, it restored something in you; it relinquished the dread inside of you of your own species. Normally those lovers were the most troubled people, but in my eyes they were the most courageous, the most beautiful, the most precious. They were the ones who reminded you that there was still some hope left. The ones who reminded you that humanity wasn’t totally doomed. The ones who reminded you that there was still a chance to find some gentleness in the craziness of this world. 

    To the lovers out there fighting on in this world where so many cold-hearted creatures and demons run amok, don’t let yourself be swallowed up by the storm. Keep the flowers growing in your heart; keep the doves flying in your mind; keep the sun shining in your soul. Sara, little bird, if you are reading this, I hope you find your happiness and learn to smile a little more. Don’t let the weight of this concrete world grind you down. Don’t let yourself be broken down by those hollow-hearted and empty-eyed creatures. Keep your heart kind; keep your soul pure; keep loving fearlessly without a filter. When all is said and done, it’s the people like you that keep the soul of humanity alive.

thoughts

~ Walking The Shores Of Life ~

~ Walking The Shores Of Life ~

“Like footprints in wet sand, our lives are so fleeting and fragile – temporary cosmic patterns that will eventually succumb to the tides of transience. What we do with the time we have here shapes the patterns we make, and perhaps even influences a few who follow in our footsteps, yet everything in this universe including ourselves and everyone we love will eventually be swept back into the ocean of eternity. It is not that which should be a cause for despair, but which should rather be the salvation we have longed searched for. For with the knowledge that this is but a temporary dream, life becomes precious and wonderful beyond words. With this knowledge your mind is alleviated from trivial worries and stress, and you remember what is truly important in life. You do not wish to waste precious time on that which is insulting to your being, but to give your all to that which fills your soul and makes your fingertips flicker with excitement. You do not wish to waste time trying to overpower and destroy others, but instead to help and love the ones close to you – to make their existence a little easier, a little more filled with joy and colour and light and adventure. So go wild one: don’t be afraid to walk those shores of life with love and wonder in your heart, with the breeze of the cosmos in your hair, with the waves washing the sand from your bare feet. Don’t be afraid to wander wild and free through the dream of what it is to exist. Yes, one day your path will end; one day the sun will set on the horizon as you return to the ocean of eternity. But when that time comes, you’ll be ready to return to those waters knowing that you lived a life of joy, passion and love – rather than one of fear, hatred and regret.”

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(taken from my book ‘The Thoughts From The Wild’ available here)

thoughts

~ Incomplete ~

~ Incomplete ~

“She walked barefoot through the fields of my heart, untouchable like a ghost, her skin shining in the sun like the blazing light of the cosmos in all its glory. And now the thoughts of what could have been haunt those same fields as I sit alone in the night, hearing those voices of happiness echo in the wind before I return to that silence I know all too well. Some of us are just never meant to feel that union of love; to feel confirmed or completed by another soul. We have that empty space in the heart where we sit still in solitude and stare into skies above, waiting to be liberated from our pain, waiting to be saved from our own madness – waiting for someone or something to come deliver us to a home we know deep inside we will never touch nor feel.”

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thoughts

~ The Last Flowers ~

~ The Last Flowers ~

“The long storms have come and gone, and here I stand drenched in the rains of my own madness, offering you the last remaining flowers of my heart. I am not one of the polished prizes I know. I am scratched; I am scarred. I am stained with a dirt of which I’ll never be cleansed, but I still have some of my soul left and I hope that’s enough, even though I suspect that it’s not. Happiness never seems destined to those who love fully, but still I can’t help but let my eyes lift to those horizons of hope which have haunted me my entire life. Something ineffable inside of me tells me that these flowers have a home somewhere out there before they finally wither away and die. And to that place I shall walk until the final breath of life has left my lungs. To that place I shall walk to see my joy blossom, if only for one fleeting moment in this bittersweet and beautiful life.”

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poetry

~ Bum ~

~ Bum ~

“When your eyes hit me, I am transported,
out to foreign lands, to which I’m deported;
where I trek cross-country toward the coastline,
and hitch-hike down the highways of your mind;
where I wander through wilderness with no goal,
and sleep rough in the shipyards of your soul.
And each day when I watch the setting of sun,
I don’t care where I’m going, or where I came from;
‘cause when you look at me, I become the gypsy one,
happily lost in your world, like a drifting bum.”

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