Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.
Ludwig van Beethoven
In the shadow of the tree there was a dark figure. Constantly looking at the house. Its light reflected in Charlie’s eyes. He was standing there nearly motionless, blended into the scenery. Nobody could’ve seen him there, if they didn’t know where to look at. Hours passed without anything special happening. The only thing noticeable and somehow impressing was that Charlie didn’t move an inch. His eyes were fixed on the big window. Caught by the light like a fly. Pushed by his desire not to miss anything happening inside.
Then something happened and Charlie became electrified. The excitement finally made him move. Nearly impossible to see, but still a move. He would not miss what Karen did next. What was she doing now? Usually she was going to bed around this time and Charlie guessed that she’d go upstairs to the bathroom now. He’d need to climb on the tree then to still see what she was doing. But that was no problem. He had done that often before and knew the easiest way up.
But before Karen reached the stairs she turned around and looked out of the window. She was looking right at him. Charlie wasn’t sure if she could see him, but she must have felt he was there. She must have felt his presence. Of course she did. They had a connection. They belonged together. She belonged to him. And now she looked at him. She wanted him to know that she knew he was there.
It was just a short look then she turned around and walked up the stairs. As fast as he could Charlie climbed up the tree. And before the bathroom light turned on he and the tree became one. Her daily routine began and he didn’t miss a single move. Before she left the room she looked over her shoulder. That look was meant for him. She knew he was there.
Karen also turned on the light in the bedroom. She wanted him to see her. She knew he was there and she wanted him to see her. Why else would she turn on the light?
She undressed. Her clothes fell on the ground and her long, blonde hair softly stroked her back. Another look over the shoulder. Another look at him. Charlie remembered that she had done this quite often in the past. And she every time she had wanted him to follow her.
It was clear to him why she did that now. She wanted him to come. She wanted him to follow her up the stairs and into the bedroom. She knew he was there, she wanted to be seen and she wanted him to follow. She was playing a little game. The come and catch me game. Charlie never lost in any game.
The light turned off and Charlie jumped down the tree. He would follow her. He would do whatever she wanted. And she wanted him to join her in the bedroom.
He rushed around the house and searched for the keys. It didn’t take him long, cause he saw Karen hiding it. Silently he opened the door and entered the living room. Before he headed to the stairs he went to the couch. It was still a bit warm where Karen sat. She had eaten chocolate. Her favorite kind. He put a piece into his mouth and then went to the stairs.
He stood right in front of the bedroom. Just one more step and she would be able to see him. Charlie tried to imagine what he’d see next. She was waiting in her bed for him. He could hear her breathe. With one eye he looked through the door. There she was. On her bed. Waiting for him.
She was laying on her side, facing the opposite direction of where Charlie was standing. Another part of her game. She was pretending to sleep already. But she wasn’t. She was waiting for him to come.
He sneaked into the room. She had her eyes closed. All part of the game. She was awake.
He scanned every bit of her. Her slim body under the blanket. Her beautiful face. The soft golden hair. He wanted to touch it. He wanted to feel the softness. Just one time. Charlie stretched out his hand and ran with his fingers through her hair. She turned around and a loud scream broke the silence. What was she doing? Why was she screaming? She was supposed to be happy to see him. She needed to stop. She needed to be silent. Charlie needed to do something. And he did.
Liam looked at Jessica. She was laying next to him on her bed. The only light around was the flickering light of the TV. But it was enough to make him see her face. It seemed emotionless. Liam opened his mouth and closed it again right away. She must have realized, but there was not the slightest expression that showed it. She didn’t even look at him. Her eyes were fixed on the TV screen. Liam knew that she wasn’t even half as interested in the commercial as she pretended to be.
He opened his mouth again. And once again closed it without saying a word. He simply didn’t know what to say. There were things on his mind, but where should he start?
Jessica was still pretending not to realize. Pretending! She had become world class in pretending.
He thought about getting a bit closer. It was worth a try. He moved. And so did she.
In this moment the space between them was not only metaphorical. And it grew bigger and bigger. Unstoppable. Irrevocable.
“Jess?” “Hm?” She still didn’t look at him. He waited with the hope she would finally do. Nothing happened. “Jess?” he asked again. Same reply as before, but she didn’t move. “Jessica!” he said more intense. “What?” she asked and finally looked at him. And now that she did Liam didn’t know what to say. “What is it?” she asked annoyed. “What’s wrong with us?” “What do you mean? I’m pretty fine.” She definitely was annoyed. “No, I mean what is wrong with US? As a couple.” She gave him a weird look, but didn’t answer. As only he could see her face better, her eyes would show her what she was thinking.
“Listen, it’s not how it’s supposed to be like between us. It’s not what it was like before. We’re becoming more and more distant.” “Ahhhh come on…. You’re crazy.” “No, no I’m not. Or can you honestly tell me that everything between us is totally normal?” That short moment of silence was answer enough. “See, you can’t. But if we don’t do anything now, it will soon be too late.” She was looking at him. Emotionless. For a long time the sound of the TV was the only thing to hear. Maybe it was already too late. Something between them was broken and Liam felt as if she was running away from him. He felt lost in this relationship. Liam always thought that they belonged together. Their love has been like home – a safe place. Now he didn’t know where he belonged. Jessica seemed miles away and he didn’t know if they’d ever find back together. He didn’t know if they could find their way back home.
“Could you please say something?” Liam asked only to hear something else than his thoughts. She remained silent. “Jessica, please! Say something! Just anything!” “I don’t know what! What shall I say, Liam? I don’t know!”
“I think there’s no direction left for us to take.” Liam said silently. “So you think it’s over?” She almost sounded relieved. That was it. The sign. She wanted it to be over. There was no direction. They had walked a long way together. They had come far, but now they were standing in the dark. It was over and Liam knew it. He got up and nodded.
It was time to go.
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I’m sitting here, staring on my phone. I’m not sure what to do. Or better said I’m not sure if I really want to do what I have in mind. Should I, or shouldn’t I? And what am I expecting? What if I’ll get no reaction? Do I even want one? Yes, I do. What if I get one? And what if I don’t like the reaction I get? Too many ifs. But the question that tortures me most is: What if we were meant to be?
I had a long talk with two of my friends and as often before we ended up talking about men. And then we were talking about him and they asked all the questions that I had no answers on. I had no clue what went wrong. But the result of that talk is that I can’t get him off my mind again.
The screen of my phone goes all black and with a swipe of my finger it lightens up again. I’m staring at his last message. A simple good night. I remember the first time we have ever talked. He was charming and funny. It was so easy to talk with him. I never felt like I could say something wrong. I never really had to think about what to answer. I could simply enjoy the talk. John always made me feel good. And not just because he knew how to make compliments. He simply made me smile, even in moments I wasn’t feeling like I could.
Have you ever been so in love that you are already smiling when you see the name on the screen and you haven’t even read the message? Have you ever talked a whole night through and still felt like it wasn’t enough? Have you ever just listened to his or her breathing and it was pure entertainment? Have you ever loved somebody so much that you forgot time, room and everything else around you? And have you valued that love enough?
I think I didn’t. And I think he also didn’t. At some point I thought he changed. Looking back I know that I changed too and I had made it hard for him to love me. I was so focused on not being someone he could love that I might have become someone he couldn’t love. I was a challenge even though I didn’t want to be one. In fact I had always thought I was easy to get along with for boys. Well in terms of friendship that was true.
I never really knew how to deal with his love. I never thought I was worth it. John … he was funny, charming and clever. And so caring. All I ever asked for. And I? I was just me!
When I finally accepted that that was enough, it was probably too late already. Step by step he was leaving me. Step by step I lost him.
The great little things that I had loved so much became less. He was with me, but still not. He always seemed miles away. I started missing him and more and more often I felt hurt and ignored. The good times became less, but when it was good it was great.
In a way it stopped all of a sudden, but on the other hand it was a result of me not being able to take it any longer. The new John wasn’t the one I wanted to be with.
Silence. Sadness. Ignorance. And now it’s all coming back. I’m missing him with all my heart. I never got over him. Deep down inside I was still waiting for him. I was hoping for him to miss me. I was hoping for him to fight for me. I was hoping on getting John back. The good John. The John I fell in love with. And I’m still hoping for all that.
I tried to show him that I don’t need him. That I could leave whenever I want. But I need him and couldn’t just leave. It was too damn hard. I was hiding so he could miss me and ended up constantly asking myself where he was. Even when I tried to trick myself by thinking I wouldn’t care.
I just want him to know that I still love him. That there is no other one who completes and touches me the way he does. He needs to know. And I need to know. Otherwise I’ll forever ask myself: “What if?”
I sat on the ground and watched the show. The show – that’s what it was. All just a play. I remembered a different time. We had been happy. They had been happy. It wasn’t like that anymore. It felt different and it was. I didn’t know what it was, but I knew there was something.
Once again I had the chance to compare them to others. I had done that before, just to end up with the same result over and over again. They were missing something the others had. Of course they couldn’t be exactly like every other couple in the world. No person was like any other person. Comparing persons to each other is just pure dumbness. There can never be a satisfying result. Every person has got something special. And they were special. Of course they were. Like anybody else on this planet was special to someone. But they also used to have something special.
Every couple I had watched during that time seemed to have something special. Something between them, that somehow connected them even if they weren’t touching. I felt something around them. Something I still got no words for. And I was sure I haven’t felt that around my parents for a really long time. Actually I couldn’t remember how long. It must have been a while.
My mum used to glow. Of course not literally, but I could always sense the energy around her. Her strength, her energy, her contentedness. Where did that go? She was smiling, but was she really? I felt like the answer was no. I remembered a different smile. An honest one.
And my dad? His eyes. His eyes changed. As if he was constantly asking for something. His loving eyes were merely questioning. I don’t know what that question was, but the expression became stronger when he looked at her.
I have never seen them fighting. People fight when they have problems with each other, don’t they? They tell each other what’s wrong. They tell each other what makes them mad. They tell each other what needs to be changed. They fight and they make up again. Don’t they? They fight, because they care. They fight for a change. They fight, so things can become better again.
I think they forgot to fight. I didn’t knew it back then, but I do now.
The weird questions I was asked a couple of times before popped to my mind. Others must feel it too. There was something wrong. But I didn’t understand. They hadn’t been fighting. They never had any problem. We had been perfect. We had been perfect together. We, our family, we loved each other. What had happened to them? What was happing right now? We were meant to be together. Our family was perfect. There was no fighting. There was love. Well there used to be.
All was different. I knew it was. Even though they didn’t say anything at all. Even though they were putting on a show. When I watched them I saw two people that knew each other for years already, but they seemed like strangers. They had shared a love, they had shared a life, but still they seemed like strangers. There was no connection between them. There was nothing special anymore. No mysterious power. They were just strangers.
My mother looked up and smiled at me. A more honest one than I usually got to see on her.
“Don’t you wanna play with the other kids, Lilly?”
“Jamie!” Finally Alice had opened the window. I was standing here for quite a while already and my feet started getting cold. Not to mention my hands. I grinned at her. “Hey Alice.” “Did you throw stones at my window?” I nodded and scratched my head. “Why? I mean, why didn’t you just text me? And what are you even doing here?” The truth was I simply liked the idea of doing it. Who ever does this nowadays? “I thought it would be more special. I came to pick you up.” “Pick me up?” “To travel the world with me.” “Travel the world with you?” I heard a scent of surprise in her voice. “Yeah, won’t you come down?” “I thought you were joking when you said you wanna leave this town.”
Earlier this week we had been for a walk. She never had liked walking her dog alone in the dark. We were living in the safest and most boring town around and still she seemed to be scared of this place. I loved the darkness. And I loved walking around in the darkness. Everything was so different in the dark. Calm and alive at the same time. And my thoughts were never as clear as in the dark.
It had been a very long walk and we had been talking and talking and talking. Well most of the time I had been talking. And at some point I had felt the enormous desire to just walk on. To never stop. To just leave this place. I knew that feeling very well.
Sure it was my hometown, but I kept thinking that I had outgrown. I knew every single part of this town. There was nothing new waiting for me. I had met every person living here. There was nobody new to meet. And those people I had met here? Well, their worlds seemed quite little to me. I had often asked myself if just a single person in this town had ever dared to dream big. If just one wanted more than just this ordinary life. And how many of them had even been travelling? Not the “We have been travelling to see aunt Maggie” kind of travelling, but the “going abroad, seeing other countries, seeing other continents” kind of travelling. There was so much to see in this world and I wanted to see all of it. I wanted more. I wanted to ride on waves, to walk on sand, to dig in caves and find treasures. Not for the gold. I would just throw it away. But for the story. I wanted stories to tell. So when I’m old I would have stories to tell my grandchildren. Maybe I could also write about it.
I had told Alice about all that. We were dreaming for hours about all the foreign places we could go to. There were so many places on her list. So many things she wanted to see. The pyramids in Egypt, the Great Wall in China, Venice, the Taj Mahal in India, Machu Picchu, the Petra ruins…
That had been the moment I told her that we should leave this town. That I wanted to leave. I had always wanted to do that, but I also had known that I couldn’t do it alone. I had been waiting for fate to come, because I was afraid of being alone in this big world. I had been waiting for a brand new day. I had been waiting for too long.
“I wasn’t. Come away with me, Alice. I’ll be waiting outside til you’re ready to go.” “That’s insane Jamie. I’m not coming. I can’t leave and you also can’t.”
My neck started hurting from looking up at her. Speechless I looked on the ground and watched myself drawing circles with my feet. I knew she was still at the window and watching me.
“Why can’t we?” “Why can’t we?” she repeated. “Because we have a life here, Jamie. That’s why. We can’t just leave.”
A life here. What kind of a life was that? The kind of life were safety kills your soul. The kind of life were there’s no room for creativity. No room for originality. No room for being different.
“I can’t do another year like that.” I looked back on the ground. “Like what?” I didn’t answer. I didn’t feel like she’d understand anyway. I thought she was like me, but I was wrong. I thought she would be the one on my side when I forever leave this town behind me. That she would be my partner in crime. The one to be with me when I finally start to live. I was wrong. I simply whistle to a different tune.
And then I knew it. I needed nobody. I could do it all alone. I wanted to leave this town and nothing could hold me back. I knew that more than being alone I was scared of never getting out of here.
I smiled and looked up at the window again. Alice was still there. “I’ll see you soon.” I said and added “Or not.” in my thoughts. I turned around and walked away. And I walked on and on and never stopped.
I never saw Alice again.
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Jordan grabbed his collar. He felt like he couldn’t breathe. He loosened his tie a little but the feeling didn’t get any better. It was this awful place, it took his breath away. And these people. He would rather be alone. He had never seen most of them before. Why were they even here? And why couldn’t they understand that he didn’t want to talk to them? Jordan wanted to be alone. The sky was falling down on him and all he needed was to go outside. He needed some fresh air. And he needed to be away from all these people.
The moment he laid his hand and the doorknob he heard his grandfather’s voice through the microphone. “Might I have your attention for a moment, please?” His look wandered over the many heads and finally stopped at Jordan. His look laid on him for a while, then Jordan let go of the doorknob and folded his arms. He knew that his grandfather wanted him to stay and listen. As soon as he was done he’d leave.
“First of all I want to thank you all for being here. It means a lot to us. And I know that it would also mean a lot to Rachel. Many of you went to see her the last days. When my wife and I saw her in the evenings she had always welcomed us with a smile and said Mommy, daddy, you won’t believe who came to see me. She spent her last days surrounded by people who loved her, remembering the wonderful time she had on this planet earth. I wish she would have had more time. I wish I could’ve given her some of my own. It seems so unfair to me that someone so good and filled with love like Rachel had to go so early. I am still here and my Rachel disappeared into the dust. Why is that? It doesn’t make any sense. I am old and not half as good as Rachel was. She deserved my time and she deserved less pain. But maybe I got more time so I can become as good as a person as Rachel was. Angel belong to heaven. Love and duty called her someplace higher and she went up the stairs. I want her near. I want her here. And I could scream, shout and cry.
But then I remember her strength, I remember her faith, I remember her hope and I remember her love. The immense strength she went through live with, her faith in god, the humanity and that everything will turn out the way it should be, her hope for the good and that her loved ones would never have to suffer and her love for life.
She had so much love to give. Rachel’s love touched so many people. On a cloudy, fresh autumn day she could make you see the beauty of the colored world. In a snowy winter night she made you aware of the peaceful atmosphere. When others were sad she made them smile again. And when others forgot to love life she made them remember.
I remember that all and I know that she wouldn’t want me to scream and shout and cry. She would want me to love life. To love life for her. To see the beauty in every day. So that one day when I walk up the stairs to see her again I will be able to tell her about all the beauties that I’ve seen.” He stopped for a moment and Jordan took a deep breath. His grandfather looked up at the ceiling and this time he spoke directly to Jordan’s mother.
“Rachel, we miss you. And we will honor your memory by loving life as much as you did.
May your strength give us strength. May your faith give us faith. May your hope give us hope. And may your love give us love.”
A tear rolled down Jordan’s cheek. He turned around, opened the door and ran away. He didn’t want to hear all that. All he wanted was his mother back.
I was on my way to Rhiannon. She had called me earlier to ask if I’d have time for her. Of course I had! I would always have time for her. We were friends for quite a long time already. I had met her on my first day in kindergarten. I had been shy and not very eager to stay, but then Rhiannon came to me. Actually she sort of danced into my direction. Her red curls had been jumping up and down. She had stopped right in front of me and scrutinized me with her green eyes. I remembered that I had been wondering if she was an elf. Then she had taken my hand and showed me around. Ever since she had never left my side and I never left hers.
I was expecting to find her in tears. And I did. I only had a second to see that she was crying then my face was buried in her bushy hair. I tried to convince her to let go for a moment so we could go inside, but she didn’t even take notice. I maneuvered the sobbing something, that had little to do with the Rhiannon I knew, inside.
It took me approximately half an hour to calm her enough to understand what was wrong. She was crying because of Adam. Of course it was Adam’s fault. It always was. That idiot! He was the happiest man on earth to be with a girl like Rhiannon, but instead of appreciating her he was always fighting with her. He should kiss the ground she was walking on, but he cared to little to even notice how much he was hurting her. There was a time when they had been totally happy, when she had constantly been smiling. And I had been happy for her. Of course I had, nothing was more beautiful than a smiling Rhiannon. But somewhere along the way their love had started falling apart and her heaven turned into dark.
“I don’t know what to do. Should I leave him?” The honest answer would have been yes. But I couldn’t just tell her to leave him. It had to be her own decision. I wanted her to be sure about her feelings. I wanted her so see what I saw. That she deserved better. And a little piece of me wasn’t sure if I wouldn’t say it out of selfish reasons.
“You need to listen to your heart. There’s nothing else you can do. Deep inside your heart you already made a decision.” “No, I really don’t know if I should stay with him or not.” “Rhiannon, I know you. You are so strong. Even if it doesn’t seem so right now.” She smiled for short moment. “Listen to the voice within you. What does it say?” She gave me a serious look.
“Sometimes I wonder if the fighting is worthwhile, cause we’re losing the precious moments we could have. I can’t even remember anymore when the last time was that we were just happy together. Nothing is like it was before.” She said. But I felt like she had more to say, so I waited for her to continue. I could read from her face that she was deep in thoughts.
“I always had a dream what love should be like. I thought that love is a scent of magic. And besides all adversities it would simply be beautiful and feel good. And I thought love would be wilder than the wind. A love so strong that it blows away all troubles. I feel like I belong to my dreams. But I’m still not sure if Adam is a part of them.”
“Does the relationship with Adam feel the way you thought love would feel like? Listen to your heart and you will know.”
She leaned on my shoulder and I was hoping that listening to her heart would one day lead her to me.
Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.
Ludwig van Beethoven
Larissa’s eyes followed a raindrop that was running down the window pane. Another one. More and more. Some were racing. The rain became heavier and Larissa gave a sigh. She used to love the rain, but now she couldn’t stand it. The rain played drums on the window pane and every drumbeat seemed like mocking to her. The rain was mocking her. That was Mother Nature’s way of laughing into her face. Every drumbeat reminded her that he wasn’t here with her. The rain against her window brought back sweet memories. Bitter sweet memories. Sweet because it was such a wonderful time and bitter because it would never be like that again.
The rainy days had been by far the most beautiful time she have had the last three years. She had snuggled up in one of Marcus’ pullovers and he had held her in his arms. They had just been staring out the window and had listened to the sound of the rain. Sometimes they had been betting on the racing raindrops. The winner never got anything, but it had been fun anyways.
Marcus used to say that he loved the rain because the world seemed so different afterwards. As if the rain washed everything bad away. There had been a time when she knew exactly what he meant. Now the only thing that seemed different to her was the rain itself. It was by far lonelier and no longer fun. All there was left was the mocking.
Instead of enjoying the moment she tormented herself with the memories. She tormented herself with the thought that he wasn’t there. How much she wished it was different. How much she wished that Marcus was holding her and whispering into her ear. The rainy days were the days she had felt closest to him. They had shared secrets. Marcus had told her about his dreams. He had planned a future for them. He had told her about the beautiful children they would have. That he wanted his little girls to look exactly like their mommy. How he’d frighten away every boy that would come to close to his little girls. How he’d teach them everything he knew. And the house in the green, where they could sit and listen to the rain for the rest of their lives. The house that would have enough space for a big family.
That was all gone. The great time they’ve had was gone. Just like Marcus. They parted and Larissa was alone. Staring out the window and listening to the sound that she could no longer stand. The steady, bothering drumbeat that hit her heart. The one thing that she could no longer stand – the rain against her window.