Fiction: Orlando (Revised)

I became blessed at that moment, or so I thought. The moment where time stood still. The moment where I knew everything had fallen down around me. The moment I was made.
It is the heart of what I became.
Whatever possessed me to take up the burden of this life, I will never know, but it was done, and now I cannot go back.
I can never go back.
I am the Earth’s servant. I bring Death and I exist nowhere.

Here is the scene:
The sand, cold underneath my feet. Quiet, everything quiet. The water pounding against the sand in rhythmic time. Slowly, the sky becomes lighter, the blue coming out of the blackness of night. Time moves again, and there is a sliver of light over the water. The orange brighter than any other light, hitting my eyes and making me squeeze my eyes shut in response.
I am awed by the first light of day. The morning.
Because I have not slept in a thousand years.
The sun rises while I am lost in thought, and the fire of it inflames me to more than just a spectator.
But I cannot move from here. I must watch it all. The coming, the dawning, the fire. I don’t exist here because this is how I am supposed to be. I sit until I start to burn.
The dead have no life, yet they revere it.

Later, now. Something calls to me. A memory, perhaps, of when I was alive. I remember touch and feeling. I do. But now, it is almost impossible to feel anything. I have existed too long in the shadows of life, only to be seen as something different. Something not to be loved. Something unclean. Unholy.
So I strive to find that holiness. That which makes me exist here hasn’t let me find it yet. The churches won’t let me in to feel it, either.

Then she came to me.
I didn’t know when I first saw her. It was while I was standing somewhere. I remember that. But she came up to me and asked me for something inane, like a cigarette. I remember telling her that it was bad for her.
She said she didn’t care. I think I loved her when she said that she didn’t.
She smoked, and watched the waves with me. Yes. That’s where we were: the beach. I was watching the sunset this time. I always did prefer the night to the day. In the daylight you are so exposed. People can see you, and I did not want that.
But she did it anyway, while I was sitting there contemplating more about life. I did that from time to time.
And then she asked me why I came here.
She said she had been watching me. She asked why I came here every night to watch the sun set. What is it, she asked, that made me come to the same spot every night.
I had no answer.
I told her that I was looking for the answers.
The answers aren’t found here every night, she told me. They are found in being with others.
Something broke loose at that point.
I left her staring at the waves, smoking her cigarette.

Picture it later now.
I am working for a protest group; making signs, hanging posters, sharing of myself, giving back to humanity what I have been taking from it. I protected them in the square at night when the cops try to take their tents.
But I still wasn’t happy.
I gave of myself so much that it hurt (I even fed for the cause) and still the answers didn’t come.
Where was my self?
This question disturbed me greatly. I had become lost in other people.
And then someone told me: Don’t be a hero. You need time for yourself.
I had had nothing but time.
I turned to them and told them I was leaving.
They watched me walk out the door and down the street.

Now?
I can see something else in the sunrise, when I watch it. There’s more to me than what is wanted of me. I exist nowhere except in my own soul, and that is how the universe will see me in the end. Timeless.
And the answers don’t come easy, but they are felt.
I took up this burden.
So I must live with it.

(This story was inspired by the film “Orlando” starring Tilda Swinton.)

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