The Literary Corner

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In an effort to forever expand the horizons of Lifestyles, we are now featuring a “Literary Corner” column where we will showcase fiction work in an effort to add a little romance, a little fantasy and a little dreamlike imagination to the mix. All readers are encouraged to submit original fictional work to editor@lifestylesafter50.com for a chance to be part of our new column featured all year long!

by Kali Kiran

The smell of the island has a familiar feel to it, overturning my notions of all that makes a human life a valuable one. The rhythms of a culture driven by desires all too foreign to a Western mind.

Time moves slower here.

Yet the city buzzes ceaselessly. Colorful jokes fly, gorgeous voluptuous women stand about exchanging expressive gestures. With the Equinox on the horizon, the assault of color and senses promising the heights of pleasure, I sit up at 3 am wondering why I can’t shake the feeling that life is a cruel joke.

I met a woman today.

A relative of my beloved, she drove us around the island, showing us the ropes, reminding me how fortunate and unfortunate it is to live in America. The depths of the infectious joy I witness here are rivaled only by the chaos – the warnings not to drink the water, the massive, neverending billboards every few inches, the pervasive American influence of aspirational consumerism at every turn.

I am thankful to be with someone who loves me. Someone who is comfortable with himself.

I keep winding down the list of ways to arrive at a life of purpose or meaning, and my sacred friend makes me promise to give it a rest – if only for today. He sleeps, restlessly, muttering in his native language as he dreams, and I – well, I stay up and type.

The Present.

Amidst this altered reality, the heaviness sets in, an aging of the mind, and the spirit. It is my heart that weighs so much.

The Island Hums.

These people move slow, unperturbed by “purpose” or “meaning,” instead finding fulfillment through family. and love.

I’m not one of them. I find home in a hotel room.

The transience, the impersonality of the furniture. The way the clock is always set, the way you can always rely on there being shampoo even though you forgot to buy some at the store three times in a row and you’ve started wondering whether you can create enough lather from the bar soap the concierge gave you instead.

The hotel room is home because of what it lacks – the discomfort of painful memories. Walls devoid of the smells of failure and regret, scent-free of dashed hopes and dreams. Alas, not without its own painful reminders – I’m off in a dream land most of the time because the present hurts too much.

As long as I keep running, keep typing, keep distracting, keep keeping, maybe there’s a chance I won’t have to face the reality of the sadness. The broken heart that never fades, fadeless mostly because it’s a wound I nurse with a vengeance, a near saint-like devotion.

But for now, I find color like I always do; art always heals the broken heart when the hour is late and the tea’s all gone and the heart is heavy and the dreams are dreaded and the room is silent and my bed is empty and …

Art.

For now it makes the pain go away.

If only for tonight.

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