“Something has changed in you”, said Rainy.
I sip my absinthe and then take a deep drag on my cigar, two things that keep me sane. I look down at my friend and pat his head and reply, “Yes, something has…”
The monsoon has arrived and with it the fornicating frogs, snakes and other creepy crawlies. Nights are cooler and days more humid.
“And?” ask Rainy expectantly.
“Oh…I need time”
“Time? No, you don’t…now tell me, please”
“Ok”, I reply reluctantly, “I had a dream last week when I was camping out in that wild elephant country. A dream that appeared a bit disjointed. The continuity person had probably taken the day off. It was my late wife. She was there and a few other people I knew. There was no malice, no anger in fact we made love…a gentleness that could dissolve the soul. A certain understanding existed between us. We were in this room with things strewn on the bed. The walls were green; you know the colour of that marzipan that I bought the other day? Her parents were in the next room. Strange, we never talked. It was as if we spoke with our minds and bodies. I woke up feeling like I had travelled a very long distance with the weight of wasted time on my back. I felt a bit lost; lost in a maze of my own making. The following day I walked up the hill to an ancient burial site. Stones piled one on top of the other to make odd shaped structures. Wild elephants frequent the area. I saw a tusker about 500 yards away. He saw me and raised his trunk to taste air. But he never made a sound, just watched me standing there. Then he walked to one of the graves and stood there as if contemplating or talking to the dead. A crow pheasant flew past. It was the wind that made me shiver for it carried my dream before it and ran it across the sky like a movie…it was as real as it could be. I abruptly turned and walked down the hill to the campsite. That night a leopard came calling and carried away Derrick, the camp dog, my faithful companion who kept guard every night. We found a few bits of him the next morning by the well. I was heart broken and returned home. I was to stay for at least three weeks.”
“So that’s why you returned early from you trip?”
“Yes. I was meaning to talk to you but the wheels of time keep running backward. I seem to be reliving my life minute by minute. I woke this morning to the tune of Oh Darling in my head…I actually got up singing the song…”
“You’ve got to stop the absinthe my friend. It is pickling your brain.”
“Okay, here’s what is happening. The past and present have merged into one. Reality is the physical world around you. Both are not in sync with one another. Your mind is attempting to make peace with the past by involving the present images to dictate your feelings. The question is about love. Maybe that is what is missing at the moment. You were divorced…”
“But what about the elephant, the images in the sky which I swear were for real”, I ask.
“The elephant was real. It represents wisdom…wisdom to understand the question of life and death and the relationship with each other. And the images in the sky were probably due to the absinthe.”
“Are you mad I wasn’t drinking…I don’t drink when I camp out…just smoke”
“Ah…well what did you smoke?”
“Humm…you have a point”
“I see you as a different person today because I think the wheels of time have finally stripped away the many layers that confuse your inner spirit. Most people drape themselves in layers of memories, of regrets and unhappiness. This camouflages the spirit…the pure being. Have you seen the face of a baby, the eyes and the smile? It is as if they are smiling at the pure being in a grown up.
Your dream is about what should have happened between you and your late wife. Nothing can be undone. But it can be accepted and then let go. For what is life? A mere breath carried away by gale force winds and then lost forever in the darkness of space,” says Rainy as he lays his head on my lap.
It begins to rain as night falls into nothingness.