CHAPTER 2: IN THE DARK.

 

              He grabbed his jacket, lit a cigarette before taking a walk to the coffee shop. The green land once again turned into city of melancholia.The quiet surrounding is haunting. An old lady was just passing by with a wagon across the street. She’s probably on her way to the grocery store  just like the rest of the days. She lives at the Senior House–few blocks from his apartment. 

         Romaine is a Vanaduan citizen who works in one of the biggest companies in Varuelan territory, a beautiful city with beautiful lakes, quality wines and mountains. It’s been a rough year for this time with him. There are many thoughts that’s been bothering him. An urge to try something new. An offer to work in Santa Lucia, a tropical city far South. He’s quite indecisive but he knows that if he’s not going to try, he’ll be thinking about what it could have been. 

      “I’m leaving. I don’t feel alive in this city anymore.”

Finally. he reached the island before sunset. The boat left him to the port then continued to sail away. A boy with a horse came to offer him a ride. he’s  These are not sand but shells making noises in my every step. The sun’s reflection was illuminating made the island looked as if it was floating in the middle of the ocean. I was still high from the adrenaline until the darkness started to cover the whole paradise, then visited by fear.

I’m far away from home. 

I notice a little boy and a girl holding a lamp walking towards my direction. They already knew I wasn’t from the island even before I stepped out of the boat.

They whispered something but then they looked at each other and gave me a sweet smile. Then took my hands and we walked until we reach a little house.

There was an old lady and a girl about few years younger. She was putting something on her grandmother’s feet but stopped as soon as she notice us coming.

I was being swayed by the wind to as if it was telling me to follow Him. Waves starts to calm down as the small boats reaches its parts with endless bed of corals  and fishes gathering together closer to the boat. Sign that people respect the ocean. The reflection of the bleeding sunset was another exceptional thing about the island.

My city is well-organized, the system synchronized very well from the bottom to the top. Our government provides everything for us including education, reliable transportation and even paying women in giving birth as an addition to future possible leaders of the territory. We have no problems of people who might be starving and people who have nowhere to sleep. Everything’s provided by the government. Everyone’s free to study what they want and as soon as you finished school, you become the slave of your job and work to keep the safety the government provides for you.

“You must be kidding. That’s how the government are supposed to be, aren’t they? Come with me.”

That’s what every people dream about all the time. I have to pump water everyday to fill up containers before I can wash and cook, Take the goggles and dive into the water to fish for dinner. I also want to have a house with a nice bed, a kitchen and a shower, just like those houses they have in the city. When it rains, we couldn’t go anywhere. I want to leave and go to places and see different things everyday and when I get tired, I want to have a house where I can grow vegetables and ride a bicycle to go to the city.”

Her name was Cecilia, a woman with dark hair different from the women in Vanadu. She’s always curious. Always up on a tree and accidentally dropped a bag of fruit on the ground and almost hit me when I was passing by. I was surprised to see a woman who can climb a tree. I honestly thought it was a monkey. She came down to apologize in a centralized language most people from San Clemente never learned to speak even in Vanadu. She’s bright.

She asked me to climb the tree with her once. I was embarrassed to tell her that I never climbed a tree before and I admit I never thought of doing it.

“Maybe because you only climb mountains.”

“We never climbed the mountains, we have trains to go up there.”

“That’s better! Then I can just sit and watch of the mountain from inside the train! My mother used to climb the tallest tree here in San Clemente. She always contemplated the beauty of the horizon from there so she can see a clearer picture of the world.”

Have you heard of La Paz? I’m going there soon and to work and save a lot of money so the gates from the mountain will let me go through.”

“Why don’t save money from here then go straight to the mountain?”

“It will take me forever. To save money here you must learn how to play music and dance. That’s why everyone wants to learn how to sing and dance so they can move to La Paz. My mother taught me something else. She taught me how to write. She gave me some books so I can also learn how to read and that’s how I learned how to speak this language.

There are only chosen people who can work in Pampang, the rest are fishermen but once a year they invite people to try out because once the performers saved enough money, they move to La Paz.

I still don’t understand why my mother never taught me anything aside from learning how to read and write.”

There’s a different world out there and I didn’t know why of all places I ended up to that island and meeting Cecilia.

I rented a tiny house where I can stay until I feel like leaving. I had a small window where I can see the sunset and the ocean. For me it was life. I went down to the Pampang where they trade their fishes into rice. For quite a while I gave up the life I used to know and lived life-like a local from San Clemente except that I was white.

They were all kind and genuine people. Everyone smiled at me whenever I tried to do the same things they do. Cecilia was my guide. They all love her. I don’t see any reason why they should leave that paradise.

Cecilia was lying down on a bamboo raft while watching the kite carried by the wind.

“Amazing isn’t it?”

“Did you know where the kite come from?” asked Cecilia.

I never really asked myself about it so I had to research where the idea actually came?

Who would have thought that a farmer who was up to plow the field one windy day and thought he should tie a string to his hat so it wont be blown away by the wind while he was wearing it, a kite will be born and will reached up to this era that even a person from the island learned to construct one?

She got up and told me we should jump off the cliff. She pulled my hands but she was too excited as she ran barefoot as usual focused towards the direction of the stones sitting beside the water, didn’t bother to watch her steps but luckily she never stepped on something and fell. She’s so carefree as if the universe will take out all the sharp stones she might step on or rocks will hold it from breaking and the water will be there to catch her.

These things don’t happen quite a lot in Vanadu unless you’re a child. Adults have to think first, watch our steps and make sure it’s safe before we even make a move.

I heard the sound of a boat coming from the water. Cecilia jumped off the cliff as soon as she saw the boat and swim directly to the direction of the boat.

It was Lucio, one of the few men who sail his boat from La Paz to San Clemente to take the travelers back by schedule. Cecilia asked me to bring the bag of fruits the boat while she sat and started asking questions about La Paz.

Lucio says the same things.

“There are bright lights everywhere. People are dancing and drinking always talked about many beautiful things and always seemed to be having a wonderful time everyday.”

It’s because sometimes people from the city pay him to bring them in the middle of the ocean to watch the sunset while they listen to music.

Hearing Lucio’s stories also made me curious about La Paz.

People went to take the boat and we had to go down. Some of the tourists gave him coconut and Lucio shared us one.

It’s sunset and we decided to sit on the rock while we share a coconut juice Lucio gave us.

“What would you once you get to La Paz?”

“I don’t know yet. I just want things to become different everyday. What about you? Did you already know what you would do before you came here?”

Make sense. Maybe I should bring her there, but I have to ask permission to her mother but she never brought me to their house and introduce me to them.

Then when she get there to the mountains, she will realize that she misses the island, and when she’s back, it was already full of people. The bed of corals are gone, the life was fast.

        It’s been a while since the last time I followed up on writing my book. I promised to published it this year but I couldn’t finish it. I’ve lost my momentum, just like how I’ve lived my beginner’s luck and did not follow up. I was going to write about my life, about love and about my travel to different places I never thought I’d be but here I am, stuck in fear of losing things I don’t even own. Love, adventure and maybe security if I don’t destroy it. I’ve developed my consciousness and together I’ve also develop weaknesses. The more I know, the more I find out how small I am.