Within a Boy

By Patrik Siljestam
Feb 23, 2011

        My lungs fill themselves with air and I feel blood rushing to rejuvenate itself with the fresh oxygen. My heartbeats are somewhat unsteady and faster than usual. I worriedly observe my watch once more, although knowing that three more minutes dragged along won't end this vigil swifter. My knees lose their faith in the worthiness of keeping my body upright and in response my now trembling hand clutches the cold and dirty steel railing next to me. I remain on my feet in a slightly crooked pose, looking like an old man. Anxiously, I grasp for air and with a surge in my body a current of emotions start to flow. Doubt rushes up my spine and agonizes my mind with thoughts that overpower any shred of hope left within.
        I search my environment desperately. People hurry to wherever they are going; their narrow vision anchors itself at a distant goal so that they won't have to recognize the presence of other human beings around them. With gloomy clouds, the sky obfuscates any merry influence the sun could have which dulls the already grey city and the few colors it has. Everything around me screams for my money, lures with the assertion of fulfilling my desires and threatens with the hollowness I will feel if I don't cover it up with their artificial stimulants.
        I tell myself that she is going to come and decide to wait longer. To confirm that the promised time already has passed, I hauntingly dig my eyes into the watch once more. My eyes catch a glance of my fingers and I realize they turned purple from the damp chill of a spring that yet has to allow a single flower to blossom. The vehement fumes from the blustering traffic reach my nose and I wish we'd chosen another rendezvous. Maybe at a cafe with smells of freshly ground coffee, sofas to sink into and playing the kind of music that will make you want to stay there and order dessert to savor with your cup of hot chocolate.
        Lost in my own world, my body twitches when vibrations in my pocket indicate I've received a text message. Without really knowing what to feel or expect, I pick up my phone and see that it's from her. She missed the train and will be about half an hour late, it says, and part of me feels relieved. She is still on her way. I look around, this time with a sliver of hope again present, and decide to head over to a nearby cafe. What I find is more of a generic coffee shop, but I don't have much time to be looking for a cozier place. I decide to order some hot chocolate, but I skip the dessert since the ambiance isn't exactly what I was looking for.
        As I look for a table to sit by, I see, except for the nice but somewhat bored barista, an old woman reading a newspaper. She looks unusual and has vibrancy not often found in people her age. Her eyes meet mine and feeling compelled to say something, I greet her and turn toward an empty table. Her voice confounds me as she asks if I can help her read some of the smaller text in the paper, since she forgot her reading glasses. I should feel slightly annoyed, since I was looking forward to have a moment to recharge my confidence before the girl arrives, but instead I just sit next to her with my hot chocolate and start reading the passage. It's about indigenous people struggling to keep their traditions alive and although I'm not aware of it, something within me shifts.
        We end up talking in a timeless manner. She entrusts me with her purpose in life which is to preserve the knowledge of her indigenous culture passed by her father onto her. She didn't realize this until she had a car accident in her midlife. Then it became evident that if she had died, all that spiritual and natural knowledge would have been lost forever. Moved by her words, I uncover seeds of desires for my life, which to my superficial surprise and deep satisfaction revolve around much more than just a girl. Realizing the potential depth of my path in life and the dedication needed to walk it, I tell her about various things all carrying the same essence: fulfillment of human existence.
        Time subtly intrudes this sacred space as I realize half an hour already passed. My lungs fill themselves with air and something even subtler, connecting me with unseen filaments of wisdom. My heartbeats are emanating life, pure and strong. Standing up, I feel my feet connecting to the core of the planet and an ageless immortality assures me that whatever may come, it all has its purpose. Serenity settles and I look through the windows of the coffee shop. My knees soften as I take in the view of an impatient girl waiting for me, folding her arms against the chill of spring.

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