I would like to make things do what I want them to do but, alas, they resist. Life, it seems, is this process of applying one’s spirit to the animate and inanimate world in hopes of somehow budging it. It is not easy. It is not readily done.

The world is a mass with an inertial force that both moves forward and stays in place, only not in the measures we want. When we want to move it forward it is sluggish and stays put; when we want it to stay without moving, it hastens forward, skipping merrily into uncharted territory.

Against such a foe, one cannot hope to change the big things. Our aspirations, if they are to have any hope, must be small and human. We can, perhaps, nudge the world slightly. Its course will not change, but for a moment we will have the satisfaction of having some minuscule effect on it.

(Along the beach promenade, the couples linger in the dying light. The old, elegant gentlemen with silk overflowing from the breast pocket of his jacket leads his small, white fluff of a dog for an evening stroll. It will be his last, though he is as yet unaware that this stroll is different from any other he has taken at twilight. Yet this evening will be unique.)

In the lonely apartment, where I sometimes take refuge, there is solace if you know where to look for it. It is not to be found in the emptiness, of course. It is to be found in the fullness that becomes evident when one listens.

There is nothing so quiet as solitude. Nor as deafening. Alone, I can hear everything because of the quiet that surrounds me; in the quiet it resounds with brutal force.

Periodically, I have the urge to explore this solitude, though it is my archenemy. I crave it even as I abhor it. What the source of this strange dichotomy is, I do not know. I do not know why I am called to face my enemy. I only know that I am called and I must answer.

In the quietude, I repeat commonplace refrains to myself so that I will not forget them: “all that glitters is not gold”; “a stitch in time saves nine”; “the only way back is forward.” They are commonplaces, and yet they are comforting in my distress. If I do not repeat them, I will forget them, so I write them down in the hopes that little jottings will help me along. It is a feeble hope, yet feeble hopes are all we have to sustain us.

The walls of the blank apartment are covered with a sort of scrawl that I cannot decipher. It is written in big, childish letters. I feel that if I were to listen hard enough the letters would somehow transform into crystalline voices that would speak clearly to me.

So I wait, seated patiently in the only chair, in the middle of the filthy wooden floor. Something must happen, I say to myself. All this patience must be rewarded at some point by an answer, a voice, a hint.

So I wait. Eventually, I am certain, something will happen.

2 responses to “Solace”

  1. Matu Avatar

    dear Kevin,
    it will, no doubt it will happen, when and only when you´re ready to receive it,
    I´ve learnt lately to enjoy this solitude,though more than once I find myself ready to start grumpily complaining about it, when, alas! I remember my choice, then, confirm myself the richness of whatever you´re able to find out when in solitude, silence becomes one of our best assets, so to speak,
    I couldn´t and wouldn´t agree more with your words!
    here´s one of my favourite phrases:
    ´ama la realidad que generas y nada detendra tu vuelo´
    on the belief you handle Spanish confidently, I´ve made up my mind not to translate it,

  2. Silvia Avatar

    The ideas have always been clear,but the words and phrases acquire more powerful and subtler meanings with their new combinations.

    Hearing your voice now (pauses,voice quality,tone) is a privilege for those that appreciate your writings, your comments on life, feelings. A real treat for the non-native teachers of English.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.