All Paths Lead To The…

Ron’s new home wasn’t good, but not bad either. And as a PG it isn’t that he had much choice, yet few decisions remained in his palms. He chose this house, it was near a secluded apology for a beach, where random undergrowth ruled the sand. The balcony of the house overlooked the gray sea. Once when he stood watching the setting sun, the old lady who owned the house mentioned about a once-beautiful beach, but only dear lord knows what happened to it, and swimsuit people became rare species on this patch of land. But it was peaceful.

He had already enjoyed its peace. Not even a sparrow’s chirp, but only faint whispers of waves kissing the sands. Nothing but dead soundless darkness at night, but it wasn’t scary, oh no. He watched the lights which were far, far away across the sea, perhaps a ship’s late hours’ good byes to its harbor, he thought. His cigarette ditched him early that night, and he had fallen asleep to blank dreams.

Like an old familiar habit, it caught on to him, waking up early and standing at the balcony, watching waves because the sea was the only thing, which moved. Bright yellow sand hidden by thick dark green bushes wasn’t too interesting, yet he stood there watching. Once, as if an illusion, or a visual deception, a corner of his eye caught a red cloth fluttering somewhere, and disappearing in the next moment. He didn’t spare much thought and the illusion was forgotten by lunch hours in the office.

Of the three men who shared the house with him, one never seemed to make his way towards the balcony. Jimmy was his name, who smoked alone in a room, windows of which remained closed all times. He seemed to dislike the sound of the waves, and he slept with a pillow over his head, as if he wanted to shut off the sea, as if he wanted some memories to wipe out.

“He has a problem?” Ron enquired. But the other two either refused to talk, or hid something so casually that even Ron didn’t notice it. The only thing, which he noticed one lonely evening, was the fluttering of the same red cloth, which he thought was an illusion. It was but a scarf of a woman walking barefooted on the sands, gilded in the last rays of the sun. But such was her grace, such was the beauty of her walk and the flight of her hair, that Ron was captivated and hypnotized by her. He pulled a t-shirt over himself and set out to search for her, he ran and caught up with her, and realized that his home wasn’t anywhere near, but lost over the horizon, or hidden from the tress. He cared less about that thought now.

“I… I just wanted to say hello.” Ron said, as he paced behind her, for some distance remained between them. She turned towards him, and all beauty he had seen suddenly seemed to hide in pastels, all grace he had known was left behind, for her ways and her fragrance brought new life into him. At once he was in love, and he kept walking beside her, on a maze of paths, each path had a thousand foot prints of naked feet and not shoes walking in one direction. She spoke to him, in a voice, which reminded him of a waterfall, of a bell that chimed on a church, of a bird that sang outside its cage. “Do you want to go to the quicksand?” she asked, and at that very moment, a question that shook him out of her hypnosis. The sun was down, and he was lost in her ways, “I want to return now,” Ron said, “Which path should I take?”

But she smiled at his folly, “Isn’t this a pretty land? Where all paths lead to the quicksand?”

Misery was a crown which everyone wore that night, but Jimmy slept with a smile on his lips. For he knew that the lady wouldn’t haunt him with her visions for a year now, and it was just a year since he had lost his dear cousin.

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