The ride across the river soothed him. There was something in the gentle flapping of the sail, and in the way the prow cut through the still water that eased the clamor in his soul. The river flowed around him like his dreams at night, lazy and indulgent. He looked at the horizon and thought of the love he had lost, found and was in the process of losing again. The sky looked like a painter’s canvas waiting to be filled with the fluffy figures of clouds, transformed by experience.
He wondered where he was going wrong. Had he not said the right words? Was he not trying to do the right things? Was his habitual silence to be interpreted as indifference and coldness at best and even malice at worst? Was it hard to see that it would be the same on this side of the mirror too? But then he had always misunderstood relationships. Invariably, he would be caught on the defensive unable to put his point across. Inevitably, he would succumb to what was being said and thrown in his face like a dirty shower of autumn leaves, dried and aged. It was an endless circle of poignant pain.
The boat executed a slow turn around a bend. A bird flew overhead calling for its lost mate mirroring his quest. The trees on the bank stood like wise old men conferring over some important detail not understood by life. He ran his fingers through his hair and was reminded of a similar action from the past. How different things were then! Everything was new and innocent. The shape of things experienced could be caught in the hollow of the palm like an earthen lamp aglow for a festive evening. Nothing was to be lost but there was everything to be gained and stored in the form of burnished memories.
Now on the horizon he could see his approaching destination. The time had come again. Should he follow the path laid down by his heart…or by his mind? Once before he had followed the path laid down by his heart and had thought he had succeeded. But that path had been a disguised circle and he was back to where he had started. He wondered idly whether life was a series of concentric circles arranged to look like the ups and downs of a mountain road. Everybody came back to the same point in the end. Perhaps it was only perspective that changed, not the path.
The boat bumped gently against the jetty and people gathered at the gangway and jostled to be among the first ones to get off. Yes, he thought, the time to face the truth had come again.