Harsh Words Lightly Uttered
A dream sequence:
He’d forgotten all about consequences. What if there really was a God? Not gods or a goddess, but the old man with the long white beard and long white hair and fire and brimstone in his eyes; the unforgiving and unforgiven one. He’d tried to live an ethical, even a good life, but what if that wasn’t enough; too much but not enough? What if all one really had to do was to believe in Him and not believing … well; there might be consequences.
Then, in the space between dreams, a flashback of sorts, perhaps an epiphany:
“Rodrigo, tú no tienes corazón” his mother had once told him.
She’d followed through viciously describing how little he cared for anyone else. He never really thought it was true, at least on a conscious, intellectual level. He was selfish, sure, but not very different from any other seven year old. He couldn’t even recall what had set her off, probably a fight with his sister, but her tirade changed him profoundly, made him much more vulnerable, constantly fretting over how he affected others, and developed a hard protective shell in which he usually hid his feelings from everyone else. Children rarely if ever consider the consequences of their words, parents, even very loving parents, sometimes make very large mistakes.
For better or worse, that sentence changed him. He sometimes wondered if he was a better person because of it. The only thing he knew was that because of that one instant, he’d never really been the same, never evolved as he was probably meant to, never experienced things openly and honestly or behaved in an unfettered manner. Not yet anyway.
Somewhere in time, lost for the moment, a man paces.
His age is hard to tell and his mood even harder to discern. He’s not a hard man, not really, although he’s hard to understand. It’s not his speech, that’s fine, but his inner core. Perhaps, in part, that’s because he has no idea who he is and he’s been someone else for so long that those who might know who he is have forgotten, or at least, haven’t thought about him for a very long time.
Somewhere else, perhaps in both time and space:
A lithe woman, her age hard to determine sits cross-legged by a large fire, albeit safely contained in a fire pit. She sits by a lake in a forest, a domesticated section of a forest frequently reserved for scouts or 4 H clubs or even for mere tourists who can afford the fee (it’s not that expensive). Every once in awhile it’s rented to groups seeking enlightenment, ancient or modern, real or illusory. She has lovely long dark hair, full but very straight and very shiny, the kind of hair oriental or Latin women sometimes have. It falls just north of her waist and there, it’s cut in an abruptly straight line.
She seems somewhat dark complexioned but not very, a kind of light olive skinned tone somewhat darkened but not weathered by the sun, as though she’s just recently tanned. Or perhaps, not tanned at all, perhaps she’s just naturally dark. She wears very little, — sweating lightly from the fire’s heat. Her bright brown eyes, really a very dark orange with flames of their own, are open but glazed in a way to make one think they might as well be closed. Perhaps she’s in a trance, or maybe just dazzled and confused. Probably both.
For some reason she believes she’s tuned into a man’s thoughts.
She wonders why; then, in that missing instant between dreams, he fades away, slowly at first and then so quickly and thoroughly that, in a flash, while she remembers remembering something, the memory has gone, and the harder she tries to recall it, the more it fades until she realizes that it’s gone, gone to that place where things that never were sit around there own campfires in their own trances, sometimes almost remembering us.
 © Guillermo Calvo Mahé, Manizales, 2010; all rights reserved