Eyes like the center of the storm. Fixated at the path of his life as she travels beyond the half-way point of her second decade of living. Ideas seem to come out easily like water out of a tap, and yet here he still is. Her back set in the same position it was three to four years ago, vision blurred because of endless light pollution. The same arms cradle her as it had been on the same sheets half a decade ago. Sometimes, the same songs blare out of his speakers both as a matter of comfort as well as a quiet unwillingness to move on from his past happiness. As long as she is there, she is part of his memories, maybe as new or manipulated into the old.
As the world moves forward, he can’t help but feel like he is no longer taking the necessary steps needed for a better life. A life and a person that he can be, so much more than what he is now. Her potential is endless and if tapped right, she can conquer the world and conquer minds around the planet. Earning the elation from appreciators and scorn from enemies alike.
It is merely weeks after her 27th birthday. All around her everyone is projecting the image that they are progressing with their lives. Old friends getting hitched without warning here and there, her best friends becoming more preoccupied with their careers, moving up their respective ladders. While she, a born writer, artist and supposedly professional thinker seemed to have flatlined in the last five years. In that first two years, she was ahead of the pack. In her fifth year, she is now left behind.
In her mind, she is reminded of the mythology behind the Chinese zodiac signs. All 12 animals of the star system were competing each other in a race and she feels like the swine: complacent, confident but in the end tripping hard over her comfort that she finishes last.
Coming from a big city, her typist job seems so tiny in the context of 16 million. Skyscrapers and wealth distributed far and between the society. The touts of the system require them to be rich in money and also having their lives lived at fast paces. Marriage is essential. Children is the main goal. Once that is achieved, society views you as useless and is no longer needing of your service.
Her strengths lie mainly on her inquisitive nature and her ability to compose and arrange words into beautiful forms. But this is all she can do, outside of her expressional skills in art. If it were another city, and if she hadn’t been born to her family, the skills and abilities she has can never make her survive. She’s barely lucky: barely surviving, but barely succeeding, with a roof over her head and definitely able to eat in the morning.
“Everything’s coming too easy”, she says. “But everything feels so hard to get”.
Her lover tilts his head above, fixing his hair as he thinks of a response. He’s the kind of person who strives for everything independently. It’s probably an extension of his naïve but determined nature of his teens, where he insists on doing things on his own and sees more merit in doing things on his own.
In a sense, he acts as a semi-sensible foil to his overthinking partner, but is guilty of thinking too much as well. In some cases, it’s hard for him to be grateful despite all the fortunate events of his life. Nevertheless, it’s a piece of advice that comes back to him from time to time. And this time seemed right.
“As long as you’re driven by wanting something better than what you have right now, you’ll get it. Right now, it’s better to be grateful for what you have now,” he said.
“Not everybody can feel that way”.
“I am grateful, but I’m also haunted by the fact that everything can be so much better. Haunted by the fact that I can be so much better. Or You can be so much better. Do we deserve each other?,” she asked.
“Even if we aren’t, we wont know until it happens” he answered. “Even if things aren’t the way you want them to be now, it can be”.
In the midst of it all, her novel has yet to be completed. His near future seems bright with his visual ideas starting to come to life in the editing room of his film studio. The novel serves somewhat as an ultimate testament to her abilities: that of which has been touted highly by her peers but always doubted by herself. It is what she can do best. It may be the only thing she can do. Having the direction of your life resting on one piece of work is a heavy load, considering if the path has not been worked out and considering the fact that others’ paths are becoming even more visible as she heads for the horizon.
A desire to echo beyond their actual ends, is what brought them together in the first place.
There is no proper end to anyone’s story because all ends are proper. People will end their lives summed up by their legacies, however how small they be. Some will change the world, some will dazzle minds, some will just raise a perfectly good family. No effort made in life is a waste. It will be a waste if one always desires for more and more and more, without once feeling that something is enough. Wanting more and striving for better is fine as long as one is aware of their limitations.
But all she is aware of is her limitations. And frankly, the waiting seems like the hardest part.