Every morning, sunrise or not, there’s one thing that remains the same – I wish I were someone else.
I wish I could sleep; that I could eat, cry.
That I could die.
I guess the bitterness stems from not being able to move even an inch from my post for too long a time now. I was moved here even before the world started killing each other, before people like you have become too lazy to walk. I am older than the first automobile but I am not any more knowledgeable. At least them, well, they move from one place to the next. They see everything.
I see the same things.
I see the same square, almost unchanged after more than a century and a half. The same old shops from the same old families, except one or two who, I am prepared to bet even if there’s nothing to bet, I am sure would close after a year or two. Five years at the most. Just like the previous shops before them.
Believe me, I know.
But people like you come and go. And from them I hear everything. In some ways, I guess they let me see everything.
When I was young, a boy talked to me. He told me that one day he will change the world. He was so innocent; he never even took more than a step out of this town. But dream he did, and boy, he dreamt big. Naturally I told him he would fail, but of course he didn’t hear me. Then, as if to stop him from thinking up of any more evils, a stray dog caught his attention, very playful it was now I recall. The boy followed it as it ran across the square; in its mouth was his cap.
The next few seconds, one could see the boy hit by a speeding wagon.
It did not help that he was a beggar. Especially not in that time – you should consider yourself very lucky indeed. Anyway, some nights I could still hear a voice saying, “Someday, I will change the world”.
Personally, I think it was a witch’s dog.
But children don’t talk to me often. Most of the time, it’s travelers’ company I had to endure.
I would muse, as if there’s anything more to do other than to delight in bird’s poop, and there they’d start proclaiming their dreams, woes, and beliefs out loud that one could never really accuse me of eavesdropping.
This one whiner of a man, from his clothes I would say German but who knows really, well this man would tell anybody who would listen how appalling things are – how the inn where he was staying knows nothing of the word “comfort”, how the world fuss too much about politics instead of abolishing it, how the baker’s bread was too stale, too burnt, how facetious are the people who call themselves writers but really can’t write one worth a thing, how too little, too much, too good, too bad anything is.
That’s too long a sentence? Trust me, you’d talk, too, anytime you can, if you’re me.
Truth is, I guess that man just wants to be loved, or to feel that he is. The two are very different things, I believe.
At particular days, or nights, I would even be forced to listen to the matters of the heart. Many nights I can recall women – young and old – adding their tears to my fountain’s pool, bemoaning how cruel life is. They’d go on saying how they regret everything – why they marry too early, too young – but most of all, that they married a man like their husbands. And how they regret being the plain, homely, uninteresting woman they’ve become.
Or rather allowed themselves to be.
I find it very difficult to identify with them, at least at first. But then I realized we have something in common.
And it wasn’t the homely appearance, mind you.
But yes, all the people I’ve met, all who told me their tales, knowingly or not, there’s always one thing we all do have in common.
Inevitable now it seems how these people have in fact transformed me. For, liking it or otherwise, I have indeed become just like them.
A statue humanized.
And now I want to become just like you. A real human.
I still can’t decide if these tears are for Despair, or for her twin, Desire.
At nights like this, when the Wind dances with the leaves, I remember the night I heard the melody that never fails to touch me all these years.
The song of a gypsy woman.
“And when Omeiru, bid me adieu,
Adieu, adieu, not I love you,
Now dear Omeiru, I don’t have you,
Adieu, adieu, adieu…”