In the books she read and the movies she watched, the weather always matched the mood of the main character. The sunny days, with breezes coming from the sea and whipping the hero’s hair around, were the good days. Those were supposed to be the days of love and laughter, high spirits and fun. The rainy days meant trouble, danger, sadness and despair – the thought that all was lost and would never be recovered.
Real life wasn’t like that, she knew, as she looked out the small window in the room belonging to her and her room-mate. There were bars on the window, of course. It wouldn’t do for the troubled patients to sneak out into the gardens at night. She wondered if the windows were small because so many of the patients were small enough to fit through slightly larger ones.
The night, she noticed, was warm. Warmer than it should be for the time of year. Perhaps, though, it was only she who was warm – she who had spent the last hour and a half sobbing into her pillow again. Her room-mate had been so annoyed by the noise that she’d tutted, gotten out of bed, picked up her pack of cigarettes, and gone out, presumably to the enclosed patio where she could smoke.
Looking out the window, she wanted to have a stern chat with Mother Nature. If movies and books were based on real life, then it should have been raining. It should have been raining.
A girl, a young woman really, will walk around the tree lined campus. It is a fairy-land, with gorgeous trees and small, squat buildings peeking around every bend in the twisting paths. The swing-set will be populated with the laughing, the confidant, the oh-so-cool older students. Her classes will be held in carpeted rooms with wooden panelling, in buildings with spiraling staircases and that smell of old wood. Her time will be spent in the tea house with the wood-burning fireplace, or at the small library or in the surrounding town’s adorable cafes. Ventures into the greatest of cities will be frequent and interesting. Her friends will be women, mostly, and her professors will know her by name, by writing style, by her very soul soon enough, as she will pour herself into the unrelenting and fascinating school-work.
A girl, a young woman really, will walk through the wide streets, entering campus and quad from the very streets of the suburb of the city. Her surroundings will be bustling rather than quiet, extremely collegiate and always full of students, both the young and the old, hurrying from one place to the other. Her classrooms will be small, but not quite so small, and she will learn to read the writings of conquerors and philosophers, of dictators and kings and mere professors of other times. She will be amongst a small group in a much larger place, and her outings will vary from visits to the cafes of 57th Street to tours of the grand theaters and museums. Her friends might be misfits like she’d been and perhaps not so intimidating.
A girl, a yound woman really, sits and thinks and deliberates. She cannot decide. She must decide.
There is a fascination that people seem to have with creatures of the night. Look at the amount of novels, movies and TV shows dedicated to vampires and werewolves – the latest Twilight craze being only the most recent and romanticized version of these creatures.
I’ve never been one to really believe in things like this – monsters, ghosts, things that go bump in the night. I’d love it if they could be real, only because having creatures like that around seems to make life very much more interesting, but I’ve always been a “prove it” sort of person. Such is my attitude towards religion as well, but that’s for another post, sometime in the future when I have the nerves for it.
Back to the adoration, or at least fixation, that so many of us seem to have with vampires and werewolves – I wonder where it stems from? Yes, things of danger are always interesting, especially when you’re snug in your bed reading or in a padded chair at a movie theater. But then monsters and hags and ghouls should be dealt with just as often – and yet they’re not. We seem to love the idea of a tortured soul, someone who is human some of the time or still resembles a human in day to day life. Something about the moral questions that arise from a lifestyle that involved killing and maiming seems to be intriguing, something we’d like to delve into – as long as it’s not our own problems of course.
Ah, the musings that surface after watching “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer” at midnight…
The wind has been building up for hours – howling and moaning and shaking the trees free of their leaves. A mass of grey clouds, impossible to see in the dark night sky, sits above everything, threatening to release more than the drizzle that has been making the world outside a wet, slippery place.
Then, suddenly, there is that flash. So bright, so sudden, like an enormous camera from up above taking a picture of this glorious, wild scene of winter. The lightning flashes quickly, piercing through eyelids and warning the sleepers in their warm beds and toasty homes of what is to come. The lightning is so quick that no-one’s really sure if it was really lightning or perhaps just a strange light coming from something else outside.
But there is no mistaking what the bright, almost audible crack of light was when the thunder roles in. At first, it rolls in softly, like the tires of a car crunching on a gravelly driveway. Next time the lighting comes though, the rumble of the thunder sounds closer, more threatening. Finally, as the storm reaches its peek, the thunder cracks loudly, as if something were whipping the storm into a wild frenzy, the wind stronger than ever and the rain and hail pounding down on any unlucky souls who happen to be outside.
The sleepers in their warm blankets roll over and smile at the loud noises, feeling secure and peaceful in their beds. Or sometimes they quake with fear, even knowing that they are perfectly safe. The storm outside doesn’t care though for what the people think of it – it will rage and billow and cover the world with wet until it calms, seemingly of its own accord, and goes to sleep itself.
Standing at the edge of the yard, beyond the pool, beyond the odd bust of the Indian chief, right in the flower garden, trying hard not to step on the precious buds, is a girl. She’s wearing a short t-shirt and hugging herself against the cool morning breeze that ruffled her sleeves and her long hair. She closes her eyes and smiles into the morning sunlight, feeling glad despite having slept only a handful of hours.
When she opens her eyes again, she really looks, really stares hard at the view in front of her. So strange to have a yard end and have the wilderness begin right after the fence. The valley stretches out below her, and she gazes at it intently, trying to see wildlife – a few deer perhaps, a coyote. As usual, she sees nothing but the shrubs and trees and the vast greenness of the hills.
At last, she raises her eyes beyond the valley, beyond the hills, to stare at the tiny patch of blue, slightly darker than the sky, that is right there in that little break between the hills. The ocean. Sometimes she can even smell the salt-air from here, despite being miles away.
Eventually, she’ll walk in her bare feet back into the house and have breakfast with her family, who will all be waking up early due to jet-lag, just like her. That first morning of every visit to Los Angeles’s beautiful hills is always like this – magical.
For a moment, the heat rises from the very tips of the toes all the way to the smallest nerve-endings in the fingertips and from thence to every part of the face. The heat rushes through the veins and tendons, searching out every muscle that can be flexed and made taught. For only a moment, all this happens unfettered by thought, by reality, by anything except the pure and unending rage.
In the one, pure moment before thought, the body is entirely out of its owner’s control, ruled by temper and animal instinct. But for a moment only. Muscles taught, blood pulsing wildly, hands clenching and unclenching, the thoughts nevertheless rise to meet rationality, reality and morals. The rage fights to be heard, to be let out, and while the body might lash out, hit, rend, tear and scratch, it will now be done with the knowledge of what is right, what is wrong, and what hurt is being inflicted because of the temper.
Rage and Temper – two harsh masters of which we all would want to be free. Alas, they are part of our natures. It is only that in some they rise to the surface more quickly, while some are lucky enough to have them lie dormant most of the time.