I wandered around, streets after streets, the dim lights of the city blurring the panorama. I kept on moving slowly the muscles of my body, trying to reach for something, for a place. Somewhere I couldn’t discern yet but I knew I would end up finding if I just carried on walking on this journey.
I wandered inside the parks, along the lanes and the towpaths I stumbled upon. The lights went down but I went on. I couldn’t possibly think of any whereabouts to land up at. I came across those faces, some gleeful and others quite bleak. And in my mind, I wondered who these people were. What had their day been like? What were they expecting from the dead of the night? I pondered on the uncanny possibility that perhaps they and I were much more alike than all the physical variations that seemed to distance us. We might have been closer to one another in the most mystical of ways — if only we had followed the same path. Bewildered, I kept on moving forward, in an attempt to leave behind the countless doubts that arose from these interrogations.
I sat down for a moment on a weathered bench along the canal. My hair blowing in the wind, I looked for an answer in the breath of fresh air, as if I were giving all my trust in something I could not either name or describe. It wasn’t a cry for help, but rather an other- worldly conversation with the universe. The atmosphere became bitterly cold as the night approached. Thanks to the surroundings, I felt lingeringly more at peace with myself. Perhaps it was the beauty of the view offered to me, or merely the stillness I could grasp from being in this setting, in an authentic part of nature, undisturbed and unscarred.
I was observing the passer-byes, each and every one of them appeared to awe me on a greater level. Suddenly the wind ceased, or perhaps it had already been a while but I had lost myself in a train of thoughts. A stream of consciousness that also seemed to distance me from the ones that were walking by. I pondered on the curious equation that was distinguishing us. Were my thoughts so transparent that anyone encountering me would be instantly pushed away by the nonsense I was mirroring to them?
And I wondered. I stayed sitting there, in silence, for hours. I kept on musing about the insanity, the trivial, the significant — and all that life encompasses. The tragedies that one goes through and the blissful times that seem to make up for it. If someone had dared to take a seat next to me, a tiny chance might have existed that some answers would have come to light. Yet for hours on end, no one chose to venture on this apparently menacing journey. What was scaring them away?
The unknown, the irrational, the unreal — all of which was merely the reflection of a sense of loss. I was lost. And so were they. Yet, what truly differentiated us was a fear of facing it which they owned whilst I didn’t. It must be in this epiphany that I eventually found the meaning of this long and wearying stroll, the answers that I had vigorously requested a more potent although invisible force to give me.
I could not discern where I was anymore. Had I been to this part of the city before? For, with all the confusion in my mind, I certainly felt as though it was the very first time I was walking on those towpaths. There was a newly-painted sign across the bench I was sitting on with a brief history of the area and a quote that read: ‘For all those that we lost at sea’. I felt a chill through my body. My mind wandered some more and led me to explore a darker train of thoughts. What if I had drowned myself in these cold blue waters? Would I have found myself in this obscure part of the underworld? Or would I have lost myself? The song of a bird took me back to reality.
And there I was. Lost, as I had been for most of my life. Lost in the found and found in the lost. The only question that remained was how many more people had I laid eyes on without ever truly grasping the truth in their eyes and how many of them held the truth of being lost.
In these contemplations, recognizing how lost we might have all been, I found myself.