‘What is reason but another tool to lie to ourselves…we can never know the truth, if we only use our minds to search for it. In fact, I don’t think we should search for it – rather, we should wait for it.’
The words were of a young man with curly blonde hair and green eyes, staring at the wide dark blue sea from a beach near Cinque Terre, wearing linen clothes: a pair of ivory shorts and an unbuttoned light blue shirt to cover his skinny torso.
‘What then are we supposed to do? Tell me, Andrea. Turn to magic? To religion? Don’t be silly. What would you do if reason failed to explain what has happened and why? We’d be stuck in a barbaric world of superstitions and witches,’ Salvador replied, changing his body from a relaxed position into a more focused angle: his knees were brought underneath his arms on which the young man rested his chin.
Salvador’s hair was dark brown, like cocoa, and his eyes were two hazelnuts. A similar pair of shorts and a lavender shirt were covering his tanned body.
In front of them, the Mediterranean Sea was calm. The day was heading towards its end: a red dusk with slashes of golden rays announced a warm and soft night. Far into the distance, a few pink and grey clouds were floating still. Closer to the two young men, a soft breeze moved the small waves that were breaking on the dark, ivory sand.
‘I would do nothing, if reason failed to reveal the truth. I don’t seek to explain everything. Some things don’t need to be explained…some things we cannot explain, and I am not sure we are ready to know everything that there is to know,’ answered Andrea as he turned his head towards Salvador. Their eyes met and both understood what words could not say.
‘You would trust what? Your gut? Instincts are primitive. They can lead you astray. We are not animals. Huh…and don’t start with following your heart. Look where that got you: on this beach, with nothing but the clothes you are wearing.’ Salvador whispered on a pressing tone, as if these were dark secrets that not even the sea was allowed to hear.
‘I wasn’t going to say either of them. But, if you want to know, I would have said to follow all three: your instincts, your heart and reason, while trusting in the path the Universe set out for me. I am fine where I am. I have no regrets. I trust in the stars. For me, they are sufficient’ said Andrea with a subtle sadness in his voice.
‘I sensed that’ the other man replied quickly, gazing upwards at the coming night.
‘That tone of betrayal, of sadness. You might trust the stars, but you are disappointed where they led you,’ anticipated Salvador.
‘That is true. I am disappointed. But I trust that this is temporary. Up there, nothing ever changes at all. Entropy is powerless against eternity. As up there, so down here,’ Andrea confessed, but his voice wasn’t convincing.
‘If you would have been more rational, you would have taken fewer risks, and more calculated ones. Perhaps then none of this would have happened’ the brunette man tried to console his companion. Salvador put his hand on Andrea’s shoulder. Andrea touched his hand and squeezed it gently, then laid his cheek against it.
‘Calculated risks? What is there to calculate?’ Andrea looked at Salvador with a soft smile. A bigger wave broke on the shore, echoing for a moment through the breeze. ‘We have only one life, Salvador. And it is running out of time. If we are too cautious we risk not living at all. I did what I had to do and as I said, I regret nothing.’
A small pause. Time stood still and the entire human history echoed through the men’s hearts. ‘If I wouldn’t have done it, the regret would have haunted me for the rest of my life. I rather have nothing but my values than have anything at the cost of not being true to who I am.’ The sun was descending slowly, falling bit by bit in a colourful line of thin horizon as the sky behind it got darker.
‘If I took calculated risks, I wouldn’t have met you,’ Andrea continued. Salvador looked him in the eyes. The waves on the sea got bigger, but the water was softer. ‘You don’t have to be more than you are. You are sufficient. This is sufficient: the sand, the waves, the air and the stars above. What more do we need?’ Andrea asked while staring at a few sailing boats floating in the distance.
The sand beneath them was getting colder as the dark was approaching. With each moment, time was eroding the warmth of life.
‘Do you remember when you wanted to stay at the edge of time and watch seasons change?’ Salvador asked with a friendly but mocking smile. ‘You told me, right after our first date, that that was your dream.’
‘And you laughed’ Andrea intervened with a giggle. Salvador nodded. His smile was now friendly but sad, probably regretting not wanting to do the same.
‘Don’t worry, even if I would have reasoned more and strived to be more rational and accurate in my thoughts, my fate was already decided. History is an eschatological wave, Salvador.’ Andrea looked up at the sky.
A few stars were glittering in the distance: faint but they were there, watching, listening. Bulbs of neon white light offering scientific proof of eternity’s print on our human world.
‘I know you left home for me. But I cannot help you, even if I wanted to: and I do!’ Salvador tried to defend himself. However, his defence was more against himself for not having the courage to be more like Andrea: free to die on a random beach with nothing but his own self.
Salvador was chained by reason, while Andrea was blinded by faith in the unseen.
‘But you can still be like me. Reason is the tool of limitation, Salvador. Let it be, let it go. Just live. When it’s all over, here on this Earth, it is over. But know this: although nothing lasts, nothing is ever lost’ Andrea tried to encourage him.
Deep in the sea, the fish were moving as their bodies dictated them: right and up, left and down. From the cold bottom where abyssal waters move on the mantle of the planet, to the surface where the first rays of the moon penetrate the sea, creatures were listening to their conversation.
Suddenly, white spirits began to float on the sea, as the final sailing boats docked. The night finally came and with it a new dawn for humanity was about to begin. Salvador put his arms against Andrea who rested his head on Salvador’s shoulder.
There, at the edge of a round globe, they watched the dance of cognition break down, dissolve and be freed by revelation: the Universe appeared to them both.
However, each one perceived it in their own way and, as a result, they both believed different things: the curse of humanity was still alive – the sense of free will remained strongly instilled in the two young men, both believing they were on their own unique paths when, in reality, they were on the same path: that of all humans deprived of mysticism, living in the illusion of subjective and manufactured truth.
Categories: Short Stories