Late one morning the man was awoken, quite suddenly, by what seemed to be a blistering “crack!” somewhere above. Far, far over his head; past the settling moon, across the rising sun, through even the storm clouds, which seemed to forever drift directly behind his each and every waking thought.
“Who is it?” were the first, purest words heard out of his mouth that day. “Is somebody there? Anywhere?”
Detecting little other than his own breath in response, he unknotted the sheets and rolled out across the floor. Creeping nervously towards the only door in sight, he ran through his mind what now could possibly be on its way, before darkness settled in again that night. What questions, trials, and/or follies were to be foisted upon him again this day? A trip? A phone call? An errand put off from months ago?
“Better get back up on the roof,” he semi-ordered himself, slipping into his foot-bunnies and striking up the staircase towards the weather-beaten skylight two or three floors higher. There, lunging, as he had so many times before, at the exit marked “FIRE,” he shoved the obstructions wide open and found himself slapped with an unusually brisk northeasterly gust upon the tar-baked expanse. For a moment struck even more than usual by the city’s beauty as it spread beneath him, the park literally a stone’s drop away, he paced meaningfully around the ceiling’s perimeter until he was convinced he was alone.
But, of course, he was.
Round and round he walked that reassuring roof, counting each and every step and cycle from start to end to start again. But tiring before too much longer, crawling to an eventual stop as his brow loudly beat, he sought out a usual spot beside the brickly chimney, slumped down, and soon was lying prone beneath the sky as it blew late afternoon colours. Somewhere in the distance below could be heard the faint strains of THAT love song, stirring and rising all the way back as ever to forty-three hot long summers ago. To a time when, honestly, all seemed black, and white, and deceitfully carefree.
There! There was Mick with his freshly painted jacket. And even brother Mike leading lyrics back and forth by those special men who still made the music for all people to adore.
“If only… if only I could find my way back!” was the thought which, still, really consumed him. Today, here and now. As it did with such alarming, disarming frequency most especially of late. “Things must have been SO much, well, yes, easier back then. The songs were bright and short, and the art was smart and crisp and always spoke to everyone. Nothing seemed all that wrong, and the entire world seemed tuned naturally.”
Yes: “It’s easy!”
Indeed, those were the same two words which covered him, this afternoon, yesterday, and hopefully even tomorrow. Those two little words which were, in fact, some kind of personal “off” switch only too thankfully flicked wherever and whenever possible.
There. That’s better.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Somehow sort of safely sound now as the air cooled all the way downwards, and the traffic beneath snarled slowly apart towards the river, a deep deep sleep came across. A slumbering which brought not only comfort, but a kind of silent, surroundful revelation which asked no questions, made no demands, and best of all required no true interaction of any kind whatsoever. A fashion of living peace; a lying and lasting rest.
Soon after then, night fell, he rose up, strode steady and with a new true meaning on his gate towards the roof edge, glanced quite meaningfully down at the taxis below, and…
Sprung outwardly! Confidently! With a thrust and a power which would have seven stories below claimed most men. Most ordinary men!
Instead though, he sailed effortlessly across the park, far above and beyond the river, and before long so far past the ocean that all divisions between water and sky – between west and east, right and wrong, up, down, all around – meant absolutely less than nothing. Felt laughably irrelevant, actually, and forevermore so.
Here, at last, came the Peace.
Here, at last, he found… HOME.
And, you know what? He suddenly realized, after all these years, and all those doubts, and all the games and bands and stands and friends and lovers’ tallest tales:
It’s EASY !!