Beneath a cloudless sky a man in grey walked, his feet trying desperately to adapt to the sandy path that stretched for miles and miles merging with the distant horizon. He looked as old as the ruins, a wrinkly gaze. His olive green eyes looked eager to tell a tale, maybe ones of kings and queens, conquests and failures, unfortunately his audience were all dead and gone, their only memories lay in the brick walls that time sought to destroy.
I saw him approach, the road lay empty and so paying no heed to the left or right, he crossed. I stood there, my glass of tea in one hand and the other kept wiping my temples clean of the sweat that formed instantly thanks to the unforgiving heat of the desert. “Are you a seeker?” he asked, undecipherable at first, but on his second attempt I sensed a slight Europeanized accent.
I maintained silence, not knowing what he meant.
I guess now I had turned into his much awaited lone audience.
“They say the grass is greener beyond the mountains.” He pointed east.
“Its war ridden area you point towards wouldn’t say there is any grass there at all.”
“Are you calling The Great a liar?”
Yes a delusional, no just any delusional one that was starved to eccentricity.
“I’ve seen him look over the mountains, his horses where the size of elephants and for him beyond the mountains laid the land of redemption.”
“Are you going there?”
“Yes. The grass is greener. He feared that His horses would turn into asses with so much luxury, the green grass.”
“So where do you come from?”
Our jeep was now fixed. I heard the engine roar back to life and so I decided to go take a look. The old man however remained under the merciless sun, drawing on the sand with his fingers that looked like twigs that were about to snap. I asked him if he needed a ride, but his focus remained un-wavered from the sand. During the remaining two hundred miles that was covered that day I hardly broke the silence. I couldn’t help but wonder what that old man wanted in life. He sure had a good accent, a bit un-original but good enough to pass off at any airport. Was redemption that important? For me such concepts were as real as the carrot that dangled in front of the donkey from the masters stick who sat on top of the poor animal. May be he would get shot down, or one of those missiles that poured down like rain would blow him into a million pieces. He was blinded by faith, I guess. I too felt blind but didn’t know what blinded me. May be he knew just as I knew his secret.
I would ask him if I ever got another chance, not in this life time surely. No, to find the answer I would have to swim in an ocean of sand, six feet under, losing a piece of myself in each motion to arrive at the truth spoken from the lips of a delusional.