The next one’s on me
He gave me two bells. One of them for happy thoughts, he said, and one for when you’re drowning. The first had a lovely chime; it resonated quietude. The other had a haunting sound, like it emanated from the depth of a dark abyss; a roar of sorts, a cry of despair.
‘I made them myself,’ he said, ‘my soul is in them. I made them for you; they chime your essence.’ I asked him why as I held one in each hand and felt their quiet reverberations. They recognized my fingertips. ‘They are you,’ he said and smiled. Grey, metal fragments of a flustered existence. ‘This is my gift to you, for all that you’ve given me.’ ‘What have I ever given you?’ I asked. ‘You know,’ he said and smiled again. ‘Tell me.’ ‘The truth.’ ‘Truth is relative, I’ve come to know,’ I said and looked at the bells again. ‘Not yours,’ he said. ‘Especially mine.’ ‘Which one tickles you the most?’ he asked. ‘The one you’re looking at, the one whose outline carries a little more of me.’ ‘Close your eyes,’ he said, ‘and think of the last place where you felt happy.’ ‘It’s not a place, it’s a feeling; a rhythm only my heart can hear.’ ‘What do you see?’ he asked. ‘Nothing. The best places in the world are plunged in darkness, because your eyes are closed, because you feel safe, because there’s nowhere else you’d rather be. Because all you need is someone’s breath to want to exhale in your direction.’