"All you hear from guys is desire, desire, desire, knocking its way out of the breast, and fear, striking and striking.
Enough already! Time for a word of truth. Time for something notable to be heard.
Otherwise, accelerating like a stone, you fall from life to death.
Exactly like a stone, straight into deafness, and till the last repeating
I want I want I want, then striking the earth and entering it forever!"

Henderson the Rain King

It was a strange start. Almost unperceivable, the change made. A morning of madness, of pacing - observing the cracks in the concrete, as though they were somehow important. Puzzling at the inconsistency in their spacing, as he moves back and forth. As though movement is the only thing keeping him sane.

He can feel it in his chest, when he allows his thoughts to turn to his fears. A certain tightening, a rush of breath and heartbeats, a moment of hysteria and speed. These conclusions come upon him with an intensity that he cannot control, and a clarity that he cannot understand. Surely there must be room for doubt, surely there is room for hope...

Hope is what has bought him here. This sweet taste that he desires - that he has always desired - keeps bringing him back to this place. When he was 19 and alone, hope was what kept him alive. Hope was what kept him less alone. When he was 26 and alone for the first time in years, it was hope that pulled him out of the mire. He has a heartfelt belief that he is good. He deeply believes that he deserves happiness. He finds himself thinking to himself 'I live a good life. I care for people, I treat people like humans. I give myself to them, I sacrifice myself in order to bring calm to them.' His instincts tell him that a life of caring will not go unrewarded. His soul tells him that for people like him, things will turn out in the end. Patience. Hope.

Pacing, pacing, examining the cracks, chain smoking, examining the position he finds in himself. For once, he has certainty in his life. For once, he can look to the future and know what will happen, without a shadow of a doubt. For so long, this is what he's wanted. No doubts, no question that cannot be answered, no need to wonder.

She will leave. She will move through the boarding gates, find her seat, and settle in. She will have handed a ticket to the attendant, and it will have the name of an African country on it. Her bags will have been loaded, full of her possessions. She will not have a return ticket.

He continues to pace, wondering at this twist in his life. He wonders about her. She came on like a bolt out of the blue - close to a year knowing of her, never saying more than a few words. An electronic exchange, realising that their similarities were closer than ever imagined. Four weeks of communication, as he travels the country, looking for any sliver of time to make contact with her, as they spilled more of themselves than they ever thought they would, after so little time. A night together, in coffee shops and movie theatres. A headlong rush, spilling thoughts and fears, witnessing eyes that scream 'fuck me' and change colour in time with your own, and the battle lines drawn across her face as she fights the demons within.

He realises, even as he contemplates the most amazing person he has ever met, that this is temporary. He's scared.

Always an idealist, he turns his thoughts to fantasy. The 'what if's' tumble through his mind. The (im)possible scenarios, the possibilities that may allow him to hold onto her - even if only for a day longer. Even as he thinks of this, he knows that one day will never be enough. He wants more - so much more. She challenges him, and forces him to challenge himself. For years, he's hidden his thoughts, his fears, his desires, his wants. Something good will happen...I deserve this. When there was nothing, when the path was not clear, and he felt too weak to take the hard road, he allowed his hope to consume him. Carried in the arms of dreams of something wonderful, his mind turned towards the possibility of happiness, finding the strength to breathe. These dreams were everything to him - they nourished him, they held him straight, they allowed him to face another day.

Hope. It keeps echoing through his thoughts. It's there, but he's having trouble holding onto it. He allows himself to drift through 'what if' and 'maybe', but the answers are shot down before being allowed solidification. Something has changed. Something is different. Something has shifted.

Hope. The one constant, the one thing I have always turned to when there is nothing else. I allow myself to find it, and trust in it completely. I never allow myself the possibility that it may let me down.

My hope is a crutch.

I lean on it, and maintain my faith in its ability to turn anything around. I lean on it, and absolve myself of any responsibility for my own situation. I can take strength from it, I can allow today to fade away, and not feel any remorse for the fact that nothing has changed. Hope will see me through. Relying on it, I don't ever need to make my own decisions. I don't ever need to examine myself, and forge change for myself. I can end today with the knowledge that maybe, tomorrow will be different. Maybe... Relying on hope, there is always light at the end of my tunnel. Standing, with my feet firmly planted, I wait for it to come to me.

He pictures a man. Tired, dirty, parched, longing for the embrace of the water. He stands in front of an immense dam wall, waiting for it to burst. He wants to be engulfed, he wants the water to break free and surround him, to carry him away to some place new. He wants to feel the power of that surging torrent, and know that it is useless to fight - he is being taken to where he is supposed to be.

All the while, the dam is leaking. There is a trickle of water flowing, running between his feet, down the street and into a depression. Slowly, a lake forms, clear and cold, becoming deeper with each new day. He stands with his feet rooted to the spot. He doesn't ever acknowledge the water running right by him. So he waits.

He paces on the concrete, examining the cracks. Chain smoking, thoughts tumbling through his mind. Realising, for the first time, that control is his. Realising, that his hope is built upon impossible ideals. Realising, and mourning, the days he has watched as they fade away, as he waits.

In the morning sun, surrounded by cigarette smoke and flies, the smell of grass and a light breeze, an idealist dies.

He's never felt such liberation.

He's not scared any more.

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