I haven’t told a story in a while. I feel like I have words lodged here and there, attempting to come together like colors form a picture. The mind gets clear when I can write, when I can put down the emotions and the sensations in a form that exceeds itself. So write I will, and perhaps I can understand then.
This story starts with a man not too different from me. Eazy was at his regular spot, on the roof of the building he lived in. He had his notebook in his hand, a Moleskine that was gifted to him by his ex-girlfriend, and that he ironically had never used till she broke up with him.
‘Never could understand what was so special about these’ he said, running his hand over the page. ‘I could just as easily write on a notebook from the C-Store.’
The landscape in front of him always had a way of inspiring him. It was Toronto, 2016. Young and bold. This was going to be his break , his big entrance into the world of literary stardom. He had already traveled enough and he was ready to summarize the world in a singular expression. No longer would he be subject to the whims of a system, he thought.
‘It’s time to tell my own story’ he mumbled under his breath.
He uncapped his pen, and moved the top to the page.
He continued staring at the page. Where are my words, he thought. The sensation was a tightness in his brain, blinding his ideas and stuttering his thoughts.
‘He… lived an exceptional life’
Eazy stared at the words he had just wrote. It was only his first line and he already felt unhappy with his work. There was a different story he was trying to tell, and yet, he didn’t know how to say it.
“Eazy, are you there?” he heard someone call out.
He turned around to see the silhouette of a long-haired woman walk towards him.
‘God, she’s always been beautiful’ he thought as he continued sitting.
‘Hey Tina’ he replied. ‘Of course you’d know where I’d be’
‘Everytime Eazy’ she said , as she sat next to him. ‘How’s that story coming along?’ she asked as she peered over into his notebook.
His hands quickly covered the one line he had written. ‘It’s not done…not yet at least’ he mumbled.
‘I saw the one line you wrote’ Tina said as she laughed, ‘It’s not your best work’
‘You’re a great friend, you know, Tina.’ Eazy retorted. He continued staring at his Moleskine for a while more before turning back to her. ‘I’m having problems figuring out what I really want to tell. There’s a story that needs to come out , but it just isn’t.’ he said.
‘Talk to me Eazy, I’m here’ Tina said, placing her hand on his. Eazy turned to her and smiled.
‘Well, alright. Tell me something, Tina. What do you think is a universal theme in all stories you’ve read or seen?’ he started.
Tina stared out into horizon, thinking. ‘It’s about good vs. evil’ she said. ‘It’s always some good guy fighting a bad guy, and saving the day’
‘That’s exactly what I thought as well. Yet it didn’t make sense.’ Eazy replied.
‘What do you mean?’
‘Well think about this. In this world, is the fight really against evil people?’
Tina stared back at him for a while. ‘Of course. There’s ISIS, there’s North Korea, heck, there’s disgusting people in this very neighborhood. What on earth are you saying if you’re insinuating that there aren’t bad people out there?’
‘I’m not saying anything like that. There’s absolutely no denying that there are incorrigible people out there. But I’m a writer, and as a writer, it’s impossible for me to see someone as good or bad. ‘
Tina pulled her hand away from his.
‘Listen to what I have to say. Just hear me out. I don’t think you can ever claim someone to be good or bad without recognizing the limitations to the label. You’re talking about a person at a specific point in time, detached from his past and his future . What if he turns evil at some point in his life? Does that mean he was never good? Being good had nothing to do with him becoming evil, yet for all sakes and purposes, the label is stripped from him because his evil is his legacy. What would have kept him from evil? Good? I doubt it.’
‘So you’re saying that evil people are naturally bound for their futures? That they’re destined for evil?’ Tina probed.
‘No, no. But that’s an interesting idea’ he said, as he scribbled the thought onto his palm. ‘What I think I’m trying to say is that there’s a bigger thematic war going on, in both the literary world and ours. One that actually makes more sense. That’s where I’m stuck.’
‘I hear you’ Tina said. She turned back towards the horizon, and Eazy did too. He heard her take a deep breath and sigh heavily. It was funny how Tina was here all this while. She had been supportive of his writing from the beginning, the one and only. If anything, she was the reason why he was back on the roof.
‘Look at that skyline, huh?’ she muttered. ‘Sometimes, this is what I need to take on the day.’
‘Hope!’ Eazy shouted.
‘What?’ Tina said, as she turned towards him.
‘The thematic battle. It’s between Hope and Despair. Both are forces, dynamic and unstable , unlike good and evil. But more importantly, they are both pure, sincere and absolutely consuming. That’s the bigger battle in our lives. We have to continue hoping, because the loss of hope, the start of despair, is when we have truly lost.’
‘We have to keep believing.’ Tina smiled. ‘I like it.’
‘I like it too. And I think I know just the story to write.’ Eazy said , smiling back as he grabbed her hand and held tightly onto it.
Their eyes locked onto each other, and they continued smiling. Tina turned her head back to the horizon and paused for a while before finally, with hope in her voice, uttered ‘Tell me the story, Eazy’
And that he did.