The stars are out tonight. I see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 of them. No, 6. The stars look pretty. Most nights, I can’t really see them though. Either it’s the view from my apartment, or the cloud cover as of late; I don’t really know. Tonight, I’m walking behind my building, and the clouds have parted just in time. And before you ask, yes, I am alone. My friends have gone home, and I’m using this spare time to rest my mind a little bit.
But, all good things must come to an end. I quietly walk into my building. Above me, as I’m walking in, I can hear old Bollywood songs playing. Sounds like it’s coming from the second, maybe third, floor. Getting into the elevator, I can hear the rustling of the motors, and the slight flickering of the light above me. Somehow, I feel oddly calm.
I get out on the tenth floor, and walk towards my door. Time seems frozen. Life itself seems frozen. Every step I take echoes around me; I can almost feel the soundwaves bouncing off the slightly offwhite walls. As I reach for my door, someone slams theirs shut a few floors above me. I hear the elevator doors moving, then the elevator itself moving down, past my floor, towards the ground.
I’m thoroughly enjoying this solitude. It’s peaceful, almost therapeutic. To be honest, I’ve had plenty of solitude these past few months, locked up in my room, leaving only for the washroom and food. But it’s always felt……lonely. Like each day, while trying to survive, I’ve forgotten to live. I’ve forgotten what it truly feels like to be alive.
With my grim thoughts in mind, I move over to the window. It’s on the far side of my neighbours’ door. Looking out, I see buildings with hundreds of windows lit up with their own tiny little stars. The stars being lightbulbs, of course. And tubelights. From my angle, I cannot see the road, but I hear a bike, and then about 30 seconds later, a car passes by. So many people out there, I think to myself.
And then, out of the corner of my eye, I spot a couple of insects. They look like moths. I’ve never noticed them around here before though. Come to think of it, I’ve never really given much notice to any of the creatures around me. Not even the people. There’s probably hundreds, thousands even; whose lives are completely unknown to me. I can’t believe I’ve been so oblivious. Of course, this is what it feels like to be alive.
The world, in all its entirety, is alive. Millions of little ecosystems with billions of species, all thriving on this little planet called Earth. Yet, so many of us are blind to our neighbours. Not just people, all the little plants and animals and fungi. There is so much life around us; we’ve just failed to notice it. I’ve failed to notice it. These last few months, what with a global pandemic and all, life has begun to seem…dull. Meaningless. Empty. Turns out, all it took to find some meaning was to just stop, and take a moment. A moment to appreciate the little things, to be at peace not just with ourselves, but with the world around us too.
Suddenly, I snap back to reality. I can hear my mother playing her classic Bollywood music from inside the apartment. It sounds nice; soothing. From upstairs, I hear the loud noises of construction work and shifting furniture. I’m so grateful to have the privilege of calling these people my neighbours. I can hear everything around me again. The dogs barking, vehicles passing by, the elevator clanking along it’s daily routine.
Closing the door behind me, I hop into the shower, eat dinner, say my goodnights, and lie down in bed. I flick off the tubelight in my room, and turn my head over to look out of my window. I can see moonlight streaming into my room, and although my window is open, I do not hear a single sound. It’s late; the world has fallen asleep. Well, my world, at least. The lights are switched off, people tucked into their beds. Some lost in dreams; others, trying desperately to escape their nightmares. The insects are sitting still, the nocturnal beasts are waking up. My train of thought is slowing down. I lie still, as the silence of my room engulfs me. The silence engulfs the world, brings it together as one. I’m falling asleep. Good night.
[Photo Credit: THOMAS LEUTHARD/FLICKR]