Chasing Birds: In Retrospect


“I’ve been floating, in a dream,” whispering to myself through the darkness, I counted the seconds that slipped past me. The sparse light flowing into the room adding a haunting halo to the floor near the doorway. “Tossing and turning, empty beds around,” my lips sing out. Taking a deep breath and letting out a misty sigh, “Doesn’t even rhyme,” is the criticism I allow myself to hear. It was somewhere between midnight and dawn, I didn’t bother to check. Time had long since lost its effect here. Chasing time would have been an upgrade, but I was left to ponder as time chased me.

Sitting up on the hard mattress, I look out the glass panes and onto the corridors. It was still too dark to clearly make out any shapes outside, but a voice in my head said it will change soon. A memory of words I wrote down a couple of days back stirred in my head.


I toss over at the sound of the knock only to realize that another sunrise was missed. At this point, it seems to me that I am chasing circles around myself trying to catch a glimpse of the rising glow on the horizon. It is either the shrouds of mist in the icy wetlands before the warmth seeps in or the searing heat of the zenith that welcomes me.

Childish, but it is also as if waiting for a signal, superficial as it seems. It sheds light on the mirrored expressions of hope, faith, desire, desperation; call it what you may, that silvers each layer of glass in each heart. It brings to memory that no matter how theoretical, how practical, it sounds that the image formed behind a mirror is of a virtual, unreal nature, it is in fact the image of a real thing. A real thought. A real expression.

A quick glance around myself reminds me that I am not a post-modern Prometheus. Nor am I a posthumous Crusoe. The simple needs, however low and basic they are, I am provided with, and that providence itself is enough for my sustenance. Pale skin and dark eyelids are superficial at this moment. Am I breathing? Barely. Am I walking? Yes. Am I thinking? The answer is simple. It takes just a moment to fall into a chain of thought; piecing together link by link that in itself, I use to enslave myself.

If for a moment, that chain could be broken, I am grateful. If not, by all means, mortal and moral, I am thoughtful.


It’s a beautiful landscape outside the walls, far beyond the gates. In evenings I would step out through the ornately carved doorframes with a cat or two that have become accustomed to my presence here. Just a few steps to see the occasional vehicle speed along down the road. I would make my way back to my bed in a short while.


There was purple in the sunsets, the nights leading to misty darkness. The afternoons were warmer but with clear blue skies and an unobstructed view that spanned for miles. However, it was the sunrise that I always missed. An odd wave of determination passed through my mind, pushing away the fatigue of a long night of chasing after my breath. Picking up my phone I check the time and walk towards where my supplies are.

Switching on the heater, I hum a tune while I wait for the water to boil, the need for a warm cup of tea burning in my mouth. It was by the Foo Fighters, “Walk”, and I was picturing someone’s face as the words came. Chopping a small piece of ginger up with a knife I had in handy, the bubbling sound alerted me to turn off the heater.

“A million miles away
Your signal in the distance
To whom it may concern
I think I lost my way
Getting good at starting over
Every time that I return…”

A few minutes later, with a warm cup of tea in my hands, I sat by the window. It was a large and lonely building, occupied currently by myself and the few kittens here. I smiled as the thought of after days of chasing the sun, I’d finally get to see it rise. I smiled wider at the thought of this being another day past, another day less that I would be thinking of chasing the roads back from here.


The multitude of thoughts that cascaded as I walked back home was in retrospect, an experience that left questions both answered and unanswered, and new perspectives added as well. News of the third wave was in my ears and my mind was well aware of the situation. Plans changed. Platforms too.

And there, on the verge of starting another year behind the veil of virtuality, I question the whole experience with the second wave. Some faces were understood to be mirrored illusions of snakes. Some had so much more worth than what they would think so themselves. Thankful for both sets of faces for the lessons and the support, I continue walking. In ways, it was not just the sun that I was chasing, it was also my own self. Laughing at how stupid that sounded, I looked up at the skies and thought to myself, “I’d rather be chasing birds, somewhere far, far away”

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