He tied his boat off and started to climb the cliffs. He knew that no one had lived to tell what was behind the cloud, but still he climbed. His weary limbs, an exhausted soul, an aching heart, and a mountaineer’s backpack were all he had carried. He had smiled at the villager, when he pushed the last of his money onto her hands and bought the boat. He didn’t need money for where he was going.
Once there was a boy, the ocean was his soul. He searched for someone to tame the storm within. He knew, nay, he believed, nothing would bring him happiness. A new car, a posh condo, an attractive wife? Was that true happiness or just a shade of it? “If you weren’t happy before you received a thing, you’ll never be happy with it”, he mused. The words he spoke turned into pearls, and plopped onto the ground for being too heavy. Those words didn’t reach his loved ones, so he left. In search of a land that didn’t exist and for an answer to a question he didn’t know. The lands he travelled turned into inky blots, and the people he met turned into dust. Three years since he embarked from home, he found himself in a coastal village in Denmark, partaking in the local dive bar. Dimly lit with candles, he drank deep from his mug. “You don’t seem like you’re from around here,” commented the owner of the bar as he cleaned the mugs with a dirty rag, “Are you here to try your luck with Litla Dimun?”
“Lit-what now?” He slurred, as he wiped the drool off his chin.
“The island-mountain that every idiotic tourist thinks is worth a visit like the damn Easter island,” said the bar keep whilst shaking his head.
“Island-mountain, eh? What’s so special about it?” He asked, already losing interest.
“Aesthetically, it’s beautiful cause of the cloud that perpetually covers the mountain’s head like a blanket, and only that nobody’s ever been there, and lived to tell about it,” he said in a matter-of-fact way.
He raised his eyes, “whaddya mean? Too steep?”
The owner laughed, “Maybe, there’s just no way to tell since no bodies have been found. The villagers will have you believe the mountain’s haunted. So many stories have been cooked up about that damn island, I don’t even know what’s true anymore. There’s just one thing I believe, if you make your way to Litla Dimun, either you’re goddamn stupid, or it’s your only option,” he said in all seriousness as he placed the last mug on the stand.
“Well, if I wanted to say something cheesy, I’d say ‘I’m a lil of both’, but I’m not that drunk,” he said as he stifled a yawn and counted out coins for his drinks. He placed them on the counter, thanked the owner, and found himself walking down the lane, flooded with moonlight. The kids flung small pebbles after him, the drunk foreign stranger. He didn’t mind, he was leaving soon anyway.
He stood at the base of Litla Dimun, and exhaled deeply. Surveying the area, he found no evidence of anybody having even ventured there. No ghost of a person’s attempt to make it to the top. Nothing. He wasn’t comfortable with this level of solitude. Is this how his life would turn out to be? A barren beach with no sign of the colourful, tortured life that he had lived? No proof that he walked on this earth? Being a nihilist was something he denied, regularly. His train of thought suggested otherwise.
He began his ascent, and watched the gentle blades of grass bend against the wind’s breeze. The slope was challenging and steep, but nothing lethal. He glanced back, saw his boat rock on the waves, in the distance. The boat looked tiny, and it was a testament to the ground he had covered. The blue ocean, glinted in the sunlight and filled his heart with a pang of longing. He wondered if the villager’s stories were true. He wondered if he’ll ever get to ride the boat back to shore, and tell the villagers his tale. Well, his choice was made, and he sort of knew what lay ahead of him. So he turned, and continued his ascent, with a frown upon his brow.
He chose this life, and not another. He chose a life of loneliness, one where he doesn’t get to rear his own kids. A life where he doesn’t have a companion and luxuries. He chose his life. And he never truly understood this until that very moment. The ascent became too steep to walk, so he tied a rope around his waist, and began climbing. The climb itself was torture for his hands, but he tapped into his adrenaline and found himself at the top. He peered off the cliff, and steadied himself. The air was thinner than he was used to, and the height gave him vertigo.
A meadow lay in front of him, which led him into the cloud atop this island-mountain. Walking into the cloud wasn’t at all what he thought it would be like. It was damp and cold. He felt eerie. Shapes of ghosts and witches were being imagined by his brain. He walked. He walked, but he was worried he’d walk off the top. After a while of walking, he was convinved he was in the afterlife. This was a portal to reach your end. Was this how he died? By walking into a cloud? Not as grand as he hoped it to be. Before he could scourge the area for angels with harps and halos, he saw a massive towering structure in the distance.
He moved towards it, apprehensively. The shape grew larger as he walked closer. Its size wasn’t fathomable. If he had to venture a guess, he would say it was a tower, or God itself. He found himself at the base of the structure, and saw himself looking at an ancient oak tree. Its spindly branches towering over everything. The knotted trunk thicker than 5 tree trunks. He placed his palm upon the tree, and shivered with goosebumps at the thought of its age. He ran his hand over the trunk, until his fingers chanced upon an engraving. Somebody had mutilated the trunk. He knelt, and read the engraving written in an elegant handwriting:
The Girl Of Litla Dimun
Once there was a girl
Whose eyes burned like embers
In the night
She searched for someone
To fan her flames
Brighter than a thousand splendid suns
Holding on to a peice of paper
He weeped. He sobbed. He howled.
He sat in front of the tree, cross legged. Tears streaming down his frownless face, he closed his eyes. After a long time, he finally felt the happiness he had been searching for. So he kept his eyes closed. He let the zephyretta tug at his hair, beard and clothes. He didn’t care. His eyes were shut.
And he waited.