They say some of the most priceless things are often found in ruins. Perhaps, that’s why Vincent poetic gift of words would often get lost in his macabre melancholic outlook towards life. His dark perspective towards life was paved by his traumas & insecurities that impaled the most innocent fragments of his tender soul. Though his mother tried her best to sustain his happiness, since childhood, while dealing with financial vows, Vincent’s innocent dreams were often crushed under the burden of responsibilities. He always wanted to be a poet, but to support his family financially, he chose to be a banker. All his salary used to go towards the household expenditure managing the monthly expenses.
Vincent was a quiet gentleman, who always had a storm of emotions swirling in his soul. He preferred to write rather than speak as a way of expressing himself. Every fortnight after completing his shift, Vincent used to take his poems to publishers, but the ignoramus publishers were prisoners to their limited paradigms & hence they failed to comprehend the beauty of his mind, which was splendidly drenched in darkness.
Perhaps it was this constant rejection from publishers & the sense of deprivation of dreams that made Vincent obsessed, he began to lust over the thought of getting his book published. He knew he had the capability of transmuting his nightmares into symphonic arias of faith for others. He wanted to bleed his heart out on the pages of his book. He wanted to galvanize the souls of many silent suffers like him. He wanted to be the voice of the voiceless. He wanted to be heard, he wanted to be understood…
In the wake of destruction, recovering from a depressing day at the bank & another frustrating rejection from an imbecile publisher, Vincent decided to meet Sonja at twilight.
The world always saw Vincent as an emotionally complex individual. To some extent, Vincent also saw himself as an agathokakological animal, for he knew the saints & sinners that swam in his soul. Yet Sonja was perhaps the only person who cwtched Vincent’s storms with a heart full of unconditional love. Sonja truly was the light to Vincent’s darkness. She was the beacon of hope that healed his aching soul with her kindness. Every time they met, their hearts connected & conversed a language of love that was more than words.
As the night unfurled its splendor, Vincent & Sonja laid down on the green grass looking up to the sky that floated like melted blue sapphire, inflamed by the fire of countless stars. Sonja noticed a tear drop from Vincent’s eye, she knew that he was a man who would take his grief to his grave rather than cry in front of others. Hence out of concern she asked what was bothering him. In a dreary voice, Vincent said “It’s rather tragic something priceless lies within me, yet I can’t attain it”.
Wiping Vincent’s tears, Sonja motivated him to save from his salary to publish his book rather than rely on some senseless publishers. She inspired him to dream again. It was the sincerity of Sonja’s faith in him through which Vincent dared to dream again of publishing his book.
With a renewed sense of belief and a resurrected vision, Vincent decided to save money by skipping one meal a day in order to fuel the fire of his desire. In time, he managed to save a little for himself. He did overtime at work to get extra money. Sonja was deeply moved by Vincent’s will power & had searched for a suitable publisher who was willing to publish the book for a fee. After doing the calculations, he realised that if he continued this way within five months he would have saved enough money to publish at least 200 copies of his book on his own terms.
Starving in order to feed his obsession, enveloped in the eye of the storm, Vincent used to close his eyes and witness the days & night silently pass by. As the wheel of time carelessly moved on, seasons changed the beautiful summer sun was replaced by the frail winds of autumn. Apart from the season a lot of things, within Vincent changed fundamentally as well. As Vincent struggled, survived & evolved in this self-assigned journey; subliminally he went down the memory lane & was able to understand how hard it would have been for Rosemary, Vincent’s mother, to save money to meet his childish demands. He imagined what she would have gone through to make the ends meet.
Rosemary was an angel in disguise of a human being. Due to the financial struggles in the family, she herself had to sacrifice a lot on her aspirations in life. Yet with her limited resources she never failed to make miracles for Vincent. When Vincent was small & there wasn’t a stable source of income, there were nights when she slept with an empty stomach in order to ensure that her child had proper meal. Often just to satisfy her sense of fulfillment she used to wear a fake Swiss watch, perhaps that illusion of luxury made her humble heart dance with joy. She was a dreamer who often found herself in moments where her aspirations would wither away. Yet rather than lamenting about dying dream, she used to silent smile; for she felt its better to hide some heartaches behind a smile, rather than explain them to others.
Vincent had managed to save the money required to publish his book & this process of going the extra mile for the sake of his dream had resulted in emotions that now erupted in his heart like lava from an active volcano. Vincent hadn’t forgotten Rosemay’s selfless sacrifices; they might have been dormant memories, yet they were bone-deep memories that were engraved within his being. Rosemary’s birthday was around the corner, & so before Vincent went out to meet the publisher (to fulfill his priceless dream), he asked her “What do you want for your birthday, Mom?”. Rosemary who was looking for her fake Swiss branded watch turned to him & replied with selfless grace “I just want to see you smile, your happiness is the greatest gift for me.” Upon hearing this Vincent’s heart melted with delight, for a moment it felt as if time had frozen; for that was the most poetic emotion that he had felt in ages.
Sonja was restless that afternoon, she had received the message for the publisher that Vincent never arrived for the meeting. She was both perplexed & concerned & she wanted to know what caused this change of heart. When Vincent arrived he was greeted by Sonja’s endless questions to which he smiled & said you’ll know all about it tomorrow. He handed the bag to Sonja and requested that she doesn’t open it. Vincent also asked Sonja to give the bag to Rosemary, without telling Rosemary that it was from him. Sonja was intrigued but respecting the bond that they shared & agreed to abide by Vincent’s request without much questioning.
The next day, Sonja went to meet Rosemary. Vincent called Rosemary as he preferred to view the scene from a few steps away. Rosemary was pleasantly surprised that Sonja came to meet her on her birthday. Sonja offered the bag to Rosemary, Rosemary pulled out a leather case with a tag that stated: “Because you are timelessly priceless.” As soon as, Rosemary opened the leather case, sparkles from a shining original Swiss branded watch streamed in Rosemary’s eyes. She was speechless, as tears streamed from her eyes she embraced Sonja with all the love in her heart.
As Sonja hugged Rosemary, she saw Vincent, the Mozart who orchestrated this magical moment. Seeing him smile, Sonja comprehended the epiphany of Vincent choosing to fulfill the life long dream of his mother, over his personal goal. She realized that his heart was freed from the desires of this materialistic world. Vincent now valued the visions & aspirations of others more than his own. No paper, no book & no words were capable of capturing the poetic paradigm that streamed from Vincent’s heart. Sonja clearly saw the light of kindness & humility that now beamed in Vincent’s soul. For he was the man who had discovered & attained the true meaning of priceless.
Note: I’ve always felt that it’s only when we live for others rather than ourselves when we understand the true meaning of life. It is when we are willing to contribute to someone’s smile, rather than selfishly trying to work solely towards our own happiness that we discover the true meaning of joy. Teaching my loved ones to dream again by fulfilling there desires is something that gives a priceless feeling to me. It’s a feeling that I can’t describe in words. This short story intends to highlight that sentiment that there are emotions which are more meaningful that most of the materialistic things in this world. At the end of the day we all will be reduced to a memory in someone’s life, so do your bit to do something priceless for them so that they remember you as a good memory. A special thanks to Leslie with the editing for this post!
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