Contrary to popular belief and perception, that what we call ‘Time’ does not actually or even remotely obey the course of a straight line. Time is a funny old business and one day in the distant future scientists will master the means to empirically substantiate that it is a property of existence composed of balletic proclivities that truly border on the voluminous and spectacular. Besides travelling ahead-ways, it can scoot up-ways, down-ways, side-ways, diagonal-ways, reverse-ways, and also, in-between-ways. Now, as human beings we are indeed constituted of rather restricted physical dimensions and that adds a veritable spanner in the works, for our perceptual faculties cannot cope with the infinite tributaries of time and thus if anyone strikes up the fancy to hop from one timeline to another they will surely come to a horrid impasse, as well as serve themselves up for ridicule from the conservative mainstream community!
A Muse is of a different matter altogether – literally!
She or he can blot out the monotonous terms and conditions always associated with the physical dimension, skipping the rule of linearity and crossing over to any timeline of their choice. They can in effect change the course of history. What I have omitted to tell You thus far is that though a Muse is destined to ignite the spark of inspiration into her Chosen One, her birth is not a spontaneous event. She did not arise from nothingness. She was inspired into creation by another Muse, and, once in a while, that Muse can take the form of a human…
Rianna hurtled through space and time in the guise of a spinning ball of energy and carrying in her were the blueprints of all the adventures she had experienced with us. When she opened her eyes she found that she was no longer in the company of her four friends. Instead, an impressive beige-bricked, gothic bell tower doused in the glory of the warm autumn sunshine pealed the air with its rhythmic tolls of the bell. The tall spires of the astounding architecture around her seemed to want to touch the roof of the blue sky, and yet at the same time her attention was being amusingly diverted by the riverine flow of students cycling away through the narrow winding streets below. What a fetching chirp there was in their mutterings as they roamed to their respective Universities. She noticed groups of well-behaved students striding enthusiastically to their classes, although one or two of them indubitably shared an eccentric charisma about them and they loved to flash their hands about as they dabbled in talks on this and that! It was when she saw their attire that she was satisfied that she had arrived at the right time – in the right time! The young men were suited in fine tweeds with ties, whilst the girls wore heavy knit cardigans and long skirts, and hair that was either quite short or tied up in taut buns.
No one seemed to notice her and she liked that. Mustering up all the fortitude she had left in her, she reassured with herself that she knew precisely where to go – an old English pub on the high street not far from where she was stood. She walked discreetly in its direction, careful not to rouse any kind of suspicion in case if that were to foster unnecessary complications in her path.
When she arrived outside the small building she was immediately swept up in the tasty and pungent aroma of fish and chips, and the fermented scent of the traditional English ale. Timidly she opened the oak door and stepped inside. The first thing she noticed was the rich dark wood, there was so much of it, timbered through the walls and beaming across the low ceilings. She felt she had entered the heart of a tree. On one side the modestly-sized counter was packed with students and professors engaged in sprightly intellectual discussions whilst downing handsome tankers of ale and the chap at the bar looked friendly enough to throw the odd cheeky comment that led to noisy uproars of laughter and claps. Rianna smiled away. She was always mesmerised by the warmth of human congeniality. She side-stepped away from the counter to observe that on the right-hand side were very tiny round wooden tables patterned with surfaces that resembled the design of a chessboard. She was intrigued and stroked the surface of one of these tables before resuming her search. She scanned each occupant of each chair but everyone appeared to be in happy spirits without a care in the world. Had she made a mistake and leapt into the wrong place, or time even?
And then she saw him.
In a dark corner, against the wall, a lonely man sat by a table. His body was hunched over and his arms were crossed down on the table so that his face was buried and hidden from the world. His grey tweed jacket was carelessly slung on the back of his chair, on the brink of tapering off the edge, and the rolled-up sleeves of his white shirt, stained on one side by ink that had not quite been washed out, indicated to her that he was suffering and that no one knew it. In front of him splayed out on the table with a sort of defeatist indifference were his notebook and fountain pen. As she came closer her heart felt a shuddering grievance to see that his notebook was completely empty. The words had deserted him and he, a heavy and companionless void, was shrinking away into the solid sands of the table. There was a spherical glass lamp above him and that too did not wish to keep company with the man. Its light was faint and faraway.
She came right beside him and knelt down so that her lips were in line with his ear. And she whispered, softly:
He did not budge.
“I hope you can hear me…”, she cleared her throat and glanced back over to the room just to ensure that no one could see her. “I want to tell you something. You see, there is a little girl – a good friend of yours – and she is not born yet and won’t be for a while, so you will not meet her in this life”.
The man fidgeted and scratched his ear. His head was still buried in the enclosure of his arms.
“She will not not come from these parts. Her land of birth will be unlike the austere winters of England. Her first cries will be welcomed under the blazing orange sunshine of the bluest of skies, and in that month when she shall be born there will be the music of rain, its beats consummating with the lips of umbrellas and earth. But… “, and Rianna paused to smilingly reflect on the strange turnings of destiny, “… it is your shores in England that she will eventually come to make her home. This little friend has sent me here so that I can pass on her message to you”.
At that he slowly lifted his head from the table and stretched his eyes out before rubbing them rigorously with his hands. He was dazed and confused and began to dart his eyes all over the place because he thought he had heard someone speak to him.
He could not see Rianna.
But he felt her presence.
She looked at him with tender admiration. “I know you can hear me…”
“Who said that?” He was startled and gulped hard. He surveyed his cup of tea and promptly dismissed the insane idea that something so harmless could be responsible for what he deemed to be hallucinatory voices.
“I am the free essence of her, the eternal aspect of her soul. I am her Spark.”
He writhed a bit at first, mystified and then his breathing began to grow calmer and calmer, indeed from a distance he would have appeared to be a man immersed in the deepest of contemplative musings.
“She wishes to know you better in the life that she will be born in. She wishes that you write beautiful stories and that you never shirk away from that endeavour because that is what you were meant to be. And if you so happen to desire to shake her hands in gratitude then put that in one of your stories. I am sure she will be pleased by it…”
“Who… what are you…?”
Her form suddenly collapsed in on itself. It formed a tiny firefly of orange spark and it fluttered and swayed and dived before swimming towards the shores of his weary eyes where, with one last ecstatic brightening, she melted into them for eternity.
The round glass lamp above flickered once and then twice and then it came on, a steady and full-bodied illumination that drove out the shadows that had far too long haunted him in that cavernous corner. He picked up his fountain pen and pulled his notebook towards him. Taking a determined sip of his tea, he sat up straight and courageously soared his fountain pen over the snowy white sheet before landing the nib deep into its fine smooth flakes, and in them he scrawled the name of my Inspiration…
What happened next? ♥♥♥
Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Oxford | UK 2016