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The Quickening

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posted on Feb, 20 2014 @ 04:33 PM
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They say that behind every storm is a silver lining. But what happens when that storm never ends? What happens when that storm rages so furiously that you just want to let go and let it sweep you away?

There was a time when I looked at the world through rose colored glasses. No one, it seemed, could do any harm. Everyone was honest and decent. Life was good and full of cheer and love. There was a time like that. But I don’t remember it anymore.

That’s me there on the shoreline. That certainly wasn’t the lowlight of my life, but it was the changing moment of a series of events that lead me here. Events spurred by forces of hate, angst, anger, bitterness, and pain. Pain that sweltered inside like a festering wound with no cure.

The man there looks miserable doesn’t he? Well, that’s because he is, well, or at least he was. He had given up all hope on life, on the goodness and decency in humankind. There he sits his only pair of pants torn and old, his shirt just as raggedy. His hair long and matted, with a flowing unkempt beard and mustache. The man had obviously left himself untrimmed for at least many months. His skin tanned from the constant beating of an unrelenting sun.

What would lead a happy family man to such a situation? Passersby would just jeer and throw taunts at him. Perhaps shout out some obscenities, while ruthless kids would get close enough every now and again to throw a rock, or spit at him, taking an unnatural pleasure in their cruelty.

But he didn't care. He just sat there, day in and day out. He wouldn't talk, he would just sit and gaze out into the wide open sea with a lost gaze from behind piercing green eyes. When his bodily instincts took over he would cast a net into the ocean and catch a few fish for the day. And there by the seaside he would cook over a flame in the night, and then sleep under the open sky.

If it rained he would just sit there. If the sun was beating down he would just take the beating. You see he literally did not care about anything. Then one day, something happened…


“Senor,” it was the voice of a young woman who spoke to the man. She spoke Spanish, the common tongue of the place he was in. “Sir,” she said again her voice soft and unimposing. But he ignored the voice. He heard as her footprints slowly faded away then turned to look in her direction. On the ground where she had stood was a plastic bag.

He stared at the bag then looked back out to sea. An hour past, maybe two, the wind was blowing, and the sun was high in the sky. Sweat dripped from his brows, he did not stir. Finally he turned to look again at the plastic bag. Seagulls were nearing it now and investigating its contents.

He got to his feet and yelled at them and they scurried away. He bent over and picked it up and looked inside. There wrapped in foil were some tacos of carne asada, which he could already guess by the smell they had left, and in a cup with a lid some Jamaica tea.

He looked toward the road where the woman had come from as if approving and then walked closer to the sea, as it was low tide. He took a seat cross-legged and pulled out the food and ate. It had been months that he had tasted anything other than fish and water, and although he had almost forgotten what the simple joys of life were, he enjoyed the meal.

The man closed his eyes for a while and then opened them and sighed and returned his gaze to the sea.

Two days past but the thought of her voice still rang in his ., the simple “senor.” It had been months since anyone had acknowledged his existence, besides to taunt him. Then he heard it again.

“Senor, por favor,” it was that same sweet voice, unimposing, caring. Still he did not turn to acknowledge her presence. “I have a pair of pants and shirt sir, and some more food. Please take it.” She said and set it down by some rocks and turned and left.

This time he turned to look at her before she had vanished. Then looked at the bag of clothes and food she had left. He turned his gaze back to the sea and let an hour pass this time before he got up.

He found the food, still warm wrapped in foil, chile rellenos with beans and rice, and more Jamaica tea. He ate the food faster than he should have. Then pulled the clothes from the bag. It was a pair of new Levi Jeans, and surprisingly they fit him, and a button up long-sleeved white shirt and a pair of open-toed leather sandals.

He hesitated then took his old rags off and went out to sea to wash himself then returned and put the new clothes on. That night he burned his old rags over the fire.

Two more days past and the man’s mind began to linger more and more on the woman. Who was she? Then again he heard footprints approaching and his heart skipped a beat, almost wishing it was her. Then he heard her voice.

“Hola, senor, I can see the clothes I left fit you well. I’m so pleased,” she said and he heard her clap her hands together. “I brought more food sir, but if you don’t mind, I want to sit with you if you want to eat it today.”

The man grunted. But he didn’t turn to look at her. She hesitantly took a step forward, then another, then lowered herself to the ground and sat beside him.

He felt uncomfortable. He was not used to attention. And here now was a woman sitting next to him, uninvited, imposing on him and his self-inflicted prison. But something in his heart also began to change. He felt it warm a little, just a little. He finally acknowledged the presence of the woman and turned to look at her.

She was taken aback by the deep gaze from his piercing green eyes. Eyes that seemed to gaze straight through her. “Gracias, senora, por la ropa, and the food,” he said back. His Spanish was surpassingly good.

“De nada,” she replied. “I’m so happy to finally see you talk,” she said then put a blanket down and took out the food she had prepared for them. She gave him a plate of food and drink and took her own. He accepted it and they both ate in silence.

Finally she got up and said, “I must get going, but I’m so glad you let me join you today. I hope to see you again soon.” She packed her things up and left.

He just sat there and stared out to sea. But there was a change inside of him. He felt it. It was a seed that was planted the first time he heard her voice, and it was slowly growing, imperceptibly. He still refused to acknowledge it. But it was there.

She returned again two days later and sat beside him and they ate together. This time she also had a small bag of other items. She left him a bar of soap, a hand mirror, scissors, and a razor-blade for shaving.

She handed him the things after they had eaten and he actually said, “thank you ma’am.” She smiled when she heard his voice.

“I’m Alicia,” she replied. “Please call me Alicia.”

“Thank you Alicia,” he said.

“What is your name?”

“Jack,” he replied.

“Jack, that is a nice name.” she said and smiled.

“It was the name of my father’s dog,” he replied. She laughed at that and almost made him smile.

“I have to go, but I’ll be back,” she said. She said good-bye and he nodded to her.

After she had gone he looked to the bag of toiletries she left him. And grabbed for his beard with a hand and looked at it through the mirror she left with him. He didn't recognize the face that stared back.

He stored the items and set back to staring at the waves.
edit on 20-2-2014 by iSomeone because: (no reason given)




posted on Feb, 20 2014 @ 04:34 PM
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...cont

...But this time when he closed his eyes, instead of the terrors that constantly plagued them, he saw her face and her smile. And instead of hearing the screams that haunted his waking hours, and filled his sleep with night terrors, he heard her voice.

Two days passed. He waited for her. She did not return. Three days past. On the fourth he picked up the mirror and the scissors and began to cut through his beard and mustache. He finally shaved and then washed his hair with the bar of soap she had left and cut it down to shoulder length. He looked back into the mirror. A handsome man stared back at him. One he had forgotten about. One he thought he didn’t care about anymore.

He sat down by his campfire and ate his catch of fish of the day as his gaze went out over the calm seas and watched the setting sun light up the sky beautiful hues of red and purple and orange then drifted off to sleep by the smoldering campfire as he did every night previous.

He was awoken suddenly to a painful jab in his side. He looked up but could not see. The moon had already set to the west and the sky was clouded over. It was almost pitch back out. Then he felt it again, a steel-toed boot jamming into his ribs. He shouted aloud and reached for the leg put it eluded him. Then he felt fists slamming down upon him, one blow after another to his face and stomach and ribs, and more kicks. He spat up blood and groaned.

Finally the men who had ambushed him seemed to have had enough. “You leave our women alone,” they shouted at him and spat into his face and spewed some curses at him and then turned flashlights on and disappeared into the distance.

He looked toward them but his eyes were beginning to swell and obstructed his view. Then he fell into unconsciousness.

A terrified shriek tore through the air. Alicia had returned the morning after Jack had been beaten to a pulp. She arrived earlier than she usually did to find him on the ground, bleeding, and black and bruised. She dropped the bag she had in her hand and turned to run back to the road and her truck. She pulled out a first aid kit and returned to the man and began to wash his wounds and clean them and bandage them the best she could. Finally he awoke.

“Jack,” she said to him, “poor Jack, what happened to you.”

He tried to move but a pain shot through his . and he had to lay back down and close his eyes.

“They got me pretty good didn't they,” he said, and interestingly enough he grinned.

“I have never seen you smile,” she said, “and now this is when you smile?”

“Go on woman,” Jack said in reply. “Leave me alone.”

“No,” she said. “Do not talk like that. You need to be taken care of. I need to take you to the hospital.”

“No, ma’am. No hospital please.”

“Then, please at least let me take you to my home, you need care.”

He was quiet when she said that. Then finally said, “Go look for a stick I can use as a crutch.” She disappeared and returned a little later with a sturdy stick, and he used it and she helped him get to his feet.

She wrapped his arm over her shoulder and he held the stick in his other hand and slowly they made their way back to her truck. His body full of agony and pain trembled when he felt her hand brush against his, felt her body against his own. It had been a long time since he had felt a body so close to his. He sighed and looked at the woman as she led him to her truck and wondered about her inside his mind.

She drove him to her home. It was a small adobe house, only two rooms. A main room with a small kitchen, a sofa a small table and a couple of chairs, and the next room was a bedroom with a full-sized bed, a rocking chair in one corner, a dresser, and a rack to hang clothes. It was a very small, but comfortable home.

She made her bed and made him lie down it. He tried to refuse but she would not listen. She made some soup for him which he ate and then he fell into a deep sleep. While he slept she stripped him of his clothes and checked out his body. He was black and blue, but had no broken bones. She put some pjs on Jack and left him to sleep.

She heard screams from the room and ran to see what was wrong. He was still asleep but was sweating, she checked him he had a high fever. He groaned and moaned and stated the name of a woman over and over.

That went on for the next three days. He did not awake from his delirium. And she heard him speak in his English language, things she did not understand, only she knew that the words were filled with pain, intense pain.

Finally on the fourth day he awoke. The bedroom window was open and a cool morning breeze gently brushed against his face.

She entered the room and noticed his eyes were opened and her face lightened. “You’re awake!” she said happily. And left the room and returned a short time later with a cup of hot tea and a pull of chicken soup. She helped him sit up and helped feed him and let him drink.

“How long was I out?”

“Three days,” she said.

“Thank you Alicia,” he replied to her. Then he reached out to hold her hand in his. She let him. And for a moment they just sat there silent. Then she asked a question.

“Why are you here Jack? What happened to you? What is your story?”

He turned away from her when she asked him that. “Please, don’t ask me,” he replied.

“I am sorry,” she returned.

“Thank you for your kindness, Alicia,” he replied. “But I guess I should be moving on.”

“You’re not going anywhere until you get better,” she replied. “I insist.”

“And the men who beat me up the other night?”

“No one knows you are here. Trust me. You will be safe for now.”

But he did not trust her. He tried to get up and leave when she was away but he was still too weak to walk any distance. He remained another week with her. She slept in the living-room at night on her small sofa, while she let him have the bed. They would talk during the day. When he felt good enough he would get up and sit out on the back porch where they would watch the sunset together.




And that seed that was planted the moment I heard your voice continued to grow. Until one day it blossomed as a flower and I knew that my heart had learned to love again. I left you this letter, Alicia, so that you know you could find me here. I had to return to the sea once more. I had to look out over its vast blue to let go of a life that has filled my past years with such heartache and pain.

But I want you to know that your love and your care, your kindness and gentleness has brought life back into a dead heart. If you love me as I do so love you, then you will find me on the seashore waiting for you.

Love,
Jack




The sun was setting in the west over a calm sea. A few clouds rasped the sky above, and a calm breeze came in from the west. There far below a bird flying high on the evening wind a man stood looking out over the sea. And from behind him approached a woman until they were together. The bird looked down to see the pair hug and begin to kiss as the sun went down in the west.

edit on 20-2-2014 by iSomeone because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 20 2014 @ 04:35 PM
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Hated it.

Good try though, maybe next time.



posted on Feb, 20 2014 @ 04:52 PM
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theyknowwhoyouare
Hated it.


Couldn't care less.

Just as much as you probably care that I think your profile name is quite dreadful.
edit on 20-2-2014 by iSomeone because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 20 2014 @ 04:56 PM
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Good story.



posted on Feb, 20 2014 @ 05:11 PM
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Beautiful story! I loved it.



posted on Feb, 20 2014 @ 05:13 PM
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reply to post by iSomeone
 


it was a joke

no need to be so hurtful



posted on Feb, 20 2014 @ 05:18 PM
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theyknowwhoyouare
reply to post by iSomeone
 


it was a joke

no need to be so hurtful


Lol.



posted on Feb, 20 2014 @ 05:57 PM
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reply to post by iSomeone
 


Now you laugh at me...?!

One must wonder what foul being has laid claim to a soul such as yours...



posted on Feb, 20 2014 @ 06:04 PM
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First time I inished a story here on ATS.
Not that read all of them, but this one took my attention from the first line.
I almost never read anything that not captivates me from the beginning...

The end lines however were not necessary in my opinion. Better to keep wondering..

Anyway, loved it.



posted on Feb, 20 2014 @ 06:10 PM
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notsosunny
First time I inished a story here on ATS.
Not that read all of them, but this one took my attention from the first line.
I almost never read anything that not captivates me from the beginning...

The end lines however were not necessary in my opinion. Better to keep wondering..

Anyway, loved it.


Thank you for your observation.



posted on Feb, 20 2014 @ 07:09 PM
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I loved it. What a beautiful story. The very first paragraph struck a cord with me, putting into words just how I am feeling right now.
I got the feeling Jack was a war veteran. He was going through a lot of the same things my son is right now.
Thank you for a beautiful love story.



posted on Feb, 21 2014 @ 12:01 AM
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lokin
I loved it. What a beautiful story. The very first paragraph struck a cord with me, putting into words just how I am feeling right now.
I got the feeling Jack was a war veteran. He was going through a lot of the same things my son is right now.
Thank you for a beautiful love story.


Thank you for the kind comments. I guess if you've been through the pain, the story makes more sense. But I'm glad you took the time to reveal yourself a little to a stranger. I am sorry for you and your son.


---

Also, night star, and accessdenied, thank you for taking the time to leave your comments, and for reading the story. It means a lot.



posted on Feb, 23 2014 @ 11:59 PM
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theyknowwhoyouare
reply to post by iSomeone
 


Now you laugh at me...?!

One must wonder what foul being has laid claim to a soul such as yours...



No. Actually I found it quite ironic that you just dropped by to say you hated the story, and then got upset that I said I (hated) your name. You accused me of being a "foul being" for just doing to you what you did to me. I laughed at the irony of your hypocrisy, that is all.

On the one hand I literally couldn't care less about what you think or feel, you seem to have very strong emotions about my projections toward you. You tried to be a bully, and then when it didn't bother me you got defensive and started name-calling, for receiving what you dished out.

That is why I told you what I did, not because you were worthy of a response to begin with, but to reveal who you are.
edit on 24-2-2014 by iSomeone because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 24 2014 @ 12:44 PM
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iSomeone

theyknowwhoyouare
reply to post by iSomeone
 


Now you laugh at me...?!

One must wonder what foul being has laid claim to a soul such as yours...



No. Actually I found it quite ironic that you just dropped by to say you hated the story, and then got upset that I said I (hated) your name. You accused me of being a "foul being" for just doing to you what you did to me. I laughed at the irony of your hypocrisy, that is all.

On the one hand I literally couldn't care less about what you think or feel, you seem to have very strong emotions about my projections toward you. You tried to be a bully, and then when it didn't bother me you got defensive and started name-calling, for receiving what you dished out.

That is why I told you what I did, not because you were worthy of a response to begin with, but to reveal who you are.
edit on 24-2-2014 by iSomeone because: (no reason given)



Like I said I was just messing around with you. I wasn't upset about the comment either just trying to produce a laugh or two. Anyway the story was alright, just wanted to see how you would respond to criticism. You did well good chap, most people would have been infuriated and thrown a bitch fit. If you had I would have messed with you to no end bc I was bored.




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