It seemed that my solitary confinement lasted forever. My memories, almost not real, smoldered somewhere in the corner of what was left of my mind. Here, I am a child, little, quite a nice boy. I carried home my semi-annual report card. I had tried so hard all these months, and my report card table pleased me with its good marks, with the exception of the hated math—I got a C again…. But dad knew that I didn’t get along with this subject very well; he wouldn’t be angry with me, I guess…. But no, my father wasn’t satisfied, he was sure that I could get all As.
Now I am a teenager, I am stepping down from the stage on trembling legs. It was the first time in my life I sang not at a lesson or among friends, but in a crowded audience hall. I ’didn’t care about what the audience was feeling, whether they liked my singing or no… The appreciation of one single person meant much to me….
“I sang flat, dad? That is impossible!”
Practically there is no mother in these tails of memory…She is like a shadow behind my father’s back, a silent shadow, always accepting of my father…. And there is something missing from my memory. Light, joy, children’s fun. All I remember is my father’s discontent with me, his failed expectations.
After many years spent in this prison I still keep on asking myself, what for? Why have I been punished so brutally? This area of my memory is blocked completely. The more I try to recollect, the stronger my headache. I know one thing. The court, which bound me here, is not mistaken.
My imprisonment is of particular cruelty. My ward is so small that not only is it hard to move, but even breathing is very difficult. I do not remember, I do not remember, when I inhaled deeply for the last time. After all, my imprisonment is forever. I don’t even believe that I used to be free. I think I was born here, in this transparent capsule of unbreakable glass. You probably think that it is a manifestation of mercy of my jailers to make the walls of my cell transparent. Oh, no! This is a special torture. In fact, all that I can see through the glass is a black, burnt desert. The desert, covered with pieces of a flowed and burned-out substance that looks like burnt plastic. Rays that shine through the black sky never get brighter, they do not give warmth. I think that most likely it is not the sun’s rays. This light is bloody red and can scarcely light the desert.
The walls are transparent to precisely make me understand that the place is so terrible that even if I one day leave the cell, I have nowhere to go….
A few days before the current events that I want to tell you about, I had a strange feeling. I felt like I was not alone in this darkness. No, I had not noticed any sign of a human, but I could not get rid of the feeling that I was being watched by eyes. Unearthly eyes, because as far as I remembered earth people, not one of them had such good and kind eyes. No one had ever looked at me with affection and love.
These eyes made me nervous but attracted me as well. I tried not to notice them, and searched for them in the darkness of my world. Then one day my hallucinations came to life. The shape of a woman appeared in front of my cell. I recognized her at once. These eyes were her eyes. Strange eyes on a strange face. She melted the walls of my cell with some kind of invisible rays that came from her hands or from her eyes. The eyes filled with my pain.
She looked a little embarrassed and very upset. I found out that for many hours the Woman attempted to let the light intp my desert, but the light did not penetrate here.
“Let us leave this place,” she said in a quiet voice. “Let’s go. This place is hopeless, we can’t help it.”
I was unable to resist the power of this quiet voice. I gave her my hand and silently followed her. The way was long, but I didn’t see where or what roads we took. I was as if in a dream. There was nothing of myself in this movement, nor my will or my consciousness. At some point I felt a touch on my shoulder.
“We’ve arrived; here now is your home.”
Only then I realized that I had walked the way with my eyes closed. I knew it, feeling a terrible pain in my eyes, in my mind, in all my body that was used to years spent in the darkness. I opened my eyes.
We were standing on a green hilltop, and at the bottom greenish water splashed into, at a distance of several dozen meters, a big lake, almost a sea. The vegetation around us was unnaturally violent and created the impression that it was made of a white substance. And there was sun there. No… it must be said another way. And there was the SUN! There was so much sun, it was as if it had been waiting for me here for so many years, it had saved up its light to pour it all on me at once at our first meeting. The meeting, appointment, that’s what it was. A date with my Home.
My heart twisted from new and unknown feelings. I didn’t know then what it was. This feeling filled me with warmth, strange excitement, which made my lips stretch in a smile, my hands reach up to the sun and eyes filled with tears. Tears that removed what remained of the black desert from my soul.
For the first time in my life I took a deep breath of the air of my Home. God, what kind of air it was! It hummed in my lungs, tickled me, and made me laugh and cry. It smelled of fleur-d’orange and freshly baked bread. There was so much air that I thought that even if I go on breathing it in for 120 years more, it would remain full.
I lay with my face in the grass. The land embraced me, lifted me up on its soft and good hands, and began to rock me, lulling as, probably, a loving mother lulls her child. I started crying. At first softly, almost silently, and then, burying my face in these loving arms, in a voice shouting, howling, screaming from the very depth of my soul for the ferocious longing of love, after years of loneliness, the sense of my own fault, nonentity and the fairness of a terrible punishment.
I didn’t understand whose voice was it: of that woman who led me here, and even now was quietly standing behind me all this time while I greeted the Home, or the Mother-Earth, which I buried my face in. The voice was soft, but sounded so powerful that it seemed everything around me was filled with these words:
“Listen, I’ll tell you a story. It happened many years ago. The Supreme Court investigated the case of one Soul. The Soul of a very young man accused of unrighteous thoughts. The Prosecutor demanded to consider the crime as murder.
“Here, at the top,”“ he said. “There is no difference between thought and action. The Accused is guilty of the murder of his parents! Just think about it! His father and mother who gave him life, raised him, and gave him the best years of their life. And the Accused thought about these great people as those who were guilty in his troubles and deserved death. I ask the Court to present these blood-curdling proofs!”
On a screen, different pictures of terrible and painful deaths of a man and woman started flashing. The picture changed from one to another, the torture of the poor people became more and more anguishing, and each scene ended with their death and the sound of a child’s crying.
“I insist, based on this exhibition of the Accused in thoughts of murder, he be given the supreme penalty!”
Then the Defense stepped forward. He asked for silence with a wave of a white wing. Suddenly the Defense asked to scroll back to a particularly terrible shooting again and stopped the recording.
“Listen! Can you hear the child’s cry? It’s the cry of the Soul of our Accused who was crying from the pain and pity for the agonizing parents. I also have a recording to show.”
There appeared a little boy with big sad eyes on the screen. He gave his dad a report card, and the same child’s cry sounded in the background, already familiar to the Court from the previous records…. The close-up showed the marks. There were all As and Bs on it, except mathematics: there was the C flashing. The close-up of father’s face. He was telling the boy he didn’t tried at all, that he might had done better if he had made an effort.
The boy’s eyes were racing in search of support. But his mother, standing behind the father’s back, was accordingly shaking her head with her husband. The weeping grew louder and turned into sobs. But there were no emotions on the face of the boy. The parents didn’t hear him crying in their just discontent of their son.
A new scene. Our growing-up hero singing from the stage. He has a nice voice. The audience in the hall was still in delight, soaring on the waves of this voice, which was giving joy and light. But the eyes of a young singer were looking for someone else in the hall. Here they found the object of his search, and a ringing voice descended from above. And again there was weeping off-camera….
The young man at school, at University, in the street, in a theatre. Everywhere he goes he was distinguished with loneliness. It is not a simple absence of other people. Cold absolute loneliness inside and outside. His shoulders were always hunched together, eyes downcast as if he wanted to become invisible. And here he is in a forest, his eyes full of tears and raised up to the sky. There is in the sky his only Friend, the only Interlocutor. The boy tells him about all his pain, all hopelessness. One by one images of prayer arises on the screen. Backs, backs, lots of people around him, and all of them had turned their backs to the young man. The steppe was a huge, empty, space, and the young man was alone in the middle of the steppe. The father’s face discontented, condemning, and a blank spot in place on mother’s face. And suddenly… the picture was replaced by the recording the Prosecutor used as evidence. Writhing in agony, his dying parents crying for the camera….There is a heath, huge, empty, and windy, the young man stands alone in this heath. His father’s face displeased, blaming, a pale circle instead of mother’s face. And again the picture abruptly reverts to the familiar one.
Suffering from agony, the dying parents cry behind the scene…
“Look at our Accused,” the Defense called out. “He was only 21 years old, his Soul has dried away because of a lack of love, covered with open wounds from a lack of understanding. It cringes because of rejection and loneliness. Can we blame that person’s Mind for the cruel visions? What kind pictures could he create in his head, growing up without warmth and loving support? How would this lonely dried-up Soul manage to find strength to lift the Mind and help it make the choice of Love? Dear judge! You want your creations to love your neighbor as yourself! But in order to love your neighbor AS yourself, one should first learn to love himself…. And whom could this boy learn from how to love? His unhappy parents themselves did not know how to show it, so what can they teach him? I appeal to the Honorable Court! Do not sentence him! This child must not be sentenced… he must be healed! Let’s send him to a Spa of Love and Understanding, prescribe baths of joy and water from the source of acceptance. Give him three good words three times per day and provide him with 18 loving touches per a session.”
Deliberation didn’t take much time. And the sentence was given.
“The Accused is not guilty of infliction of harm to his parents.
He is convicted in the absence of faith in the Creator’s Love.”
As a punishment for oblige evil thoughts, the Accused shall take care of the parents until their departure to the other world, which will take place in their great age, in connection with the necessity of giving them time to realize their mistakes and give back their love to the son.
As a treatment, the accused should be sent to the Spa of Love.”
Applause broke the silence. The Prosecutor, Defense, security, all in a mutual outburst of joy and gratitude, were flapping the wings. Only the Soul of the accused wasn’t happy. It never heard what happened in the court. In its reality there was another court, and not a saintly one. This court’s existence contradicted all the laws of the World. Only lynch law….
There were no representatives of the Defense during the process. It demonstrated only the materials of the Prosecutor. The guards whipped the accused soul with the lashes of disgrace, the judge poured cold water of contempt, the Prosecutor burned with the fire of hatred.
And there was another sentence.
“Guilty, guilty, guilty! He is sentenced to life in solitary confinement in the desert of Hatred. Conditions of confinement: airless cell…”
“The powers of light were trying to save you all these years. But you did not want to see their messengers, did not want to respond to their sights. You were lost until that moment when you started talking to one of the messengers. You pronounced just one short sentence: ‘I am always sad’, but this was enough to give her the strength to penetrate into your prison.
And now you’re here. This is your Home. It was waiting for you all these years. Your loving wife is here. Your old parents come here. They understand a lot now and only wait for a chance to hug you and tell you all these good and kind words, which they never said your whole life. Also, they are in great need of your love and support. This house is always full of warmth and light. It is shined upon and warmed by the Light of the Creator’s Love. He felt the pain all these years of your voluntary confinement and is glad that you returned to this wonderful World.
It depends on you where you are going to live now. And both this beautiful, sunlit, garden place and the black desert are real.”
“Here, I give you life and death,” the Creator says. “Choose life….”