Hoofs of Light by Chrys Romeo - HTML preview
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HOOFS OF LIGHT
by Chrys Romeo
Copyright Chrys Romeo 2012
Cover by Chrys Romeo
Mud. Wet, cold mud everywhere around.
I shift the gun on my shoulder and adjust my helmet. The mud gets
on the helmet too, as I wait and watch the night. The darkness is so
deep, there are no signs of movement. Only the flashes of light from
lost bullets break the view into fields of randomly squirming barbed
wire and splashing mud.
I’m in the trench, I’m guarding something. I don’t know what
exactly I’m guarding, I don’t know how long I should guard it, I’m
not even sure what that war is for. But I’m absolutely certain that the
dark is not safe outside the trench. I’m waiting for something and
listening to the bullets. Somehow, I’m not afraid for my own life; I
just resent the insecurity of it. And then I hear the planes over my
head and explosions start lighting the barbed wire again, the trench
gets hit and blows up splashing more mud in my face. I jump out,
knowing I can’t stay there anymore. I run into the night and then it
gets completely black.
The sound of planes seems to open a gate. It’s a gate in the sky, a
gate in time. It’s a gate in the space of the past. Yet every time I hear
the planes I know something wrong hovers above, something dark is
about to happen, something old and dooming like a voice from
another dimension, from another time. It’s an unexplained feeling, the
engine sound of the planes, opening the gate in the sky. Maybe it’s a
memory from the nights of war. Which war? I don’t know. I’m
outside, playing with my friends. We’re just playing war - it’s summer
and this is our favorite activity, though we take it very seriously.
We’re not even ten years old, yet we’ve assembled an army of the
neighborhood and I’m the captain. I have a strange instinct to collect
toy weapons. I have a deep interest in history. And I enjoy war movies.
Besides, when I hear the planes roaring I am wary of the gate in the
sky. No matter where I am.
I’m on a bus. I’m not seven years old anymore: I’m three times
more at least. Over the years, the trips by plane, the courses in sky
diving and the focus on spiritual evolution have diminished the effect
of those gates in the sky so I hardly notice them anymore.
Nevertheless, here it is: another gate that I see. I sense it clearly,
though right now I’m on a bus, passing by the streets of the town and
looking half absently through the dusty window. And there it is, high
up. Like an open door. This time, there’s not even a plane passing by.
The sky is grey, patches of clear blue are speaking of ancient eras, of
distant centuries, of something eternal waiting up there, watching,
almost sorry for this limited world where I am, on a bus. I know
there’s something so immeasurably absolute up there, looking down,
something where I feel I belong, like an everlasting home I’m sure to
return to, when time is no longer relevant. I am aware, suddenly, that
I’m living in an ancient time. The buildings of the town seem tired,
dusty, lonely and lost. And the blue sky above, with traces of grey,
watches from an immemorial dimension, from its greatness. I am so
sure I’m just a pawn on a string, riding that bus. And I’m so sure that
someone could answer, if I ask something. I keep looking at the gate
in the sky, feeling lost in a time before time.
“Do you know where I’m going?” I ask the presence behind the
An unexplained “yes” lights up the silence. I don’t hear the words,
but I know the answer.
“Am I going in the right direction?” I ask again, becoming more
and more aware of my own insignificance, compared to that
impressive immensity of absolute light.
“Am I on a mission? Do I have things to accomplish here?”
Okay. That’s enough of an answer. The sky is watching for a few
more seconds… then the bus gets to the station. There goes another
gate. It’s a gate that opens within reality, then it disappears; a tunnel to
where time and space are just a movie, seen from above, from outside.
I’m just a character on a mission. I will do my duty and then I will go
home. I know that now. But where have I seen those ancient walls
It was like a coliseum. An arena of clay and stone, when the skies
were free of apartment buildings, car noises, planes or helicopters.
Life was simple, life was just dust and stone, just skies and earth, just
fighting and surviving, raw decisions made in the blink of an eye, no
time for thoughts, no reason for complicated analysis. Appearance
was simple too: just plain clothes, more like rags; a metal sword was
the true wealth… to keep your life valuable. Courage and strength.
And the sky above. The blinding sun, the implacable belief that this is
it. That life, that feeling. I’ve been there. I had a metal sword. I had
determination. I had an army. And I had a helmet too… sometimes.
I like helmets. I’ve been wearing them a lot, it seems, through
But back to the gates: don’t think they are some astral gates for
aliens. No. Not star gates. Just a lot more than that. They are like a
huge, unexplained, unpredictable fish net that the galaxies spread
above us, throwing it on our heads, in our lives, not depending on time
or space. They are open doors to where there is no such thing as time.
Open eyes in the fish net. Yet we are tied to a story like knots in a
tapestry, drifting through time… so how do we get out of it? I don’t
know. I only know we must achieve liberation from it, someday. If we
know its truth, learn its meaning. Just as my life was caught in the fish
net: one time, I was in the trench. Then, I was in the street, leading a
bunch of boys fighting a playfully serious childish war, ancient
instincts screaming in the summer freedom. Then, I remembered the
era of clay, dust, stone and swords under an open sky. And how did I
get from one episode to the other? Probably, by making knots in the
net. A labyrinth of links. The knots are invisible, but made by our
actions, by our decisions. If I want to avoid getting caught in the fish
net, I must become an arrow and go through the gates. But first, I must
untie the knots of the astral tapestry. To untie them, I must know them.
To know them, I must remember.
“What do you want to remember?”
I’m trying a session of time regression, some kind of hypnosis. I’m
doing it because I need to know more about my past episodes, to find
out, to have a revelation about my way and the knots of the past.
“I want to know who I am. Where I come from. What I did. I want
to understand why everything is the way it is now”.
Is it too much to want to understand the mystery of life, of the
universe, of the world, of your own existence?... Maybe.
Yet, I want to understand.
“Sit down. Think about a moment when you did not feel
comfortable. What image does that bring to you?”
I close my eyes, then I see it.
“Tell me about it.”
“I’m in a tunnel. It’s wet and cold, like a prison. I cannot move too
much. I get up and see a light. “
“Can you go back?”
“Then go forward, to the light”
How very typical, isn’t it. The tunnel and the light. Yet, this tunnel
seems very real.
I walk to the light and I get lost in it. Now, I’m a dot. A point. I
have no other form than a point. I fly in the light, so much light, an
ocean of light. Then, I get out of it and I’m flying on a planet in space,
around a rock. The rock looks like a pyramid, but it’s alive. And then
the plants come, like a jungle crawling over everything. I fly up, I
become like a piece of paper. I arrive at a river, I become a rainbow. I
am an energy made of colors and the river is made of flowing colors
too. And there is some other entity there. I know she’s my match
because we have complementary colors. And I am happy.
“Is that a dream?”
“No, I’m sure it isn’t. It’s a memory.”
“Go ahead, tell me what’s next.”
“I don’t care what’s next. I don’t want to go away from this place. I
don’t want to leave her. I’m staying right here.”
“You can’t stay there, it’s just a memory. Come back now!”
“No, I don’t want to. I’m fine here.”
“You must come back! It’s not a real place to stay where you are
now. You really have to wake up.”
I am stubbornly determined to remain there. However, I’m aware I
must return to the present. Reluctantly, I open my eyes, as if tearing
myself from my own soul. I feel so sad, so displaced; I’m really
suffering for that lost paradise.
“You cannot find out more if you get stuck in your own
subconscious memory. And it’s dangerous to not want to leave.”
“I know. But I felt so right there…”
This world seems so rigid, so dark, so tough. Opaque surface that
doesn’t say anything.
I liked the rainbow river much better, I liked being made of colors
and drifting by in harmony and bliss... I don’t feel at home in this
world, much less now, when I’m sure I’ve come from very far away
and got lost. Yet, I might’ve been here before.
I give up the hypnosis session. It hasn’t revealed much to me,
except for the fact that I’ve been in other worlds, I’ve traveled through
space and different dimensions. Life is not just what we see on Earth.
Yet the fish net keeps me here now.
I’m walking in the woods. The mountains are hovering around us,
it’s so cold that the frost is making our eyebrows, our eyelashes turn to
ice; as we breathe white foam; it becomes too painful to walk, too
painful to breathe in this freezing mountain air, sharp and fierce. We
step carefully in the snow. Our boots are wet and our toes are frozen,
our torn gloves are stuck on the gun barrels, part of the skin from our
fingers will probably remain stuck there forever. We are silent and
each step cracks the stone like glass under our feet. I am followed by
my troops of sincere and hopeful soldiers; we are a platoon that must
get beyond the mountains. We could get killed any second now. Eyes
wide open, we advance. The sky is crystal blue, like glass too; the
swishing voices of the trees and the forests over the mountain side
seem to whisper mysteriously. I hear the doubtful and fearful voice of
one of the soldiers, asking me through frozen clenched teeth:
“Are you sure you know the way?...”
“I’m sure. Trust me.’
“Have you been on this path before?”
“I’ve been here many times, but never on the same path: it’s not a
good idea to leave traces twice for your enemies. We’ll go on a
“But how –“
“Shh! Be careful, they might hear us. Just walk. I know this way is
right. I just know my instincts; I know I’ll get us there.”
And we advance some more.
We meet a guarding patrol, going down. Two soldiers, on a mission
to get to the camp from where we left.
“You’re going the wrong way”, they tell us.
Now they are looking at me, as I’m obviously the leader of the
group. I can feel my feet freezing, as we pause. I think my boots will
get stuck in the snow and grow roots if we don’t keep moving.
“We must go”, I grumble. “I know this way is right”.
My thoughts are too frozen now to see anything more than the icy
crunching glass snow and the trunks of the whispering trees.
“You’ll get wasted up there.”
“No, we won’t. We’ll get to the other side.”
And I go ahead, not looking back. The group follows me: they have
no other point of reference and they trust me honestly, with their lives.
I am so positive we’ll be fine.
An hour goes by marching, then another.
After we pass by the trees, we cross over the crest of the hill. And
then, as we step up in the open field, we have no camouflage anymore.
The trees were cut from the side of the mountain. I have less than a
second to react. There’s no time to get my frozen gun up or jump face
down in the snow. As they see us from nowhere, I hear an explosion,
gunfire and a blinding light ends the sounds.
I’m in the streets again, and the children are shouting. We’re
divided in two enemy groups. We fight with tree branches, we keep
them as swords. They have trusted me until now: I am the captain. We
win the fight too, by the way. Yet, I can feel it, they are beginning to
back away from me. They don’t trust me as much. Their loyalty is
fragile and sometimes they are hostile, maybe they envy my strength
over them. None of them could defeat me in a fair fight. That’s why I
am still the captain. But they are watching for the moment to take the
leadership from me. They want to be heads of the pack, each of them.
They are ready to rebel.
And I sway the sword up to the sky. I’m in the ancient town where
the walls of clay and dust speak of nothing but simplicity; we are
insignificant fractions of seconds in the face of eternity, that absolute
sky watching us…
“The queen wants to see you”.
I go to her tent, I bow. The dry desert sun hasn’t diminished her
splendor. She sits among pillows and jewelry. She looks at me from
behind veils of silk and garments, bracelets and golden broidery. I
bow more, watching the soft Persian carpet. Or is it Egyptian?
“You can stand up. Don’t kneel before me. I consider you more of
a warrior than a servant.”
“I am more of that indeed”.
I would not waste a queen’s time for nothing.
“You promised me your army would be ready.”
“It is ready now.”
“Where are they? Your warriors?”
“Waiting for a signal behind the dunes.”
The queen glances at me from behind her silk veils again. Her eyes
have something deep, like an absolute trust, like an unexpressed need,
a shaded oasis in the dry desert sky.
“Can I trust you?” she asks me.
“I believe you can”.
“If your army wins the war for me, I will reward you with whatever
you want. Can you win the war?”
“I will do my best.”
“I guarantee you it will be worth your while. I promise”.
A queen that promises is an undeniable certainty. If the queen gives
her word, it’s enough for me. Yet, I get a feeling there will be more
than a desert to cross, more than time from immemorial eras, many
more battles and wars to win, before I can see that promise being kept.
Somehow, as I walk out of that tent, worrying only about the battle
and the army, I know I’m not expecting anything. I just know her
promise has brought another knot to the fish net, but that’s the way
things are: action develops from action and more knots come from
previous knots and the fish net extends above, invisible, yet it’s not
my concern. I’m going to win a war. And we’ll see about her promise
some other day. Maybe after the war. Maybe later, I’ll see what
becomes of the fish net.
Marble columns, temples, centuries… armies and eras washed
away by time, in a huge tide, under a burning sun.
“The teacher wants to see you. She’s waiting for you in the
She wants to see me? That’s a surprise: I’m just a teenager who
doesn’t know why I’m in this world or what will become of me. Yet
the teacher considers me important and wants to talk.
I go downstairs; she’s waiting in the corridor. She smiles. I smile
too. Something is very impressive about her. She’s more like a queen
than a teacher.
“I wanted to ask you”, she says, watching me carefully, “would you
like to participate in a competition next year?”
I shrug; I don’t know what to say.
“Yes, of course.”
The idea hasn’t dawned on me until now, but I can see myself
“We’ll train a little more for it”, she assures me. “But I would
really want you to win; I am certain that you can. You write wonderful
essays, and your stories are pure literature; it could be a great
advantage in the competition.”
I am again surprised by her trust and sudden praise. She appreciates
“You’re not like the others, are you,” she says, feeling more
“No, I’m not like the others.”
She looks at me with deep attention, in the shade of the corridor the
sky of her bluish uncertain eyes has something eternal, something
immensely wise and calm; suddenly, I feel under the eternal sky of an
ancient era and I seem to witness the speed of wild hoofs running in a
world before time was even invented, something so right and so alive.
I would wonder at that look in her eyes many times from that moment
We stand there and the blinding burning sun of a dry ancient desert
lights my mind.
“We’ll achieve great things together”, she says and her royal and
warm smile makes me think I really want to win that competition for
I start to believe I can and I will. It seems I’ve never wanted
anything more than to win the competition and make her happy. I
want to prove I’m worth her appreciation. I sense I’ve done something
before, to meet her demands… what is it? A castle? Have I built a
castle? Or a war? Maybe I won a war for her. Or was it something
different, for someone else?... I don’t know. It was a precious thing
anyway. I’m certain this is not for the first time we met, in that
corridor. We share something more than centuries.
On the day of the competition I could feel that eternal sun making
things happen. Light overflowing in my mind, outside the window, on
the page I was writing, with her presence, invisible beside me…
“I’ll think about you”, she said, “you know, just to give you more
If it was her thinking about me, or the magic of the overflowing
surreal desert sun, making the moment timeless, I don’t know. If it
was the eternal blue sky above or I who wished so much to be more
than perfect and win, I don’t know. But I won. It was a miracle.
“How does it feel to be number one?” she asked me afterwards,
“It feels good”.
Yet I didn’t tell her that what felt even better was the thought of
having succeeded in making her happy, giving her something unique,
that nobody else had ever offered to her before.
“You are special”, she said.
I discovered something that day: a power I didn’t think I had, at
that time. Yet by winning for her, I won something for myself too: a
new me. A new me that had value and strength to achieve things. I
became aware of that. I became someone better in my own eyes.
“How are you, soldier?” she asked me on the last day I saw her.
She had figured out I was a soldier, yet I didn’t know where she
understood that from. She knew me more than she realized and more
than I suspected. The eternal sky would always be above us and we
would forever meet beyond that timeless era…
“I’ll come back to see you again”, she said just before she left. “If I
ever return around here, it will be for you.”
Another lost promise that remained a tied knot in the fish net…
because she never returned. Another reason to want to fight the
injustice of things.
“You shouldn’t worry about fighting so much”, she told me once.
“You’ll see love is more important than war. You’ll try to reason with
your enemies as much as you can, and it will be useless. You’ll fight
them endlessly, to no conclusion. The only value that is ever worth
your time is love. You’ll be better if you choose love and forget about
How can I forget about war? There’s a war going on outside.
There’s a war going on inside. There’s a war of the limited minds, a
war of interests, of envy, of imperfection. An endless struggle on
many levels. War is a part of life. In other worlds, maybe there is no
war. But this world seems to beget war just as it creates life. Peace is
far away from us, more like an ideal we might never completely
Yet I kept wondering if that was my lesson, in the end. If love
could be the one thing to get me free from the fish net. My liberation
from anger against the fish net. My absolution from a past of endless
wars, of fierce fights, of stubborn enemies. If maybe, just maybe, I
had to give up fighting and choose love instead. Start looking for love
and only love. But what do you do if you are attacked? How do you
defend yourself? With love?... And what if love needs to be defended
too? Isn’t love worth fighting for?... Anyway you see it, you can’t get
away from it.
I knew I had to have weapons: a sword, a gun, my wits, my courage,
my resistance, my determination… a strong spirit needs weapons. And
“Let them be. Let’s just go”, says my sister as we stand in the snow,
looking up at the bunch of evil kids swearing and yelling at us to go
I wish I could be as tolerant as she is. I wish I could be as peaceful
and kind. But I’m fierce and tough and my mind boils and burns when
I sense conflict in the air, I get fired up and I attack too. As childish as
it might seem, because we are children with sleighs on a winter night,
it just seems something more serious than that.
“I’ll show them who owns this hill!”
“Nobody owns it, let’s leave them, they’re not worth the fight”, she
We were there first, before they came. The little park was our usual
sleighing place in winter and tennis field in summer. It was like our
own yard. And yet they came on that evening, noisy and rude, telling
us to leave. They wanted the slope for themselves. I was ready to fight,
but my sister didn’t want to. She wanted us to go. I was angry because
they had spit on my winter coat. I wanted to fight and get revenge. She
grabbed my sleeve.
“No, it’s not worth it. Let’s go. Don’t start a fight, it’s useless.”
“They already started it! I will go and show them!”
“They’re worthless. Let’s just go home.”
My inner warrior dignity told me otherwise, but for her sake, I did
as she requested. I got out of that fight and let it fade into the past.
Was that an example of choosing love instead of war? Maybe. I don’t
Sometimes you gotta fight, sometimes you gotta walk away. So
how do you know when to stand up for what you believe in, for what
is right - and when to avoid a war? You don’t really know. And you
don’t choose the war: the war chooses you. It was like that in my case.
Or maybe the fish net chose my wars for me. And I had to be ready
and up to it.
So, for me to escape the fish net, I must become an arrow now: I
must become light itself, advancing through time and erasing the
limits of this world. I must become like galloping hoofs, through
eternity and beyond it; I must learn to fly with the flow of energy that
does not touch the knots of the labyrinth. I must learn to become free
of it, out of the fish net. I must have speed. I must have sharpness. I
must be very aware and understand everything. I must be wise and
pointed to the purpose, which is my liberation. I know the shape and
performance of any weapon: steel, wood, iron, they have plenty of
sharpness and precision. What I really want now is absolute sharpness
and precision of the spirit.
So how do I become that myself, exactly? If you see me, what do I
look like to you?... What am I for you to see anyway? A trace of light,
maybe?... Invisible hoofs running to the horizon? Does my spirit
resemble some kind of perfection of that absolute eternal sky when I
am at my best? Or is there only the imperfection of the fish net? Do I
reach the speed of light? Am I at least close to being as strong as
speed of light should be?...
I don’t know. Maybe. You cannot rely on anything in this world,
for sure… except for the eternal sky and the burning sun.
The burning sun is there – it seems to be wherever I go. It speaks of
desert dunes, houses made of clay with square terraces, a blue-green
lagoon to the horizon, small hills deprived of vegetation, people
having tea in the sunset, in long thin glasses with weeds floating
inside, wild plants growing and surviving in the sand, waiting for
another day to go by… palm trees where birds are chirping cheerfully
despite the scarcity of water, heat ruffling through foliage of wild
orange trees. In the middle of the night there are prayers wailing in
dark tones, reminding me of the bitter sorrow and despair of the vast,
mysterious desert, a riddle just like the struggle of life, just like the
night sky… a feeling so deep and ancestral within a place without
water, vegetation, resources or hope… such is the desert night
sometimes. It’s an unsolved mystery where the only possibility of
getting beyond thirst and sand is to have speed: the speed of light. It’s
the only answer. It’s what makes the gates in the sky possible.
The gates in the sky have changed in time. Instead of that
threatening, imminent danger, the serene light gates are more frequent
now. Light flowing from a place where the stream is infinite. It might
happen because I’m beginning to see through the open eyes of the
labyrinth: I’m beginning to see beyond its surface and its meaning. It’s
more like a game. A simple tapestry of strings: the spirit can be free of
it, anytime. That is its greatest secret: you can actually get away from
it, get beyond it. It’s just an invisible fish net. And you don’t have to
wait for eternity: freedom can begin right now.
If I need to become like the speed of light, I should have a way to
move ahead faster. I decide I need wheels. So I get myself a bike. A
bike, a helmet – of course – and determination.
I choose “Courage” as the name of my bike. Soon, I get used to it
so much that it’s a part of my spirit and I hardly see myself without it.
There is no fear and no worry, no war and no troubles, when I ride the
bike. It’s just me and the road. It’s just freedom, light and strength,
going ahead. I remember the first bike I had when I was a child. It was
named “Pegasus” and it had a silver horse with wings, forged on its
front bar like a blazon. Riding a bike has been many times like flying.
Is riding a bike going to change my life? It certainly has improved
it a lot, until now. Am I going to change at least some of the war into
love? Is that possible, in this life? I don’t know. I’ll just have to see if
the centuries of war can turn into wisdom, eventually, along with the
speed of light. If I remember I’m not in a trench, I’m not at war, I’m
not in the army, I’m not a soldier anymore … or am I still fighting for
something? Is it just for being free? Am I not free? I believe I am, now.
If I tell myself I’m free and if I follow the light going up, to the
serenity of that eternal sky and the burning sun, only the speed of light
might remain in front of my eyes: like an endless road.
However, some things might have stayed unfinished: for example,
the platoon lost in the snow of the winter mountains. I should go back
and lead them away from there. Yet I can only go forward. I know the
fish net might bring them to me again, so that I can show them the
right way - to the light. What about the queen of the desert? Will she
meet me again to keep that ancient promise? And what about the
teacher? Will she ever return to see how I am? What about my
sword?... Will I use it for another day and another day still, until the
end of time itself?
I wonder if the eternal sky has answers to these knots in the fish net.
A reply to this labyrinth of questions. Or if the only answer that can
ever be is freedom.
I notice she likes me more when I have the bike. I see respect in her
eyes. She admires me, as if she sees something unexpected emerging
from another time: a warrior with power and dignity. Maybe she
remembers something. Recently, the stings of hate behind her sharp
glances have started to melt into curiosity and attention. I was so sure
that she hated me with complete conviction. I was so sure she was one
of the enemies and she wanted nothing from me. I was absolutely
certain that I could expect nothing from her except hostility. And then,
she saw me on the bike. It was as if she suddenly surrendered
whatever she had against me. She just gave it up, in one second. She
forgot about it. She saw me with different eyes. She saw me in a new
light. It was as if she saw the real me, for the first time. And she
changed her attitude somehow.
She replies strictly and objectively to the point. Nothing more than
distant politeness. It’s very early in this winter morning and we’re
both waiting for the same bus. Sunrise is not even half way up on the
horizon. Only grey sky and snow.
“You’re not riding today”, she says without looking at me.
I jump up and down, to prevent my toes from freezing.
“Nope. Not today.”
I pause for a moment. I would not dare mention to her the fact that
she’s also without her car. I would never start a conversation out of
nowhere. She scares me somehow. I am not afraid of anything, be it
war or danger, but I am afraid of her; she makes me uneasy. Maybe
it’s because I know she can hurt me, if I let her. Maybe it’s because I
know she doesn’t like me.
‘Too much ice on the road”, I add, beating my boots on the solid
snow, stuck to the pavement.
Everything is frozen. The air is thick with frost; it feels like
inhaling countless icy pins.
We keep a safe space between us, as usual. An objective,
Until something begins to change: spring comes, the ice melts off
the road and I’m on the bike again.
I arrive at the door of the building where I have a mission; I take
off my sunglasses and my helmet. I notice her there, in the spring sun,
almost brighter than the morning light. She’s elegantly shining,
sculpted like a statue of ancient civilizations. She’s watching me like a
panther, slender and ready to react. We cross short glances and we
know for sure it’s like a silent compliment. It’s not fair that she should
look so beautiful and be so close, yet so inaccessible. I sense a deep,
unexpected respect from her attitude: it’s enough that I parked my
metal blue bike next to the door. She sees the real me again. While I
am almost upset at her beauty and elegance messing with my mind,
it’s difficult to look away. And she starts talking to me; a casual,
polite and surprising question:
“Has the meeting started?”
Her eyes are so direct and disarming.
I look at her and I hide my smile, because I know that deep inside,
she’s still ready to hate me mercilessly, any second I would let her see
anything more than indifference.
“I don’t know”, I reply simply, walking up the stairs while playing
with my bike keys that catch her attention, “but I’ll go and see if I can
She remains in front of the door, in the morning light. I steal
another glance at her, over my shoulder, one more time trying to
suppress the rushing whirl of images of how I would get close to her,
if I had the chance – which I don’t, right now. I know I must keep my
cool and remain completely serious and detached. She is capable of
tearing me to pieces if she wants to, making me suffer if I care in the
least. I must have a shield when I’m in front of her. What is more
unexpected is the fact that I’m beginning to like her too much, even
though I know she is fierce, sarcastic and cold as ice. Yet I can see
beyond that now. I see her helpless need for protection and warmth. I
see her having fun like a little girl. I see her becoming passionate like
a feline. Yet reality is just a distance from that range of possibilities.
Impossible wishes of turning an iceberg into lava. So how did she get
like that? Maybe life has made her become cruel and cold, in time,
maybe she found no other way to survive, maybe she didn’t know
how. Maybe she enjoys being tough, being cold, it’s the only power
she knows: the power of distance and determination. But now I see
beyond that – there’s still a soul with a beating heart somewhere
behind her severe eyes. And sometimes, a softer tone in the way she
speaks to me. And I don’t know what to say to her: I’m completely
disarmed when she approaches.
I never considered myself her enemy, but she treated me as a threat,
many times in the past. I hope to change that, even though I don’t
hope for too much anyway. Why would I be affected by her presence
and why would we be insecure about each other? We both might have
something the other needs, or something of similar importance to
exchange. Something unknown, brought from immemorial time: a
way out of the fish net.
It’s a step forward, if we can begin to replace disregard with trust,
indifference with care and hostility with appreciation. If we can let
ourselves get to that level of understanding. If we can think of love
instead of enmity, we could be free.
I walk up the stairs; I’m under the eternal sky again, in the ancient
era of swords and walls of clay. I’m going to walk in a temple of
marble and white dust. I’ve got my army following behind. We’re
about to take over the temple.
And she’s at the door, in her immaculate robe, fiercely trying to
keep us out of the building. She’s got a long spear in her hand, but her
eyes are more of a weapon than that sharp iron.
“What do you want?” she asks me, obviously referring to my army
and my intentions.
“I want the vase”.
“It’s sacred, you cannot have it.”
She knows her duty and she will not let us take the vase from the
“I need the vase for interests of war. If I take the vase for
negotiations, it might end the dispute between our countries”, I
explain to her, though I know it’s useless; she will not give in, no
matter what I say.
“I don’t care what you need the vase for. It belongs to the temple,
you cannot have it.”
“Are you aware that I can take the vase without your approval?”
I’m waiting patiently, looking in her expressionless eyes that shine
with the morning sun, in that immemorial era. She measures me up,
unimpressed, but I sense a restraint in her determination that’s
beginning to shake. She realizes I’m a warrior and I am powerful
enough to take whatever I want from her temple. Yet something
makes me ask for her approval. She looks at my sword.
“If you take the vase”, she says, “I will never forgive you. I will
hunt you down for as long as you live”.
“Do you think I’m afraid of that?...”
“You should be. I mean it and you’ll see.”
“If you don’t give me the vase then we’ll have a war, starting
“If that’s the way that it must be.”
She’s still at the door, stubborn and sure of herself, not letting me
solve the matter peacefully. I think for a few moments, while my
soldiers wait in silence. She’s waiting too. I’m the one who must
decide now: shall we take the vase in a storm, by force, or shall we let
things go by their own course – to the war? I frown some more and
shades seem to cover the sky. A flowing shadow advances above the
temple, dark clouds coming from beyond the desert. A sand storm,
possibly – or maybe something from the future, from a time that is
round and ready to happen, from a distant, far away place where I will
look at her again and see in her eyes something that will make me
change my mind and turn the anger into something opposite, in the
blink of a second. We are strangers now, but from a deep unknown
shift of the fish net, I have the certainty there’s more to it. I don’t
understand it myself. Yet I lower my eyes to the stairs of the temple.
Then I turn around.
“Let’s go”, I say to the army.
I don’t know when it really started - you know, the war before even
time itself ever began. I don’t know why it started either. Why it goes
on. Or how to make it stop: life destroying life to survive, animals,
plants and people, conflict growing from conflict, action from reaction,
consequence from choice, choice from decision, decision from instinct,
instinct from need, need from inevitable evolution, evolution from
infinity… and everything creating a fish net we will have to get out of,
eventually. I have figured out by now that in order to achieve freedom,
the knots of the tapestry must be untied: erased, solved and changed
into an absolute liberation. The eternal sky is waiting.
“You lost my horse”… she looks at me with big disappointed eyes.
We are in that era before time ever began. It’s winter and we don’t
have anything much to keep us warm. We are used to the snow
somehow; our bare feet don’t feel it freezing the skin. We are used to
the rough snow storms. And right now, a storm is coming. I look at
the animal going in the distance, the hoofs of the horse running and
disappearing in the raging snow flakes, thousands, millions, dancing
over the frozen field. Only white snow remains. The horse is gone.
Nobody could find it now, in that fierce, terrible storm. I was
supposed to keep the harness in my hands. It was her horse – I had
given it to her actually, as a gift, and I was keeping it for her, as we
walked. It was my responsibility and I liked doing that for her. Simply
out of love. She’s almost just a child, as much as I am, but there’s a
trace of absolute wisdom in her eyes, something like the eternal sky
that will be waiting for us, from now on, centuries after centuries. She
looks at me with regret, as if sensing the length of consequences that
have begun to unfold from that moment on. She starts to resent me
and regret the inevitable loss ahead of us. It’s as if that round time has
dawned in her mind, in a second, and she knows how much it will
matter – beginning with right now. Right this very instant.
“My hands are frozen”, I explain and I shrug innocently.
My fingers were frozen on the horse’s harness and they slipped off.
And then, in a fraction of that important second, the horse ran away,
free. And it got lost in the snow storm. We are still standing there, as
the snow flakes surround us, and we know it’s the beginning of an
endless time, ahead of us. We look at each other and we know.
There’s nothing but us, the snow and the eternal sky. And we know.
“You must bring the horse back to me!” she says in a sudden
demand and her eyes get a shade of determination.
“I can’t do it right now. You see, there’s a storm coming. We
should get inside”.
“It doesn’t matter. You owe me my horse. Go and get it.”
I look at her; it’s difficult to see through the blizzard, as the snow
flakes are flowing between us and they get in my eyes, they melt and
run down my cheeks, becoming water, becoming ice tracks, freezing
instantly. I blink. She keeps staring at me, in demand. I am as lost as
“I will find your horse later”.
She is obviously upset; something was set off balance between us; I
realize I must make things even, but I know, at the same time, that it
might take an eternity before I can do that.
“I don’t know when. Someday.”
“After the storm?...”
“Yes, after the storm.”
I would say anything to comfort her now. I know, and she knows,
that I will get her horse back, eventually, even if that means we will
witness the world going round and round for centuries without end.
Yet we know I will do it. I will make things right again. It doesn’t
matter when anymore.
“Okay, good,” she says. “It’s a deal. I won’t forget you gave me
your word. You’ll bring the horse to me again. Right?”
“Good. Now, let’s go home”.
And we go.
“Maybe I shouldn’t have given the horse to you in the first place,” I
say to myself as we’re walking home, against the storm. “Then there
wouldn’t have been any horse to lose.”
“Maybe,” she says. “And maybe you shouldn’t have met me. And
maybe we shouldn’t have been here to know each other. And maybe
life shouldn’t have appeared in this world to begin with. And maybe,
and maybe… don’t you see? You can’t undo it now. Whatever is, just
is. You can’t take it back. You can only go forward with it. Make sure
you find my horse soon.”
So after I achieve the speed of light, where will it take me?
It will take me to the future. Actually, it will take me beyond it. I
know for certain that a timeless moment still waits for me up there,
beyond time itself.
I pass by the tree of life; I rush to the valley where some children
are rolling around with their bikes too. They see me and follow me
like a bunch of swarming bees, zooming on their wheels, happy to
have company for the ride.
“Let’s race”, they say to me, eager to test their power, to measure
up with me, yet I smile with a bit more wisdom than their adrenaline
“I’m not racing any of you. You can follow me if you like, but it’s
not a contest.”
And I wonder if these children on bikes are not the lost platoon that
I’m leading now to the right way, to the horizon, to freedom, to
light… Maybe they are the ones who were waiting for me, ready to set
the balance of things closer to harmony, to even the odds for the day
when they got lost in the winter mountain. It might be my chance to
get them out of the fish net. Their presence is like an answer, making
things right. They ride by my side, happy to discover the thrill of
speed. They’re following without a doubt, without uncertainty: their
trust is rewarded by the sunrise that’s appearing in the horizon, as they
advance toward it.
Finally, my bike catches more speed and even more, until the view
is just a blend of spinning colors. I think my spirit is so high now that
I’m slowly becoming immaterial; I seem just a spectrum of light,
running along – and above – the street. The children cannot keep up
with me. And they shouldn’t even try to. They’ll get to the horizon
later, some other day, in their own time. It’s enough that they have
direction now and they’ve started rolling their own race. It’s enough
that they see me ahead and they know freedom is possible – it’s an
imminent event, like sunrise of a new morning.
The wheels of my bike have become burning whirls of light, as I’m
flying to the horizon. And then I see her beyond the line, she’s
becoming immaterial too, somehow, and I see the river of flowing
colors, where she’s waiting: something like the paradise that I
remembered a long time ago. I feel I am flying home and I realize that
the memory might have been a vision of the future – or maybe time
has begun to bend and turn around, so the past is switched into the
future, the beginning into the end, like a circle. A future appearing
from a past I don’t even remember now. It’s not an inconvenience, as
it’s a new sunrise, when I cross the horizon.
I can see it, like a bright view, as I’ve arrived in that time beyond
time, when things are no longer linear. I reach her side and I stop next
to her. She is there; she has been waiting for me. It’s the end of the
race. There is a gate in the sky and she’s looking at it too. I know she
can see it now. It’s one of those gates of a better energy, a better world,
a better life… The flowing light is serene and reassuring. I look at her,
as she’s standing there, up high, a vivid presence, glancing at the gate
that’s opening in the sky, in front of our eyes. Time has become
irrelevant now. We’re hardly touching the ground; it feels like flying.
She returns my stare for a second. And she smiles. She knows who I
am. There is only love, light and the eternal sky.
“It will be here”, she says, still smiling, still looking at me.
I know what she refers to. I know we are waiting for something to
come out of the open gate. The window in the sky is the answer. I
know for sure that it will solve everything and we will be able to go
on free from the fish net: whatever is approaching the portal in the sky
will erase the centuries of war, the hostile glances, the dark clouds, the
uncertainties and the endless suffering. Life will change. It will
become more alive than ever, anew. The labyrinth of knots is already
gone; I sense it has vanished unknowingly. And then, I start to hear it:
the sound of hoofs, from far away, from a distant space and time, from
an immemorial life, thousands of centuries ago. Yet here it is,
approaching, becoming clearer with each minute, like lightning
“It’s here”, I say and we both look up at the gate in the sky.
The sound of the hoofs is above us now, closing in, hovering – and
then we see it: the splendor and brightness of the horse of light,
appearing with its hoofs in front of us, touching thin air, coming out of
the timeless gate to close the deal, to untie the knots, to liberate us
forever from the claws of the fish net. It’s here to absolve us from the
labyrinth. It has traveled a long way, but now it’s here: a miracle
we’ve been waiting for since the beginning, when the fish net had
started weaving around us. It has been written in the eternal sky, and
now it’s being unwritten before our eyes. Life is suddenly redeemed.
It’s suddenly becoming alive, more than the notion itself. It seems the
hoofs of light have been running around since forever, just for this
The majestic horse is hard to look at, so shiny, mane flowing in
sparkles and little stars flying off from it, its warm breath so alive with
energy and hope, certainty and liberation. It passes by above us, in a
wave of rays of light and I reach out my hand, in that second, to grab
the harness. I close my hand on it. The horse stops next to us, shaking
its bright sparkling mane, overflowing in beams of light and breathing
steam, like the morning sun, a morning that is about to begin, free as
I look at her, as I’m holding the harness now, standing side by side
with the horse of light.
“I’ve got the horse”, I tell her happily and I hand the harness to her.
“I can finally return it to you. Here. It’s yours.”
“It is,” she nods.
And then she adds:
“I think it might have become ours now… both of us… ”
She hesitates before seizing the harness. Yet she takes it and smiles
with absolute happiness: everything has returned to its own right. I
know I fulfilled my quest now: I kept my part of the deal. It’s finished.
I am free. The eternal sky is where we are. The endless sun is what
we’re holding. She touches the mane of the horse. And then she turns
“You better keep it”, she says, extending the harness back to me.
“You’ve earned it. It should be yours now.”
“Yes, but I gave it to you in the first place. I cannot have it for
“You keep it for me. Just as you’ve always done”, she smiles and
her eyes remind me of countless times when we met along the way, in
different centuries, in different places, in the fish net.
“We’ll share it”, I decide, accepting her offer and our hands meet to
hold the harness together.
There’s an unexpected glow where our hands meet. Life itself is
walking with us.
The hoofs of light are shining now between us, like a new sunrise
of an endless unwritten story of infinity.