I was the wind. A playful breeze, skittering over still waters, delighting in the dancing waves that lifted themselves to caress my ankles. Fleeing on wings of laughter, shooing away clouds of despondency.
I was the wind, untamed, unbound, my gasps of laughter keeping the kites aloft as the children flung them to my mercy, my shortened breath sailing paper boats in overflowing gutters.
I was the wind, my soft touches lifting tendrils of hair to caress a maiden's face, wafting the fragrance of jasmine into the heat of the night, stirring vague, hitherto unknown longings in her breast.
I was the wind, bringing the music that played to the beat of her heart, and taking back with me her half-sighs of yearning.
I was the wind, whispering secrets to lovers, mischievously keeping half to myself.
I was the good wind that brought the tides in, bringing the sailor home from the sea, back to his beloved. I heard secrets and confessions. Shared tears and laughter.
And when I was angry, I stamped my feet and whipped the seas themselves into frenzy.
Once, I was the wind. There was no place I might not go. I travelled unchallenged, mistress of my own self, I was the wind.
Life went on, and I became water.
Not for me the surging sea, welcoming all into its loving fold. Nor yet the rushing river, tripping over cliffs in a waterfall, spray marrying sunbeams to form sparkling rainbows that hung arched in the stillness of the air.
No, not a gentle stream either, rippling delightedly over rocks and winding its ways through cool green forests on its way to give up its life in the ocean.
I became water, becalmed, constrained by boundaries - a cool, dark pool, still and deep. Not a ripple disturbed my surface. I was content to be so. I thought I was content to be so.
And yet sometimes, the yearnings of my heart would rise, disobedient waves, and when the breezes, my erstwhile companions, played tag, they would cling to their ankles, as if by so doing, they could fly free over the bounds that constrained them.
Water can only rise so far.
And then one day, a storm broke over the pool and the winds that came in its wake whipped my depths cleaving me in two, and the waves broke clear of boundaries, flowing unbridled - nothing can withstand the fury of a storm.
Dear heart, lie still.
Now, I am stone. Polished and smoothened by years of being buffeted by the winds and water.
Round, smooth pebble stone. With a flash of red and blue and green hinting at the fire inside.
Cold white stone with embers trapped inside. It is the ultimate prison, and the ultimate freedom.
I am stone. Safe from hurt. "..and a rock feels no pain..."
And if one day those trapped embers break free of their cold prison, the blaze will consume me, and all that stand in my path. Life, as I know it, will end.
And it will be...
The end. A beginning.
And I will be free.
© Anuradha Warrier