The streets were at their darkest, the moon – in hiding. As the young man made his way along the favelas, he could feel the cold air all around him.
Odd, but one should imagine that these aspects, characteristic of misery and hopelessness, would envelop his body, burrowing deeper into the corners of the mind, heart and soul. Leaving him as numb, dirty and vanished within, but it wasn’t so. He, himself was projecting this state outwards, it surrounded each crooked street and shack, this truly felt like the coldest of nights.
As he made his way along these dark paths, indifferent towards all, he heard a faint melody playing in the distance. There was something about it that caught his attention, he decided to seek it out. As the tune grew louder and louder, his heart beat all the quicker. And in turning a corner, he saw a man standing by a lonely street-sign with a harmonica in his hands, playing that sweet and slow, high-pitched melody that captivated him so.
This stranger’s clothes were ragged and old through wear, but impeccably clean. On his head – a tattered dark blue flat cap. After several more minutes of music, the stranger turned towards his new audience member, nodding as if to acknowledge the young man’s presence and then, turned to walk away. Approaching one of the dark alleys, the lone musician gestured the young man to keep up, to follow him.
Neither spoke a word as they made their way through the night. Time passed, streets passed but the silence remained, compelling both sides. Eventually, they walked up to one of the countless thousands of shacks and went in. His home, if you could call it that, was shabby-looking. There were two old chairs and a small blue table alongside the wall, a cot and a cupboard with what resembled to be a sink.
As the young man sat down, two dirty jars were placed on the table and some sort of moonshine poured into them. The stranger then took up his makeshift glass and began to speak:
”Your heart – it’s beaten, and bruised. I know this. You have lost taste for air, you see no point in breathing anymore. You feel that heavy weight, holding your soul in grief, leaving you too tired to look up, too tired to smile, too tired and weak to push it off. As it destroys you, the only option you see left before you is to join in, hoping that if you help, it will all end faster, but it won’t. It doesn’t matter how far you’re willing to crush yourself, you’ll never truly manage. Mankind has endured much suffering. And he is still here. We can never be fully broken, I know this, you know this… Man knows this. It is Law.”
Sitting there in shock, the young man could not believe what this stranger, this street musician was telling him. ”How? How do you know this? You’ve just…brought my thoughts out into existence, so transparent, so fluent.. You’ve given them flesh..”
With this, the stranger smiled, ” My friend… did you not get a good look at the streets? That lingering absence of light and the coldness around, did you not feel it? They were projections of your inner self. As above, so below. The inner is the outer. The melody that caught your attention, I know it not. I could feel all around me what your heart wanted to say, and I played it for you. You have to listen sometimes, as quiet as the voice within can be, it is still there, always. I merely heard it from afar, and it asked for help.”
Confused, the young man asked, ” But how can you help me? We have never met, we do not know each other. Our lives have no connection, they’ve played out differently. We’ve experienced unrelated moments, so how can you possibly hope to understand where I am and at that, help me?”