He woke up in his own bed, drenched in cold sweat. He felt that he was burning up. The window was a bit open like every other night. He never felt at ease without fresh air. The images from the dream was still lingering in his mind. He, himself, was not fully awake but was drifting somewhere between reality and the dream.
“What’s bothering you?” – asked the big old Oak. It had only a few leaves left. He could barely make out the tree in the dark, but he could feel that the Oak was there. It was as real as any other tree that he had ever seen. Stars were shining above his head but he could not even make out the land on which he was standing. He could only see the stars and the silhouette of the old tree. The moon was no where to be seen.
How can the moon exist in a world where the Sun has abandoned you?
“The wall.” – he replied cautiously, as if too scared to hear his own voice in the dark.
“Do you see it?” – he asked interrupting the silence that existed for a brief moment between the tree and himself.
“No I don’t see it.” – the Oak replied. Its voice calm and deep.
“But I can feel it. Just like I can’t see you but I can feel your existence, I can feel the opaque wall. It’s real. It’s the reason I’m dying, don’t you see that? I’m a tree, I need the Sun more than you do.”
“Its real then. But why is it happening to only us?” – he asked. His voice strained with doubts and anxiety.
“I don’t know that yet. But I can tell you something that I know. You and I are not that different Kafka.” – the Oak took a long pause.
“What do you mean by that?” – he asked more confused now than before.
How could the tree, possibly know his name?
“I’m merely your reflection and you are mine. Do you think, we, all living being, have our own individual existence? We all are connected to each other in someway. But it can happen that the connection between two living being is much stronger than any other connections that they have and when it happens they begin to share similar fate or destiny. ”
A brief pause followed. Kafka felt that he was burning up from inside.
“Every little choice that you make in your life – is it really that you’re making the choices or do the choices make you? Have you ever thought that why do you like certain characters from movies, books or even in real life more than the other characters? Is it because you find similarities between your life and their lives or your life begins to resemble their’s, beginning from the moment when you decide to like these characters?”
A longer pause followed along with a cool summer breeze. Kafka stood there in silence. He had more questions than ever before but he did not ask a single one.
“I’m your favorite tree. Or at least I used to be your favorite tree. You spent your childhood days playing around me.”
Kafka remembered. This was the same old oak that was there behind the summer house that Kafka’s father had to sell to pay a bad loan when Kafka was only 12. He spent his first twelve summers in that house.
It was now dying. Because it could not get the Sun.
Kafka felt a lump in his throat and a sharp pain in his chest. He felt that his eyes were tearing up and he felt that he could break down in tears at any moment.
But he could not cry.
Probably it would be easier if he could cry his hearts out but he just could not. He was nauseating and his heart started to beat irregularly.
“I wish I could cry. I would feel much better If I could cry.” – whispered Kafka.
“You can’t. You’re my reflection and I’m yours. Trees don’t cry Kafka.” – the Oak replied, its voice calmer than ever.
“Don’t look for the Sun Kafka. I will not survive without it, but you will. Look for warmth, look inside.”
A cool breeze blew through the branches of the dying tree, making it sound like the old Oak sighed. Kafka felt like he was sinking, he was slipping into the same darkness from which he rose.
Kafka woke up in his bed, drenched in cold sweat.
(…..to be continued)