HE HAS ALWAYS ENVIED THE GULLS their flight; soaring high on feathered wings; gliding for hours, afloat on updrafts; and diving head-on to the water-- not a care in the world. Freedom in its most sublime.
Ever since he can remember, he has always equated freedom for flight; yearning for that magic moment of weightlessness and utter abandon. He craves for it, longing for that opportune time that he would finally earn it. He could not remember a time when he did not feel grounded, shackled on by responsibilities and commitments. But there is no time for resentment, for these burdens are but natural, and harboring those feelings would only ground him even more.
Still, he dreams of flight, watching longingly as flocks streak past overhead, tracing a path on the heavens; flirting with the wind; and dancing in the air. In the deepest of his desires, he sees himself at one with the gulls, afloat on the updrafts, caressing the clouds. This is his source of pleasure. This was his source of despair.
And it is this image of the gulls that was his solitary companion while hiking the steep rocks along the water's edge. The sound of crashing waves in the distance was like a balm, washing away his fatigue as he contiues his trek onward and upward. Just a little bit more and it will all be worth it.
At last, his goal. The view of the ocean was at once too beautiful and terrible to behold, like a massive blanket of liquid saphire, glinting against the afternoon sun, it seemed to go on forever, inviting yet elusive. He tried to breathe in the briny air, ecstatic at the sound of the gulls wecoming him back to their sactuary.
Gingerly, he took off his backpack to reveal the metal canister inside. Memories instantly collided with him, fighting their way out of the recesses from which he locked them, weakening him at the knees. Reluctantly, he opened the cylinder and slowly poured out its contents, letting the wind carry them to where the fates would take it. He recites one last prayer as the last of the ash make their way heavenward. An eternity of heartbeats and unshed tears passed before he could recover.
Standing up as if to leave, he was taken aback by the sudden whisper of his name. It was faint, like something coming out of a dream, but it was there. Over and over, the voice was calling out to him, like a siren's call carried by the wind, beckoning him to come closer.
He lingered at the precipice, taking everything in; breathing it like the crisp, salty air caressing his face, blowing at his hair. Raising his arms as if to fly, he favors the cliff one last look before closing his eyes, and tipping to the brim.
And for the first time in his life, he felt what is was like to be free.