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Blissful Distractions

Perception is the key to happiness.

The damp discolored leaves pile themselves onto the earth below their previous home. Unable to handle the torture bestowed upon them. The cold kills the weak. The last of the rain throws itself onto the pavement, building in size. It plans to overwhelm the planet, foiled by the various drains placed throughout the street. The devastating battle is masked by the ignorance of the human mentality. The people who walk past see nothing but a blockage in their path. For me it’s different. To me, it’s strangely beautiful. I stare at the elegant war. I ponder the ways I could help the rain fight against the merciless storm drains as if the rain is the victim. The fallen leaves rush into the battle, riding on the back of the courageous water. The duo gallops into the gates of its enemy, the intelligence of their scheme intrigues me as the leaves clog the mouth of their opposer. A smile rises on my face as I foolishly watch.

Suddenly a foot comes crashing down upon my happiness. Stunned, I look up at the invader of this beautiful war. A tall man in black slacks, a dark jacket, carrying a case. He hastily walks through the puddle of water as he motions towards a taxi. As I watch him enter the taxi, I look around at the rest of my surroundings. People everywhere. All of them walk fast. I watch their faces as they pass by. One man has eyebrows that speak of intense, strict order. His body walks stiff and uniform demanded by the high expectations of his swollen head. Another carries bags too heavy for his eyes to handle. The scent of stress wraps around him, poisoning the air making it bitter to the taste. I can feel the sting against the walls of my throat as I invite the air into my body. I choke on my silly mistake.

The looks they give me are unsettling. They don’t frighten me, but rather intrigue me. Their eyes speak of disapproval. They speak of disgust. My heart crumbles from their wicked thoughts. The hair on the back of my neck stands. A cold, wet drop finds its way onto my nose. I look up as if I am looking for the creator of this mysterious raindrop. I am greeted by an army of raindrops, all aiming for the center of my eyes. I wince as one hits me directly in my pupil. My reflexes, embarrassingly late, cause me to blink and try to wipe the victorious alien away. The rain begins to pulverize the earth once more.  

I swing around, looking for any cover to get me out of the wet storm that threatens my warmth. I see a little coffee shop trapped in the middle of two monstrous buildings; an awning protrudes out the front of it welcoming me in with open arms. I run to it. From underneath, my eyes catch the sight of an architectural masterpiece. The complexity of the curves and shapes elevates my mind. My eyes run along every line, every crease, and every hole. It must’ve taken a lifetime to craft this intricate home. I walk up, my nose almost touching it. The beauty of this spiderweb amazes me. I have always loved the artistic talent of spiders. I envy their unique ability. I stare at the web for what feels like hours. My eyes run delicately along the web.

The beauty of this world hides in every corner. Subtly masked by the mundane rituals of daily life. A schedule can burden the lives of a person, distracting them from what lies before their very noses. It’s almost sad. I once had a best friend that fell victim to the very same. He was so caught up in living, that he forgot to live. We were so close once. We would go on hikes, sitting for hours just staring into the elegant abyss. We found ourselves looming over every little thing that caught our eye, and he would praise it’s perfection to me. But slowly he became consumed by the seductive culture of the working class. He started to acquire more and more possessions. With each one he gained, I was pushed further away. Suddenly he didn’t have time for me anymore. What once was most important, was abruptly disconnected. I lost my best friend. I don’t know how long it’s been since I’ve seen him.

A glimmer catches my eye, reeling my frivolous mind back into reality. I run over to the source of the intrusion. Caught in the leaves, which wrestle against the storm drain, is a shiny ball. I’ve never seen a ball like this before. It’s an odd shape, not quite round like a traditional ball. As if it's been stomped on countless times, tortured into taking a new shape. I pick it up. It feels rubbery but smells of carpet. A huge grin overtakes my face as I am overwhelmed with joy. I am compelled to share this feeling. I want to spread it, like a virus. I want all of these people, the ones troubled by the world, to feel what I feel. I will gift happiness to these people.

I run up to a man who stands in front of the coffee shop. I extend the ball out asking him to play catch. A child's game maybe, but the key to unlocking the inner happiness jailed within the cold shell.

“Go! Go away!” He roars at me. His hand shoves me away. I don’t understand. Why does he oppose my offer so fiercely? “Leave!” My heart jumps. I grab the ball and run. My feelings melt, but not enough to give up. I walk up to another gentleman and extend the ball in the same manner. He looks down at me with a disgusted look. He quickly runs into the nearest building and shuts the door behind him. Not one word was uttered by this man yet he crushed my feelings even more. I’ve heard actions speak louder than words. I guess it’s true. With what little determination I have left I go up to one more man. This one is different though. He doesn’t wear a luxurious suit. He doesn’t carry bags too heavy for his eyes. He isn’t surrounded by the smell of stress. I walk up to the elderly man. He wears brown shoes and blue pants. A flannel overtakes a white shirt, barely saving him from the rain. A baseball hat sits loosely on his head, complimenting his laughable protection from the elements.

I sit next to the bench he resides on. He looks at me with kind eyes. They whisper fairy tales that comfort me and make me feel at home. I set the ball down. Looking into his eyes, I ask if he wants to play. His old, wrinkly mouth produces a smile that makes my heart melt. He picks up the ball and throws it. Without another thought, I jump off the bench and race towards the ball. My heart sprints. All my focus is on the ball. My legs move so fast I feel as though I am moving the earth below me. The ball bounces off the ground, and I jump towards it. I float in the air for what feels like hours and seize the ball at the peak of my height. I dash back to the old man and hand the ball back to him.

“What a good boy!” He says in a gentle voice, “I’ve seen you here every day when I walk the park square. It’s been about a month, and you’re still here alone. How would you like to come live with me?” My joyous heart feels as if it wants to jump from my body. I am overwhelmed with happiness. I jump into his lap and lick his face. I think I found my new best friend.  

 

 

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