August 2016- Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
The stars have been obscured by clouds and the moon is but a crescent form trying to break through the sky’s shadows. The music begins slowly, thrumming delightfully throughout the palace. The towering white castle glows with a surreal sharpness against the navy-shaded heavens. Balconies line every room in the u-shaped kingdom. People emerge from the safety of their small sanctuaries to perceive many wondrous things from their elevated platforms. They face each other. They face the earth’s ceiling. They face the beach that lays just beyond the transparent fourth wall. They face the world. They face it all.
So many people. So many types and colors, I’m sure. We all must be very different, with lives still unfulfilled and memories still needing to be created. Yet, together, we stand on each of our balconies. Together, we admire this world.
But from my small lookout, I can’t really see who these beings are. I just know they are different, but anything more would be unjustified speculation. I can’t judge them, for how is it fair to judge someone you don’t even know?
My pupils wander along every level of the grand castle, and then I turn away. I return my softened brown irises to the land beyond— towards the dark, infinite ocean. It is a writhing body of liquid that blends with the still shadows of the night, becoming one with the earth, despite the clash of riotous waves and motionless air.
I return my gaze upon my motion-filled kingdom. The air is thick but cool, as my hydrated skin is greeted with the tingling of song. The blaring strums of guitars and pounding rhythm of drums rises to greet the balcony people. Souls below are swaying, dancing, and laughing. They are enjoying their moments of freedom and fun, losing themselves to the instruments of man.
I tilt my head. There is always some sort of noise rumbling throughout the palace. There is always something to distract from the tranquility.
And yet, there isn’t.
The world is a beautiful place, but it isn’t just nature that makes it so.
You see, it’s the interlaced fingers of the couple on the veranda. It’s the men at the table enjoying their drinks. It’s the enthused young women lost in their chatter on the way to the pool. It’s the drops of perspiration dribbling down the waiter’s neck as he bustles to and from the kitchen. It’s the dad angling his daughter’s cellphone to capture just the right selfie with her. It’s the immobility of the marble Aphrodite, whose arms are inexistent. It’s the clinks of the dishes as they are gathered, toppling over one another in the dull tub. It is the differences of humankind melding together that create the same smiles and warmth spread amongst many.
It is the way everyone lives that creates everything I behold.
And for the few of us watching atop the balconies overlooking it all, I find it a curious thing that we have stopped moving, simply to witness the beauty that is life.
-Kiran Bains Sahota