When I Saw The Northern Lights
I belonged from a middle class family from Canada, Alberta when i was a kid. My father was an average working man, who earned a decent and honest earning by driving truck across the country, delivering goods. Once my father took me with him during my summer vacation. We were passing from a road in Alberta when i came across something so magical, so unique that changed my hobby from sitting in front of the PS3 the whole day to Travelling, exploring, going to the unknown. It was the Northern Lights. Years later, i stumbled upon the same journey, so let's get into the beating heart of the action.
I reached the pinnacle of success in the world of business. According to others, my life had been and epitome of success. However, i never had even the littlest of joy as i was afraid to face all the problems i had to face during my childhood. I never thought about pursuing matters beside wealth. Like having a relationship, draw my heart out on the page or perhaps a dream from the younger days. I spent most of my hours working in my office and that was what i was doing on Tuesday evening.
" Don't you ever have something else to do, sir ? asked Joyce, my employee. " Well, yeah i have and it's called work " i replied as i typed on my laptop. " Um.. the summer vacation is going on. You should be spending some time with your kids." said Joyce as she pulled a chair and made herself comfortable. " I'm not married... Joyce. " i said with a smile as i continued typing. " Well, then get married ! For how long are you gonna live this way, Peter ?" said her as she raised her tone which was close to whispering and leaned forward on the table. " Well, as long as i have my soul inside me. " i said as i stopped typing and propped my back by the chair looking at her. " I'll be retiring soon, Peter. What i have learned at this age is, you get this life only once. Live it while you can before the impending death knocks on your door. " said Joyce with worry expression etched on her face. " Why would you be retiring ? " i asked with my eyebrows up. " Oh come on Peter... I'm 45. I want to live these final years to the fullest. I have earned and saved enough to pursue other matters. " said Joyce with her cheeks raised, smiling. " Take my advice and try to be happy. Do something for yourself. " said Joyce as she hung her side bag. " Yeah, i will. " i assured her as i smiled. She was on the verge of leaving when she said " Bye. " and walked quickly. " Bye. " i replied as lightly i could. Later i got myself busy in working again.
I was whiling my time away staring at the digital clock at 2 in the morning on my soft bed. My room had beautiful high arched windows, velvet drapes framed the windows, the lace inner curtains remained drawn, allowing daylight during daytime to enter while rendering the heart-stopping view over the city a blur. A book case neatly stocked with paper backs, family pictures on one wall and a large TV attached to the wall in front of my bed.
Life was moving at its normal pace when i got a call from Joyces only son, Henry. " hey, is everything alright ?" i asked calmly. " Its... Its.. " Hens voice wobbled dangerously as if he was to cry which made me worried. " What happened, Hen ?" i asked again but this time with seriousness in my voice. I turned on the table lamp which on the nightstand beside my bed. " Its Joyce.. shes dead, had a major heart-attack. It's her funeral tomorrow at 10 in the morning. Bye. " Hen hung up the call without hearing my reply. I kept my phone on the night stand turned of the lamp and tried to choke back my tears as i passed the night with my eyes wide open, staring at the fan completing it's orbit. I wore a black suit with a white shirt from the wardrobe and left to attend the funeral.
I could see some of my employees there. I sat on the last row as i didn't want any of my employee to see me like this. Joyce was the closest person to me after my late mother. Her son offered a wonderful speech regarding his mother which brought tears to many eyes at the funeral. After a while i left without saying anything. I opened the gate of my SUV which was parked outside the cemetery. I took a last glance of Joyce and whispered " Goodbye, Joyce. You'll be missed." as a tear came streaming down my face.
I started driving towards my office. Life moved at its usual lightening pace in Alberta. The scores of tourist rose haphazardly. People were buying from the hot dog stand. Road were overshadowed by high-rise buildings. I was starting to get impatient while i was in the traffic jam. The traffic kept crawling to a halt. It was a fine sunny day. Finally after a while i reached my office. As i walked towards my office, the employs stood up with a doleful expression etched on their face. I kept my gaze fixed at my feet as i walked inside the office and closed the door.
I called Amy, my assistant, and asked her to delay all of my meetings that i had that day. I later asked her to prevent anyone from disturbing me today, i was not in a good mood was what i told her. I spent the entire afternoon sitting on my soft comfy chair and i whiled away the time by staring at the walls or going through some pictures on my laptop. It was late evening now. i had my sleeves rolled up. Everyone had left, even Amy. It was very quiet in the office and dark was maintained. The soft yellow filtered light of my lamp was the only source of light. i kept going through the pictures, smiling and reminiscing about the past, trying to forget about the fact that Joyce was no more. Everything was normal until i came across a photo that was captured years ago. The picture was of a kid that had two tooth missing on the front with a middle aged guy wearing Lakers cap. The resolution of the pic wasn't that good. But the picture told a story. The picture was of me and my father the day i saw Northern Lights for the first and only time. I smiled and leaned my back on the chair and stared on the bright smile of mine. Realizing how happy i was, recollecting about my hobby and how i wanted to become Indiana Jones.
I grabbed the keys turned the lid down of the laptop as the left leaving the table lamp on. I walked as if i was running. I sat on the drivers seat of my SUV and went for a little drive. The same place from where Northern lights were easily visible. After driving for a while, i stopped at Walmart and grabbed a Red Bull. I took a firm grasp of it as i headed back towards my car and continued driving.
It was the end of July month and i had already left for destination. I wasn't sure about the name of that location but i knew where it was. I kept driving and it took me a few hours before i reached that almost empty road. I went from-- lights of the never sleeping city which was very illuminating, advertisement signs which hung from almost every building in a dazzling array of colors, from the depths of man-made wonder, cars honking, chattering of people walking on the road pavements, blaring music from miles could be heard, tall tower could be seen and each tower was a testament to architecture, whether it be a modern design or a classic etching from centuries ago, skyscrapers that dominated the skyline, night air which hung with street vendors, restaurants and tiny parks-- to a cold breeze being clung to my skin, to a road located very high but on a flat terrain which passed through middle of two almost empty towns at the very opposite side of each other.
Finally, after driving for a few more minutes i came under a cloudless velvet black sky where there was nothing to impede to the vision to the north. Even though the towns were quite empty but they were mountainous. Dark was the night. I could only see the car's light and the moon. When i looked outside the window i was surprised to see a horizon moving on top of me.
A greenish wave with a touch of blue and purple was floating around. The entire part of the sky from where i was watching this miraculous event was covered in these colors. It didn't come to my notice that i was driving past a sea. I stopped the car beside the road and grabbed the Red Bull. I got out of the car and sat on the hood of my SUV. Popped open the Red Bull and drank the first sip. I looked at the sea which had its natural blue color but shiny green-purple reflections could be seen caused by the waves which added more magic to the breathtaking environment. I took the mobile out of my pocket and took a picture of myself and then played Elvis Presley's " For I Can't Help Falling In Love With You ". The cold breeze kissed me as i drank my Red Bull, millions of stars could be seen beyond the waves on the velvet black sky. It was so peaceful there, the view was unbelievably touching and far away from the urban life. I sat there for an hour, admired the breathtaking view before i headed back to my house.
I returned home at exactly 4:40. I took off the shirt off my tired body and threw it on my exercising machine that i use as cloths rack except on morning. I wore a pyjama and jumped on the bed. I rested my head on the pillow. Later i put on my headphones and played " My love goes where my rosemary goes" on my ipod in pitch darkness but just a little bit light provided by the digital clock. I was tucked under the warm comfort of my bed blankets, peaking on the digital clock while listening the song, hearing sound frequencies i never knew existed , reinterpreting the sound, seeing the world and my life in a whole new light. Every minute felt like an eternity in the presence of the highest truth. After a very long time i felt happy again. The death of Joyce taught me a great lesson. Continuous pursuing of wealth will only turn a person into a more twisted being. The wealth that i have won, the wealth to whom i had dedicated my life to, i cannot bring all that with me when i die. But the memories that i capture as i live, the only precious treasure i would take with me when i die.