Thursday, 12 February 2009

A Love Story

High on a hill was a lonely goat who was getting on in years. Day after day he would roam the dry cliffs, chewing meditative scraps of yellow grass. There were hardly any birds in these parts, and reckless human adventurers never paid his mountain much attention. Day after day the sun shone palely overhead and always sank without a murmur. It snowed in winter, a few sparse flakes. Then again, every season was winter there.

To be specific, he was a Bernese Mountain Goat. He was really very alone.

One morning, as he was partaking of yet another meal of dry grass, the goat felt a curious thing. A sharp little spasm passed through him; his hoofs tingled, and his tail twitched. At the same time an odd feeling welled up in his lungs and, not knowing what to do with it, he let it go. A low moan unlike any sound he had ever heard before tore itself from his throat and went cascading down the steep ravine, striking off the rocks, resounding dully on the bones of the earth. Space shattered at the impact of its pain. It was, like it sounded, the cry of a dying being. For many years he had been slowly dying, and now his heart was finally broken.

The goat, being a goat, did not know this. Immediately lapsing back into his usual state of indifference, he wondered if something was the matter with his diet. For he certainly felt sick, in an uneasy sort of way. He couldn't exactly grasp what, but something was wrong, yes, something was not there which ought to be. It was like indigestion, he thought, but in the wrong place.

While this observation was passing through his brain, he heard something. What was it? What could it be? You see, except the clip-clop of his hoofs and the screech of kites passing in the night- and the wind howling in the pines, the crackle of twigs, and the soft swish of snow on his pelt- he was quite unacquainted with sound. And this was, unbelievably, the sound of another living creature. He struggled to find order in his thoughts. Over the years he had almost forgotten that other entities besides himself, the mountain, and the sky existed- could exist. Now, the last atom of consciousness fell into place. He turned and looked down, down, deep into the ravine, suddenly knowing- knowing- that there was someone there, hiding in the shadows. He was not alone.

"Can you hear me?" said the goat.

"I can hear you," said the someone.

"Where did you come from?" said the goat.

"I was always here," came the reply.

"I never saw you," challenged the goat.

"You never looked."

A pause. He considered this argument.

"Would you like some grass?" the goat offered.

Silence.

"It's a nice view from up here," he tried again.

No reply.

"Of course," faltered the goat, suddenly unsure of himself, "it's very quiet at night... not that I mind. And sometimes it's cold too, but you get used to it. There's plenty of food..."

His voice trailed away. Still, there was silence. A waiting silence.

"Will you be my friend?" the goat whispered.

"I am your friend," his friend whispered back.

Silence, as this new feeling sunk in. A cricket chirped nearby. The mountains were still.

"Will you come live with me?" said the goat.

"I am with you now."

"Why can't I see you?" said the goat.

"I am only an echo," said the echo.

Silence. The goat did not know what an echo was, but it did not seem to matter much at the moment.

"I love you."

Silence. The wind rustled through patches of wild furze, but it had no voice. The cricket had stopped chirping.

"Will you stay with me?" he asked.

"I will stay with you," came the reply.

The goat stepped up to the edge of the cliff and looked down, far down, but there was nobody below.

"Come up," he called into the vast emptiness, "Come up and stay with me."

"I am only an echo," said the voice. Sadly. The goat found that he knew what sadness was. It told him what to do.

"I love you," he said simply. Then he stepped forward, off the edge, and disappeared into the chasm.

There are no more Bernese Mountain Goats on that hill. As for the last one- he found what he had been searching for in the darkness of that ravine, falling in space towards something greater. The certainty of hope. A moment of peace. In the end, he knew he wasn't alone anymore. In the end, he knew how to live.

The one he loved kept her word. She went with him and was never heard of again in those empty gorges and desolate woods. Somewhere, they are still together. Somewhere, a once-lonely mountain goat has found happiness.


21 comments:

Death On Two Legs said...

Somehow this post really strikes a chord.

I hope it's not because I'm a Capricorn (mountain goat.)

No, it's not :p

May I adopt you as my sister? I really want a sibling whose not going around the house exam-free and gorging on chocolates/computer games.

blinknmiss said...

thanks a lot. i had a feeling that it's the best thing i've written in a long time.

and of course, my pleasure :) i'd really like a sibling who also has exams and is yet blogging away so blissfully day in day out. i knew i couldn't be the only one.

Vangmayi Parakala said...

You know how a lot of us think that boys are stupid? I know you're not a boy, but if you were that'd be great. After this post, I mean.

Uhh.

That may have come off as a very disturbing parallel to have even drawn, but it wasn't intended to be a straight line...

Yes, I'm whacked.

I never liked goats, but I think I like your Mountain Fellow. :)

blinknmiss said...

you know, i've been told that so often (by girls, that is) it's positively creepy.

i like my goat too. and i'm starting to like you lots =)

Prince of Mirkwood said...

If a female clone were to be made of this goat, you know like that other mountain goat that they, uhmm cloned, and then our Bermese friend goes romping around with that goat born from its own cells, isn't that like incest??:|
*gives up mutton*

Death On Two Legs said...

Oh, Noor's out to destroy this blog as well.

Watch out Shalmi! He will completely undermine the intensity of your writing. Which means, he loves your blog.

Am I not right, Noor ;)

blinknmiss said...

noor... what a pretty name =)

and i accept the ungiven compliment. thanks, anushka.

Death On Two Legs said...

His name is Anoorag, but Noor is just so much easier. And as you said, prettier :D

Btw, you and me are rather talented at sifting out subtle compliments. And at conversing on blogposts without feeling awkward.

full tilt said...

this is terribly good. awfully awfully.
especially... it just is.
thanks.

Dhrubo said...

Beautiful.

wonderwall said...

If I were you I would not accept anushka as a sibling, she will not let you wear heels or shoes for that matter.
And woman, how the hell do you write like that, somehow I don't even need to care about the subject or the story or anything, your pieces have an underlying melody which is just .........enchanting.

Death On Two Legs said...

What makes people think I hate my height? It has got me places.

blinknmiss said...

@ anushka: yes we are. i'm generally clumsy and awkward face to face. maybe that's why.

@ rhea: i hoped you'd like it.

@ dhrubo: thanking you. i like your leaf. you shall be blogrolled.

@ spriha: i don't mind. i only possess 2 and a half pairs of shoes anyway. good that you're back to pay me extravagant compliments. glad you weren't eaten by crocodiles.

wonderwall said...

Ooh I have 1 and a half pairs of shoes(thanks again to the Sunderbans), we could put them together and voila have .....wait, how many again. And you deserve the compliments, seriously you should put up a bad post sometime so that I get to criticize.

miss brightside said...

im so proud of you. that was realoly brilliant. ah the mountain goat. tragic but beautiful ;)

Priyanka said...

somehow, this has made my day better. i can explain no further.

=)

Vikrant said...

wow

blinknmiss said...

heh. thank you all :)

SPIRITed! said...

Simply superb Shalmi, simply superb.
*hugs*

topshe said...

Nice ending.

Dibbasatya said...

It is beautiful.