[inspired by] Gnossienne.

As the rain pours down wildly outside, I, my dear friend, have a story to tell you. Here’s your glass of whisky, as hot as the house fire. Make yourself comfortable.

Many moons ago, I was travelling across vast lands of Eastern Europe. What took me there, I still do not know, but it was the people who made me stay. They are very honest, Eastern Europeans…very open and humble people.

I made myself a guest at an old hotel in the old town of Kaunas. How old, you ask me? Old enough to carry its ghosts.

After a long day of scouting the streets of a rather charming city, I came back to the hotel and decided to have dinner in their restaurant, since it was too late to go elsewhere.

When I entered the overwhelmingly beautiful restaurant for such a small hotel, I saw only one person sitting there, as if in waiting. He noticed me and waved immediately to suggest that I shall accompany him. He was an elderly man, very well dressed yet somewhat weary. I sat in front of him, glimpsed at his blue eyes which seemed like a gaze that lasted for eternity. Before I could introduce myself, he spoke with a voice so melodic, I was suddenly mesmerised.

‘A guest…at my home.’ He smiled briefly before his concerned expression took over. ‘What were they thinking! Fools thought I would allow it.’

‘I…I’m sorry, would you like me to leave?’ I said without thinking.

‘Oh no, dear boy, sit with me for a while. No one ever does. It gets lonely here.’ He sighed with melancholy that pressed into my chest. All of a sudden, I felt that gulp in my throat one gets before weeping. Before I could respond he went on. ‘They see me here all the time but they pretend not to. It’s strange how they are sad to see one go but once one stays, it becomes a problem.’ He chuckled to himself. ‘Why are you here?’ He asked abruptly, with in-a-matter-of-fact tone.

‘I have been travelling…sir.’ I stuttered.

‘Alone?’

‘Quite.’

‘Would you mind if I accompanied you?’ He laughed at my expression, which must have been bewildered. ‘Don’t worry, boy. You sitting with me is kind enough. That’s all I needed…and there’s one more thing I need from you.’ His eyes were like an abyss looking back at me.

‘Yes?’ I inquired, but not reluctantly. There was something about this man that felt…good. He was a good man. I smiled at the thought and he smiled back as if he heard what I was thinking.

He pulled something out of the pocket in his jacket, which I only now noticed was covered in what looked like dirt.

‘Someone needs to be paid a visit to. Could you please take this candle and light it for that someone in a courtyard? It’s a tradition, you see, to pay respect to the owner of the home you stay in.’

I took the candle into my hand without hesitating.

‘Thank you.’ He looked over my shoulder and said, ‘I will now let you enjoy your dinner, son.’ He smiled and stood up to leave. A waitress approached me with plate full of food…none of which I ordered.

I turned around to look where the man has gone, but there was no one around. After dinner I went to the moonlit courtyard and in the middle of it there was a lonely grave. I approached it with a lit candle in my hands and under the candle light I saw a portrait of a man who handed me the candle. I placed it by the gravestone, next to the year of his supposed death, which happened 50 years ago.

Since then, I saw him once, in my dream. We were in the same restaurant, with wine glasses in front of us. We were only looking at each other until he spoke.

‘When I left the room, I left it for the last time in those 50 years. I now thank you for letting me go, a stranger…and I will let you go too. Safe travels.’

There was suddenly a bright light and I woke up with the morning light in my eyes and a burning candle on the bedtable.

I was never lonely since.

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on reading

I have started reading when I was 5. I remember my mum taking me to the library for the very first time and for me it was an ultimate wonderland. The first book I remember laying my hands on was ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ and it was in English. Now, at that time the only language I knew was Lithuanian, so the librarian kindly pointed that out to me.

I’ve been a regular visitor of the library. It was my favourite place in town. We’ve moved a lot and in every place, I found a nearby library no matter where we went. I wanted to be a librarian at one point. There was something about being surrounded by books all day long that fascinated me.

Reading is one of those things I stuck to throughout my entire life. I loved reading then, I love reading now. There is something about waking up in your bedroom, picking up a book and suddenly being somewhere far away with the travellers or adventurers and then picking up another book and having a conversation with a philosopher or a scientist about what the future holds. You go to numerous places, you meet numerous people who may even become your close friends and most importantly you learn.

I remember how me and my best friend used to make a trip to a local library every now and then; we would pick our books, go back to her place, make ourselves some tea, sit on a sofa and read for hours. Two of us were in different places with different characters despite being right next to each other. Then we would compete who could read more pages…

Reading is crucial to our intellectual well-being. Whether we read novels, or encyclopaedias, we learn how to speak eloquently and how to think creatively. Reading was crucial for my mental well-being; it kept me sane at the moments when I thought I’d lose it. Reading is not something to be taken for granted; words are the most valuable things we as humans can share.

on writing

What good does it do?

A line that popped into my head and I felt an urge to write it down as if it will start a story of its own. And it sort of did, because I just started writing all of this down without intention, but now I do have an intention to write about writing.

Writing is like a can opener but for the brain. You have this infant of an idea, this little seed that wants to grow and it is suppressed until you release it through words. It’s like, at first there’s annoyance, the same kind of annoyance you get with the can that you need to use can opener for. Too much effort, isn’t it? But you’re hungry. There’s nothing else to eat. So, you find the goddamned opener and cut into the can. The action of writing compares to this in a way that the idea almost gives you a headache – a headache you’re willing to ignore until it goes away because you can’t be bothered to grab your notebook and a pen, or a laptop, or a typewriter or whatever bloody machine does the thing. Then you start the work and it goes from there. From that single cut of the lid of the can, the knife glides along its edge and the juice of the contents spills through the edges, which you don’t have the control over. You intend to open the can only half-way but you catch yourself going until the lid is suddenly in your hands. The thing with writing is, once you trigger the idea, your brain just opens the hell up and words spill all over the surface of the paper and your fingers can barely keep up with the sentences that move through your head at the speed of light. You intend to only release the idea and let it grow and develop a little but suddenly you have a page full of, well, stuff, that you just can’t control and it’s hard to stop and you must catch the idea until you run out of paper and stuff it into the Pandora box that your head is.

That’s the problem with writers. We’re literal walking Pandora boxes and the only way to stop something from opening them is to keep them closed. Others prefer the term ‘writer’s block’. That ain’t true. We keep ideas inside our heads until we get migraines and it feels like our heads are about to explode and it drives us insane, but so does the infinite flow of words and releasing them does not relieve the pressure inside our skulls.

It’s a lifelong condition, sorry.

ežeras

Bėgioju maždaug kas antrą rytą. Atsikėlus anksti keikiu save dėl tokio savęs ‚kankinimo‘, bet išėjusi į gryną orą jaučiuosi dėkinga. Prieš šešias vasaras, kai gyvenau Tauro Rago miestelyje (Tauragėje), bandžiau pabėgioti kelis kartus kai Lietuvą užplūdo karščio banga. Netoli tetos namų, kuriuose tada svečiavausi, buvo nedidelis ežeras, visų ‚zumpe‘ pramintas. Ten nusigauti reikėjo kopti į smėlio kalną, ant kurio buvo traukinių bėgiai, už kurių reikėjo labai atsargiai nubėgti žemyn gan pavojingu skardžiu. Smagiausia ten būdavo eiti su visa šeimyna dėl papildomo saugos jausmo. Mano didžiausia baimė buvo bėgiai ir pražūtingi traukiniai, kurių, žinoma vengdavome. Tą karštą vasarą, nusprendžiau bėgti iki pat vadinamosios ‚zumpės‘. Buvo rytas, gal dešimta valanda, ir temperatūra jau siekė 25C+. Nuo karščio oras virš traukinio bėgių akyse raibuliavo. Perėjus bėgių ir skardžio kliūtį, pradėjau nuodugniai bėgti su muzika ausyse (tikriausiai klausiausi kokio Deadmau5). Nuo karščio širdis piestu stojosi. Vienintelė mintis, kuri palaikė mano greitį bent kas dvi minutes buvo – ‚tik pasiek ežerą.‘ Lyg ten būtų buvęs koks amžino gyvenimo eleksyras. Nu ir pasiekiau ežerą, kuris dienos metu buvo labai drumzlinas nuo suniokoto dugno smėlio, bet ryte, be jokių plaukikų, vanduo buvo skaidrus it koks nušveistas permatomas deimantas. Dienos metu jis jau buvo nemaloniai įšilęs, o ryte toks gaivus ir šaltas – absoliuti dievo dovana karštą vasaros dieną po mirtingo pabėgiojimo. Dabar tas ežeras yra 2,400 kilometrų toliau nuo manęs. Nepaisant to, bėgiojant rytais miestelyje be ežero, kad iškęsčiau bent penkias minutes be sustojimo kartoju sau – ‚tik pasiek ežerą‘.

also found here

storms.

I look at the pictures, the snapshots of the past, yet I sense the freshness of the air, I smell the upcoming storm – the aroma of the rain that’s about to flood the streets. I remember the smell from when we used to go to swim in the river and my mother would urge us to go back home before the storm would start.

‘Nebus to lietaus, vėjas išvaikys visus debesis ir vėl saulė švies‘ I‘d say. But my mum insisted and every time she did, the storm would start as soon as we‘d come back home.

‘Sakiau, bet nesiklausei!’ She’d say triumphantly.

To get back home we’d have to cross the bridge, which sloped over the river. Going down to our ‘beach’ was easy – the bridge sloped down. Getting back up, however, was always hard work, especially after hours of swimming against the current of the river. I’d come back home absolutely knackered and would always take a nap on our sofa in the living room, which was also our bedroom (as the flat only had one room). My mum would make lunch; the wonderful smells would fill up the flat and wake me up.

Oh how much I miss the view from our little flat. My school was almost beneath the windows, just across the road (which was full of rather dangerous holes). I remember one night I woke up from strange bright lights and when I woke up I saw my mum standing by the window, watching a storm approaching. I joined her and watched lightning getting brighter with every flash as it moved closer towards us. Then there was thunder…followed by heavy rain.

When I was little I feared thunderstorms. I remember hiding under the blankets as my mum would lean against the window as if trying to get immersed into what seemed like hell to me. She’d smile at me, saying ‘Nėra ko bijoti.‘ I obviously thought otherwise.

As I grew up, I became fascinated by thunderstorms. I loved the comfort they brought, the serenity. Me and my best friend would almost pray for them to come every time we watched a horror film – it gave an appropriate atmosphere I guess. We always watched scary films in her parents’ bedroom. I still remember the warmth of their bed, the sky blue colour of the wallpaper on the walls… Sometimes, when the sun would shine through the window, we would both lay on bed, dreaming of our summers together.

Little did we know they would soon come to an end.

i’m not happy. but i’m happy to admit it

i’m not happy and i won’t pretend to be like i always have.

i don’t want to force myself to overlook my own feelings that actually make sense.

it makes sense to be disappointed in my lack of effort.

it makes sense to be upset about not being at home.

it makes sense to cry when i feel isolated and lonely.

it makes sense to just not be happy when i’m not supposed to be.

i used to beat myself up for not being ‘grateful enough’ for what i have.

i used to ignore my feelings because i trust my rational mind instead.

i used to think it’s irrational to feel the way i have; but it’s not –

my feelings make sense. and this will become my daily prayer.

it all makes sense, and it always has.

the only thing that does not make sense is repression of my own emotions which simply act like warning signs that something is wrong – not pathetic, but wrong. 

if i’m sad – it’s for a reason, if i’m annoyed – it’s for a reason, if i’m holding my ‘irrational’ feelings back – i become passive aggressive.

and guess what’s worse; pretending to be happy and letting everything build up to the point where you take it out on the wrong people at the wrong time

or being honest with yourself and paying attention to what you really feel, and at the end of the day, what you really are?

i’ll make this my belated new year’s resolution i suppose – to me this is revolutionary and enlightening. instead of suffering i will be a little bit sad. instead of suffering i will cry a little bit and won’t be ashamed of it. suffering is not even an understatement anymore; if you keep your emotions locked up at the back of your mind they will spread like a disease. it will become anxiety, it will become depression and it will last for years.. until one moment, when you will realise that feeling something is okay. there is no need to look down on those who cry and those who are depressed and those who are not happy even though they ‘have it better’ than someone else – it doesn’t make them weak. it doesn’t make me weak and it doesn’t make me any less grateful; it just makes me more honest and more in touch with, well, myself.

today i feel like shit. i am disappointed in myself, i am feeling hopeless, but i’m not covering it up. i know why i’m feeling like this and it will pass, because it’s something i can easily change. maybe tomorrow i will be happy – nothing wrong with that either. as long as i’ll know what i feel and listen to it, i will be fine, and being fine is okay.

 

*just an exclaimer; this has nothing to do with mental illness, i’m not some kind of professional to speak about such matters. these are just free-flowing words from my head.

Barcelona (pt.1)

I have visited Barcelona at the beginning of September this year, but it is only now that I can write about it, following months of reflecting on my week-long experience in this exotic and deeply touching city.

The first word that comes to my mind when I remember wanderings in the streets of Barcelona is intimate. The narrow streets with heavy stone buildings embrace you. They have a sense of secrecy and a very strong sense of history, which sounds very vague, but words are vague compared to elaborate and vivid first-hand experience.

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Gothic quarter is not just intimate; it is absolutely breathtaking. There is something dynamic about its streets, perhaps it’s the ever-shifting light and ever-shifting shadows – I don’t know, but that something seemed to move the buildings closer to my body. You become one with the street; a part of its stone tile, a part of its strange perspective, a part of its history.

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This is the first and most memorable image of Barcelona in my mind. It was an expectation turned into a more impressive reality. It is strange how whilst thinking of definition of Barcelona I instantly thought of the single recurring thing – intimacy. I did not expect it, knowing how diverse this city is in its architecture, but I suppose every city has a soul that permeates throughout its entirety, and this is that of Barcelona.