Reception, Part IV

Continued from Part III.

As he stepped off the plane, Roy could hear the usual uproar between his ears. The pilot radioing the control tower, the taxi drivers yelling about fares, the local music too loud and too fast. The three friends that had come with him felt shocked by the blast of hot air that greeted them as they walked across the tarmac, but to Roy this was nothing compared with the orchestra of voices that grew with every step.

They stayed for one night in a hostel in the centre of the city, but it offered no difference for Roy from the world he had left behind. There was nothing to do but head out, as far out as they could go.

Buses, then taxis, then feet. Days turning into weeks. The towns grew smaller, the trees larger and thicker. Three weeks after they had set out, Roy heard something new. It was the sound of a bird, sitting on a branch high above him, singing. Of course he had heard birds before, but always one thread in a blanket of noise. Here, the tune took centre stage as the modern world faded to a background hum.

Then there were the leaves that crunched under his feet, and the rain that sometimes pattered on the leaves. At night, crickets chirped. Most of all, the wind. Light breezes that rustled the upper branches of the canopy, bellowing and waning, dancing fast then dancing slow, darting here and there. Roy’s friends watched him curiously. He stood, completely still, head raised upwards, eyes closed, for more than an hour. His breathing slow and deep, a smile upon his lips as that of a child greeting summer sunshine.

There was, at last, stillness in his heart. Roy realised that he had finally found the peace he had been searching for. It had been there all along, hidden underneath the noise.

The End


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