Sometimes I feel like a boy who is the lone survivor of a wrecked shop, drifting in a life-boat with nothing to survive other than his own thoughts. All the wrecked ship just drowned, like the sea swallowed the whole ship into its deep mouth, and there’s not a single clue of it left on the sea.
I’m on a rudderless life-boat. I have no direction of home. I have nothing to hold on to. I can see only blue veil of death surrounding me as far as my eyes reflect. But in all the death surrounding me, I have hope. I have so much of it that I’m burning so brightly with this hope that no destruction could extinguish this flame of hope burning inside me.
I travelled day and night, believing that these tides will lead me somewhere, somewhere unknown but somewhere safe, somewhere away from this version of reality, far away from this earth, the world which is always noisy with all the suffering of this world, all this consistent pain torturing each other from materialistic and impermanent possession of this world. These tides will take me far away from any version of reality. This reality used to be like a drop of water consistently falling on the same point on my forehead, from the high ceiling always bringing me back to the reality, never drifting me back to my own world.
Now these tides are my guide to a utopian world. I found a compass on the boat but even before I could look at it and study my way to home, I threw it away. I was tired of being on the road, long empty road, lonely as a sparrow on the road, always finding something, when all along the road, it was with me all this time.
First time in my life, I’ve found complete happiness that has brought me to peace. The kind of peace you’ll find on the face of a homeless man sleeping on the side of the road. This place is so serene. It’s like a stroll in my own world, my own garden, every plant planted with my own hands, watered them with my sweat, that gave the sweet smell of hard work, surrounded with ancient trees with autumn leaves that will never fall from the branches and will transform into new leaves and the shadow of these fruitful trees follows me everywhere, keeping me alive.
But I believe with all my heart that in the end, when our reasoning and efforts cease to exist, we will all have to surrender and trust, without any doubt. Just like I left my fate to these tides, submitting and trusting in the same hand, that has written each of our destiny, that has created everything on the earth and sky and everything that exists in between, that same hand that guides us all.
A student wishes to ask his beloved to dance, but she refuses, saying she would only accept if he brought her a red rose. It so happened that in the place where the student lived, all the roses were yellow or white.
The nightingale heard the conversation. Seeing his sorrow, she decided to help the poor boy. First, she thought of singing something beautiful, but soon concluded that it would be much worse-in addition to being alone, he would be melancholy.
A passing butterfly asked what was going on.
“He is suffering for love. He needs to find a red rose.”
“How ridiculous to suffer for love,” said the butterfly.
But the nightingale was determined to help him. In the middle of a huge garden there was a rosebush full of roses.
“Give me a red rose, please.” But the rosebush said it was impossible, and for him to find another-its roses were once red, but now they had become white. The nightingale did as she was told. She flew far away and found the old rosebush.
“I need a red flower,” she asked.
“I’m too old for that” was the answer.
“The winter has chilled my veins, the sun faded my petals.”
“Just one,” begged the nightingale.
“There must be a way!” Yes, there was a way. But it was so terrible that she did not want to tell.
“I’m not afraid. Tell me what I can do to get a red rose. A single red rose.”
“Come back at night and sing the most beautiful melody that nightingales know while pressing your breast against one of my thorns. The blood will rise through my sap and color the rose.”
And the nightingale did that that night, convinced it was worth sacrificing her life in the name of Love. As soon as the moon appeared she pressed her breast against the thorn and began to sing. Firs she sang of man and a woman who fall in love. Then how love justifies any sacrifice. And so, as the moon crossed the sky, the nightingale sang and the most beautiful rose of the rosebush was being crimsoned by her blood.
“Faster,” said the rosebush at one point.
“The sun will rise soon.”
The nightingale pressed her breast closer still and at that moment the thorn reached her heart. Still, she continued to sing until the word was complete. Exhausted, and knowing she was about to die, she took the most beautiful of all the red roses and went to give it to the student. She arrived at his window, stet down the flower, and died.
The student heard the noise, opened the window, and there was the thing he had dreamed of most in the world. The sun was rising; he took the rose and raced off to the house of his beloved.
“Here’s what you asked of me,” he said, sweating and happy at the same time.
“It is not exactly what I wanted,” answered the girl. “It is too big and will overshadow my dress. Besides, I have received another proposal for the ball tonight.”
Distraught, the boy left and threw the rose into the gutter, where it was immediately crushed by a passing carriage, and he returned to his books, which had never asked him for anything he could not provide.
That was my life; I am the nightingale who gave everything and died while doing so.
—Manuscript from The Spy by Paulo Coelho
Once there was a beautiful princess who was admired and feared by all because she seemed to be too independent. Her name was Psyche.
Desperate his daughter would wind up a spinster, her father appealed to the god Apollo, who decided to solve the problem: She was to go alone, in mourning dress, to the top of a mountain. Before dawn, a serpent would come to marry her.
The father did what Apollo ordered, and to the top of the mountain she went. Terrified and freeing cold, she went to sleep, certain she would die. However, the next day she awoke in a beautiful palace, having been turned into a queen. Each night her husband came to meet her, but he demanded she obey one single condition: to fully trust in him and never see his face.
After a few months together, she was in love with him, whose name was Eros. She loved their conversations, found great pleasure in their lovemaking, and was treated with all the respect she deserved. At the same time, she feared being married to a horrible serpent.
One day, no longer able to control her curiosity, she waited for her husband to fall asleep, gently moved the sheet aside, and with the light of a candle saw the face of a man of incredible beauty. But light awakened him, and realizing his wife had not been able to be true to his only request, Eros disappeared.
Each time I recall this myth, I wonder: Are we never to be able to see the true face of love? And I understand what the Greeks meant by this: Love is an act of faith and its face should always be covered in mystery. Every moment should be lived with the feeling and emotion because if we try to decipher it and understand it, the magic disappears. We follow its winding and luminous paths, we let ourselves go to the highest peak or the deepest seas, but we trust in the hand that leads us. if we do not allow ourselves to be frightened, we will always awaken in a palace; if we fear the steps that will be required by love and want it to reveal everything to us, the result is that we will be left with nothing.
—Manuscript from The Spy by Paulo Coelho
At night, in my bed, I looked for the one my soul loves;
I looked for him, but could not find him.
So, I will rise and go around the city; in the streets and
in the squares I will look for the one my soul loves;
I looked for him, but could not find him.
The watchmen who go around the city found me;
I asked them: have you seen the one my soul loves?
I stood aside and then I found the one my soul loves;
I held him close and wouldn’t let him go
—Manuscript from The Spy by Paulo Coelho
September 25, 1995
A month has passed since I’ve written, but it has seemed to pass much more slowly. Life passes by now like the scenery outside a car window. I breathe and eat and sleep as I always did, but there seems to be no great purpose in my life that required active participation on my part. I simply drift along like the messages I write you. I do not know where I am going or when I will get there.
Even work does not take the pain away. I may be diving for my own pleasure or showing others how to do so, but when I return to the shop, it seems empty without you. I stock and order as I always did, but even now, sometimes glance over my shoulder and write this note to you, I wonder when, or if, things like that will ever stop.
Without you in my arms, I feel an emptiness in my soul. I find myself searching the crowds for your face—I know it is an impossibility, but I cannot help myself. My search for you is a never-ending quest that is doomed to fail. You and I had talked about what would happen if we were forced apart by circumstance, but I cannot keep the promise I made to you that night. I am sorry, my darling, but there will never be another to replace you. The words I whispered to you were folly, and I should have realized it then. You—and you alone—have always been the only thing I wanted, and now that you are gone, I have no desire to find another. Till death do us part, we whispered in the church, and I’ve come to believe that the words will ring true until the day finally comes when I, too, am taken from this world.
—Manuscript from Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks
March 6, 1994
My Darling Catherine,
Where are you? And why, I wonder as I sit alone in a darkened house, have we been forced apart? I don’t know the answer to these questions, no matter how hard I try to understand. The reason is plain, but my mind forces me to dismiss it and I am torn by anxiety in all my waking hour. I am lost without you. I am soulless, a drifter without a home. a solitary bird in a flight to nowhere. I am all these things, and I am nothing at all. This, my darling, is my life without you. I long for you to show me how to live again.
I try to remember the way we once were, on the breezy deck of Happenstance. Do you recall how we worked on her together? We became a part of the ocean as we rebuilt her, for we both knew it was the ocean that brought us together. It was times like those that I understood the meaning of true happiness. At night, we sailed on blackened water and I watched as the moonlight reflected your beauty. I would watch you with awe and know in my heart that we’d be together forever. is it always that way, I wonder, when two people are in love? I don’t know, but if my life since you were taken from me is any indication, then I think I know the answers. From now on, I know I will be alone.
I think of you, I dream of you, I conjure you up when I need you most. This is all I can do, but to me it isn’t enough. It will never be enough, this I know; yet what else is there for me to do? If you were here, you would tell me, but I have been cheated of even that. You always knew the proper words to ease the pain I felt. You always knew how to make me feel good inside.
Is it possible that you know how I feel without you? When I dream, I like to think you do. Before we came together, I moved through life without meaning, without reason. I know that somehow, every step I took since the moment I could walk ways a step toward finding you. We were destined to be together.
But now; alone in my house, I have come to realize that destiny can hurt a person as much as it can bless him, and I find myself wondering why—out of all the people in all the world, I could ever have loved—I had to fall in love with someone who was taken away from me.
—Manuscript from Message in a bottle by Nicholas Sparks
July 22, 1997
My Dearest Catherine,
I miss you, my darling, as I always do, but today is especially hard because this ocean has been singing to me, and the song is that of our life together. I can almost feel you beside me as I write this letter, and I can smell the scent of wildflowers that always reminds me of you. But at this moment, these things give me no pleasure. Your visits have been coming less often, and I feel sometimes as if the greatest past of who I am is slowly slipping away.
I am trying, though. At night when I am alone, I long for you, and whenever my ache seems to be the greatest, you still seem to find a way to return to me. last night, in my dreams, I saw you on the pier near Wrightsville Beach. The wind was blowing through your hair, and your eyes held the fading sunlight. I am struck as I see you leaning against the rail. You are beautiful, I think as I see you, a vision that I can never find in anyone else. I slowly begin to walk toward you, and when you finally turn to me, I notice that others have been watching you as well. “Do you know her?” they ask me in jealous whispers, and as you smile at me, I simply answer with the truth. “Better than my own heart.”
I stop when I reach you and take you in my arms. I long for this moment more than any other. It is what I live for, and when you return my embrace, I give myself over to this moment, at peach once again.
I raise my hand and gently touch your cheek, and you tilt your head and close your eyes. My hands are hard and your skin is soft, and I wonder for a moment if you’ll pull back, but of course you don’t. you never have, and it is at times like this that I know what my purpose is in life.
I am here to love you, to hold you in my arms, to protect you. I am here to learn from you and to receive your love in return. I am here because there is no other place to be.
But then, as always, the mist starts to form, as we stand close to one another. It is a distant fog that rises from the horizon, and I find that I grow fearful as it approaches. It slowly creeps In, enveloping the world around us, fencing us in as if to prevent escape. Like a rolling cloud, it blankets everything, closing, until there is nothing left but the two of us.
I feel my throat begin to close and my eyes well up with tears because I know it is time for you to go. The look you give me at that moment haunts me. I feel your sadness and mow loneliness, and, the ache in my heart that had been silent for only a short time grows stronger as you release me. and then you spread your arms and step back, into the fog because it is your place and not mine. I long to go with you, but your only response is to shake your head because we both know that is impossible.
And I watch with breaking heart as you slowly fade away. I find myself straining to remember everything about this moment, everything about you. But soon, always too soon, your image vanishes and the god rolls back to its faraway place and I am alone on the pier and I do not care what others think as I bow my head and cry and cry and cry.
-Manuscript from Message in a bottle by Nicholas Sparks