When he opened his eyes,
The sun was not upon his face, as it should have been.
The warmth of Apollo’s favor.
The assurance of his love.
The privilege of his whole life
Despite the disappointment in his chest, he had not fallen out of grace.
The arbor canopy obscured the light, its golden rush absorbed by the satinwood’s emerald crown. Beneath the leafy shade lay an enchanted world, brisk with the chatter of rock frogs, blue magpies, and falling water seemingly in a rush.
A descended leaf, brilliant in its prime, but now as listless as he, crinkled beside his ear. A scarab’s efforts caused the blade to crumble further, until it resembled the earth of a recent past.
He blinked. A task that required his full commitment.
And then the rains came.
A torrential downpour of fruit. Star fruit. Courtesy of the temple monkeys nearby, who had been watching him sleep for five days. Despite laughter filled with mischief, they were concerned.
He tried to sit up. But nothing would be that easy again.
He was certain that he could.
He inhaled deeply, but this too, caused him much pain.
He could go back to sleep. This, he thought, would require less effort.
The temple monkeys watched, confounded. The star fruit becoming gummy nectar in their hands.
He lifted his head, but wanted to stop.
And yet, a presence deep within his being, would not allow surrender
Would not allow retreat.
And so with great difficulty, he raised his head…
And Benjamin leaned forward.
Suddenly, the chattering frogs, the songful magpies, and even the hurried water abandoning algae covered cliffs, took a moment,
And a wonderful silence engulfed the forest.
The temple monkeys went about their business.
He was weak. His abdominal muscles ached, unaccustomed to laborious events. He sat upright for the first time, his entire person baptized in the dirt of the rainforest.
His eyes surveyed the area, though espresso hues and apple tones were all that could be discerned through hazed vision.
He had a satchel with him. His only certainty.
And indeed, a khaki satchel rested only several meters from where he had succumbed to the forest floor days earlier. He reached for the tote, though his muscles, skeletal tissue, and bodily organs all disagreed with this decision.
Particularly his heart.
“It will take time to be great again,” it seemed to say.
He paused, massaging his ample beard.
This was possible. He could do this.
And so he reached again. This time, the tips of his fingers met the strap. He pulled the satchel closer, securing it to his person.
He sighed. His first accomplishment in five years.
He wanted to smile, but again, in time.
So instead, he would endeavor onto his next accomplishment and stand. And slowly, things were becoming easier for Benjamin, as they had always been, prior to disappointment. He stood entirely upright, lifting the satchel above his head and bringing it to rest across his chest. Bearded, sullied, and broken, he took a moment and inhaled the forest.
The enclosure that had kept him safe.
He took a moment more, before moving on.
Through saturated earth and thick underbrush, Benjamin powered his way through the thickets of greenery and exotic flowers impeding his way. Low hanging vines and determined branches made his first trek in several days, difficult navigation. Thorn-bearing plants assaulted his hands, whilst unseen forest critters snipped at his bare ankles. From his satchel, Benjamin unsheathed a weathered machete and began clearing a path, removing oversized leaves from tree limbs, until an emerald carpet began to form in his wake.
And then he understood the need for secrecy.
Through the clearing, the earth fell into an expansive basin. An ocean of tea leaves swayed in the stimulated wind. The infinite body of rare herbs was surrounded by a majestic mountain range, certain of its sovereignty. Even the sun came to rest upon its lofty shoulders.
Benjamin stood atop the cliff, machete in hand, satchel over shoulder, silhouetted against a magenta sky.
Apollo did love him.
He would be great again.
Implode. Part I – DK