Desert Songs

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A dreamer of freedom searches the edges of his soul for the freedom he so desperately longs for.

Submitted: September 07, 2013

A A A | A A A

Submitted: September 07, 2013



Part One: Alex The Writer 

The unrelenting sounds of telephones, printers, and shuffling papers infiltrate my mind. This is what hopes of being a writer get you, a life sentence to the county newspaper writing obituaries. Lies, lies, all of them are lies. Writing is supposed to be an expression of freedom, it is supposed to be the catalyst which removes the shackles and transports you to a higher realm. But what my passions, what my hopes, my dreams, if you dare call them that rather than a blindingly unrealistic way of thinking, what they have gotten me is a wooden desk chair and a grey cubicle. Researchers say grey is neutral and yields a calm working station. The sharp edges draw life out of me, each paragraph that I write, each time I lie about the life of another hypocrite, only adds to the lie that I myself am living. The words I type are a sinner’s religion. They offer comfort to those around but mean nothing about the actual person. There is no inner reflection.

Around the bend I hear the slam of a wooden door,I recognize the slam. The boss is angry and my intuition tells me it is time for lunch. The break room is modeled much like the “work stations”. Plain oppressive walls, though, this time white. White is refreshing, white is pure. If you ask a man who has spent decades in an asylum, he will offer a much different perspective on the color white. It represents the inability to communicate yourself properly, each time you reach out denial is shoved in front of your eyes, squelching the creativity you so desperately need to remain whole. Insanity becomes a cannon response to ideas. The whine of the tea kettle reminds me of my own shackles.

Steam rises from my mug, air bubbles fight the boiling liquid, the tea bag remains in limbo for a few moments before succumbing to the pressure. I sit back in one of the chairs, putting my feet on the table  in spite of the sanitary concerns that have been expressed about this action. My head leans back allowing the tea to enter my body. It goes down and out come my stresses, angers subside. I close my eyes and dare dream of her. 

I sense her, I know she is here somewhere. Opening my eyes I scan the horizon. The sand goes on, on, on, to the end. Though the distance is incomprehensible, I can hear her footsteps, I can hear her long hair become entangled with the wind. The sand, the wind, they blow her towards me. She is standing in the light, each granule of sand refracts a thousand rays of light into my eyes. Each represents an hour we have spent together in this dream land, each dream of another time, another land, a dimension lighter than our own. Here is where souls come to be free. It takes my eyes minutes to realize that she is not in the light, but she is radiating it. My heart beat increases. I find the courage to locate her eyes, I want to see her soul, to know her very essence and become worthy of understanding. I let my focus wander from my own boots, up with each breath. We lock eyes. Piercing blue eyes meet my own. My chest heaves with the healing that she brings me. As our eyes meet wisdom, renewal floods into my own heart. I can feel myself becoming light, less and less of the physical world. The feeling moves up my entire body, I slowly loose my worldly attachments and begin to reflect like her. She moves a radiating left hand out towards me calling, calling, she calls, yearns. My own hand automatically finds hers, the touch, her touch is--

“ALEX” The sharp nasally rendition of my name awakens me. My hands feel empty and my boots are heavy. The fat man in the doorway is holding a copy of yesterdays paper. His knuckles are white, his pants extend over his belly covering up a blatant unhappiness within the world. He motions for me to follow him into the foreboding room deemed his “office”. It’s a burial ground to my salary. Once in the room he slams the paper down and slides a greasy finger over an obituary written yesterday, signed by me. 

It reads “ I’m mostly certain Mr.Barker loved his wife and children dearly but what I am more certain of is that he loved to run this town into the ground. He absolutely loved his church, he loved that the sanctity of it covered for his weekly gambling sprees, he loved that by being a church going fellow he could feel better about his hypocritical life. So, I think we can all say that Mr.Barker was indeed a family man, who loved God. The absence of his presence will surely be felt by many.”

He takes a breath, looks over at the clock. 

“His wife is suing, you insulted the MOST important man in this entire part of the state, do you realize...” His words become angry aggressions simply spilling out into the room and bouncing off me. I stand before him, watching him exert his energy quota for the day, surely a nap must follow this exercise. Following my bereavement I proceed with my ‘notice of termination’ paper, formerly known as the pink slip. I pack up my small box of personal belongings and head home to formally set my past on fire.

The white paper sits on the table top staring at the ceiling, both waiting for me to make the first move. Across the room I eye a lighter, fidget with my rings. The paper not only represents my termination from the newspaper but fully destroys my all too idealistic motives for taking the job. Alex the writer is dead. In his place I am left a ghost fighting the past for a new future. The agony, the monotony of my former life is gone but are there remnants for me to build with? The emptiness of my life and soon bank account gives rise to a feeling of desperate restlessness. The need to escape this small town is so great I hardly have time to write a note to my roommate before I begin frantically packing things and throwing them in the back of my car. The house seems to get smaller with every breath I take inside of it. It seems that with each inhale I am literally taking the volume right out of the walls, they close in, whispering at my ghost to vacate. This house is no longer mine. It’s his.



Part Two: Alex the Lost


Deserts are known for their spiritual inspirations, you never leave the desert the same man you entered as. Silence is known for its ability to creep up and truly show itself, uprooting the very essence of your being, forcing you to see yourself.  Silence. Strikingly, beautiful silence.

Hard compacted sand resides under my boots assuring me that reality outside myself, is stable for the moment. My tent wails in harmony to the changing chorus of the wind. Legends have been circulating the town for my entire life, that this part of the desert was once an ancient holy ground. These legends left the hips and beats of the 60’s to venture out here. Now the legends only call the lost, they call ghosts, in an urgent whisper to come to the desert and see what it has to offer. I sit on an old camp bench, meditatively preparing myself. The past generations of spirits flood my soul.  “ananda-cin-maya” blissful true, full of meaning. My head is filled, repeating, repeating, repeating, the words drill themselves into me, write their fates with my voice. I know it is time by the tingling of my forehead, I know now with the proper catalyst I can finally reach her. Our hands will meet and she will save me from this world rampant with disease of both body and mind. I take the plant out and raise it to the sky, offering its freedom to all the lost, a beacon of hope. The fire is larger than me now. The wind has subsided. I partake, eating in remembrance of Alex the Writer, eating in search of Alex the Free. Immediately every cell in my body tingles, the seconds slow and speed up simultaneously as the fabric of reality is shifted. My boots become lighter. The sand seems less compact, begins to look suitable for travel. Beyond the fire I see nothing but darkness but I know now that beyond my fire is light not provided by nature. I stand up feeling fake and begin walking. My left foot crashes into the sand and soon the right. The distance between my self, the darkness, and the fire is unmeasurable for I am no longer lateral. Every step taken increases the calling I feel towards her, I have finally crossed over into her world. No more searching. 

Part Three:Alex the Free

The wind picks up. It forces its way into my eyes and mouth delivering a great amount of sand that leaves me dry. My boots are filled with heaviness but none of this matters because she is here, a few yards away calling to me. I see her closely now. She stands before me, looming over head with a staunch expression. 

Her light again, tries to fill me, tries to free me from my inhibitions. This time it is different, I have no reality to lean on. I have only my true self to rely on and I am realizing that I am tainted, not good enough. Still I fight the stomach churning fears and raise my eyes. The initial flood of knowledge knocks me to the ground, forces the air out, leaving me gasping. I see myself, I look down on Alex the Lost. I see the world as a direct reflection of the inner workings of my soul. I am aware of my body laying on the ground, burned from the wind, dehydrated from the sand. I can hear the slow beating of my heart. The confusion I felt my entire life was nothing to do with the way I fit into the world but everything to do with how we all fit together, a unit convinced of cohesiveness. Generations are brought up thinking the world turns for each one of us. Children are taught that if you try hard enough you will succeed, but what they are not aware of is that the earth and its inhabitants suffer because egotism is the silent killer of our century. It had unknowingly been the very core of my existence since I was born, the dreams, hopes, all were delusional states brought on by the feeling of importance. What I failed to see was that without selflessness you have no self. Reality means nothing if you do not consider the transiency of everything. The woman that so often occupied my mind, whom I spent countless hours trying to reach in order to be saved, finally got her message across. I am no better than the hypocrites I wrote about. There is no saving anyone. She can only show me there is no savior in the desert. To take her hand is to condemn. To refuse her hand is return, a lost mutant, a ghost of a man that never was, to refuse is to become a fragment of humanity. A fragment of a broken humanity consumed by the ego. 

Her hand lowers itself towards me, through hazy vision interrupted by the sand swirling about threatening to destroy the desert, I see the light. I wearily reach out and rest my fingers in her, the final step of my lifelong journey. 

Silence. Strikingly, beautiful silence.



“Alex, are you okay, I heard what happened at wo-” John stops, mid yell, noticing the curious piece of paper labeled “Jonathan”. Opening the neat folds he reads.

“Alex Lancaster,25, left for the desert Friday Afternoon at 3:00 Pm. Alex left to free his soul of the misery he found in life. He set out not to die but to gain something life could not give him-freedom.

Ps- Dear Jonathan, I wanted to say goodbye  knowing you would not let me go alone, I saved some poor ‘writer’ the catastrophe of having to write that themselves. I have faith that you are strong enough to fight the good fight in all of your endeavors. You were the only man I found solace goodbye my Brother”


The desert wept at its new found companion, mourned for the lost gumption yet not all was desperate for another soul had found its freedom. Alex the Free lives on within the sand where his journey began and ended.

© Copyright 2018 AnnexedDelta. All rights reserved.

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