Saturday, February 02, 2008

Guided by Shadows

小さな手でも いつの日か僕等追いこいして行くんだ


ありがとう そう伝えていくから



At the end of next year, everyone around will have finished walking their educational path (Barring readers not my age XD). Finished walking up the long, long, uphill climb.

Everyone probably has their own choices in mind; the universities they want to go to, the places they want to be at, the jobs they want to get placed in. A shining light they head towards.


What kind of stars do they head towards? What motivation brings them on their journey?

An edge and advantage in the future economy?
A status to satiate one's pride?
A high standard one has to live up to?
A consideration as to what would be the wisest choice?

All lights. Lights that bring them on to higher ground. The end of the tunnel; the crystal clear view at the top of the hill.

And when they finally touch the hill, they reach their target. The status they wanted. The edge they needed. The standard they achieved. The wisest choice for the wise man.

What brings them there? Light. What leads them there? Light. What is to be. Moving on from the darker past (Or perhaps for some an already bright past) into the ever-brighter future.

Whether it is by pride, by role models, or by economic consideration, these are things that renew themselves.


The marionette graces the stage. The audience stares in silence.

"A wish!" The marionette cries. "How many of you before my eyes bear them?" Some eyes brightened, probably those who look up towards a good life. Some murmured to themselves, likely those without the simple expression of hope. A slight whisper across the crowd.

"A wish of mine it is!" Silence again. "A wish to be human. A wish to sit amongst the audience and stare at the clown of a marionette joke and play along on stage. The higher caste! The chance to enter school, work, play, and life itself! The world to which a mere marionette such as I is disallowed." Chortles from amongst half the crowd and silence from the other half. An interesting sight to be honest - half a group laughing and half a group mesmerized, both by the very same message.

The marionette's strings tightened and slacked with each and every movement. It walked, albeit jerkily, towards a young man at the right.

"What wish, young man, do you have? Share, please, to this poor marionette that he may learn what to wish for once he joins you in kind." A baffled look on the young man, as if asking the stagesman if it were serious. He opened his mouth and spoke.

"A doctor, o marionette. I wish to help the weak and ill."

"What lead you to such a wish, o noble doctor?" The doctor-to-be thought a while.

"But a sincere wish it is, and that is all it will be, o marionette."

"A noble wish it must be then, oh lad! I pray it comes true for you."

"And likewise to you too, o wishful marionette." Chuckles from the same half of the crowd. The marionette moved over to the left side now, each step a knock against the hardwood stage. This time it was a young lady.

"Fair lady, what wish do you have?" The fair lady looked up, surprised that she was chosen among the left crowd. She spoke.

"...My wish is to get into a college of good standing, o fair marionette."

"And what lead you to such a wish?" She thought a while.

"A standard, I would guess. One I must live up to; a trial and tribulation of sorts. Is that not what you face too, o kind marionette?"

"Indeed it is so, fair lady. And as those before you have done, I wish you good luck getting your academic status." Clicks and clocks again with each step towards the center stage. He first looked at a relatively older man, and stared at his unshaven beard.

"What wish do you hold, mister? Please, do share it with the audience." The man stroked his beard and thought a moment.

"To get into a college of good standing, much like the lady there." The marionette tilted its head to the left, and dropped a bit before the string tightened and kept it in place.

"And what makes a man of considerable age like you choose this wish?"

"An economic consideration, o marionette. You may find this concept rather alien."

"And I almost wish it stay that way, old man." Lastly, the marionette turned to the old man's left, and looked down. The marionette now met eye to eye with a child.

"What wish do you have, young child? I pray you share it with the audience!"

"I want to be the very best!" A bright, shining voice, certainly one of hope, of the sorts of idealism that was tinted with shades of innocence that had not met with the bitter realities of societal life. A slight feeling of warmth amongst the crowds, yet a slight chuckle around it at the same time.

"And how did you come upon such a peculiar wish, young child?" The child smiled.

"I just want to! I know I can!" The marionette raised its body.

"Pride it is, then, that leads you to this wish. And though my heart is wood I wish that you all find your wish fulfilled in your hands." The child rose and spoke.

"What about you, o wooden marionette? What leads you to your wishes?"

"What motivates me, is it? Child? A curse that you should ask me such a difficult question!" The marionette slowly backed towards stage center, then spread its arms wide out.

"Light! That is what leads you all on! Pride! Status! Faith! Calm consideration! Fine motivations, and well ones at that. But what of me?" The marionette twirled itself left and right, looking around for any answer. Pure silence.

"What of me?"

"What of me, o audience? This wooden heart of mine can bear no wish for the betterment of humanity, o noble doctor. I have no peers or people before me to look up to in my wish and achievements, fair lady. I have no knowledge of the societal ways and have too little in this wooden head to consider, old man. And most of all-" The marionette lowered its head and looked at the again.

"I can't just believe that I can do it." The child stared blankly while the marionette began to walk around the stage.

"What leads me then, if not the light that leads you on, from the dark past into the bright future? Who knows, some of you never had a dark past! What leads me to the end of the long uphill climb? What is the light at the end of the tunnel for me? What is that light?" The crowd stays silent, mesmerized by the words of the marionette. The marionette took a step forward - a knock against the hardwood floor.

"To that, I say." Another step. "There is none." Some of their audience turn their heads. Some raise their eyebrows. "There is none, I say!" The cry amongst the deafening silence shocks them back. "A mere shadow is my motivation."

Another step.

"Look at this before me! A stage! An audience! Look at the spotlights! See where they shine! On me! Look at yourselves; the audience, sitting in the darkness! Pitiful creatures, the lot of you! What were you doing thinking that you ever stood tall against me, the stagesman? What leads me towards you? What can possibly lead me from the light into the darkness? It can only be the shadow; the shadow of me, cast from the light of the past into the darkness and uncertainty of the future! This is no light, o child. There is no light that can possibly bring me to higher ground."

"And yet I head there. So may your light may lead you on to greater heights, yet my shadow do the same."

A member of the audience stood up. "Why a shadow, marionette? Is there really no light that we can give to you? A reason or hope, perhaps?"

"Hah! What mere spark can you give towards me? Mock me not, mister. Though I have no light I find the shadow brighter than your fake illumination." The child stood up and looked at the man, head hung in shame, before turning around again and facing the marionette.

"Then what was it that placed your wish to be a man, o marionette? The shadows are but your journey from light, they cannot be the cause."

The marionette hung its head low for a moment before looking at the child.

"You have a love for difficult questions, it seems, o child. What it is then I shall tell you, and the members of the audience. Listen well." The crowd was silent. "I too am but a mere marionette, wishless and hopeless. Yet chance would have it that a child like you come up to my imperfect wooden body. That young girl gave me this wish, oh child, that I become human. Yet she is long gone; a shadow lay in her place from the direction she headed off." The child remained silent, and the marionette, noticing that, continued.

"Tell me, oh child. If I become human, may I see her? May I give her my thanks? I may; I may not. Yet it is this promise with a shadow - the shadow of the past, child - that gives me this wish. And it is this wish that gives birth to the shadow that wanes as I walk further into the darkness until it has completely blended in; that I have finally entered the unknown world in search for this girl. But a mere marionette I am! What can I do?" The marionette stomped on the floor, a loud knock. "Chains, these things! Chains from the past that keep me here in fear and sentimentality, from moving on! Oh, how I wish that the past be gone, the shadow stop chasing me!"

And the marionette continued to talk. But the show was soon over; the marionette was soon to leave the stage. And the strings pulled slowly; the marionette went up slowly and slowly. And the child, the audience; they looked as the marionette lifted from the ground.

"Look at me! A mere marionette! Never to be a human!" The marionette fumbled and twisted its arms left and right, resisting. The child ran up.

"Let the marionette go, vile strings! Let his feet stay on the ground!" And the child jumped up and grabbed the marionette.

Slowly and slowly, the strings tightened. The child pulled the marionette down. "You will have the light, o marionette. I am sure that you will meet the girl someday."

And the strings gave way, and the marionette and the child dropped on the floor with a loud thud against the hardwood floor.

"You will, right? O marionette."

But the marionette was wishless, hopeless and motionless.

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