Echoes of Illusion

In the heart of the city that never sleeps, there exists a celestial convergence of pulsating lights and a symphony of vibrant colors known as Times Square. It's as if a thousand artists from distant galaxies gathered to weave their dreams upon this canvas of concrete and steel. As twilight descends upon the metropolis, the grand spectacle unfurls its wings like a mythical phoenix awakening from slumber. Billions of tiny stars manifest themselves in the form of neon lights, each flickering and dancing in harmony, composing a dazzling symphony of urban stardust. The buildings proudly posed as colossal sentinels, standing tall like majestic guardians of creativity and progress. I being from a small town, yearned to make a progress in this city of dreams. Amidst the luminous spectacle, the digital clock, a celestial timekeeper, marks each second as if counting the heartbeat of the universe. It counts down to a realm where possibility knows no bounds and dreams are realized with each passing moment. Just when I was staring in awe at the enormous billboards which metamorphose into portals of inspiration, a loud beat of the 20-inch bass drum jolted me. One of the road shows had just begun. The first time I saw her, I realized she was the one for me. Absolutely effortlessly beautiful, a pair of ripped jeans commensurate with her rockstar image and a faded ocher hoodie.  Her emerald green eyes glistening with life and sparkling like embers of a hidden star, they cast a mesmerizing spell upon all who dare to gaze into their depths. The deeper you venture into those emerald pools, the more you find yourself lost in a labyrinth of mossy groves, lush canopies, and whispered enchantments. Every blink of those captivating eyes is like delving deep into the photo album of future adorned with love and togetherness. Fantasy transcends reality. Not many people can remember the first words spoken by or to the love of their life, but I absolutely can. After her performance, I mustered up the courage to speak to her; to express my emotions in fragments. How enamored I was, with her performance.  “Hey, your performance was electrifying.” “Aahh.. thank you” she replied back matter-of-factly! Finally, I was aware of what the feeling of love, bestowed us humans with. “How about a cup of midnight latte, at the Starbucks?” Nothing else mattered to me, at that moment… when I heard “Sure” for an answer. Albeit, only a few minutes elapsed but a lifetime had been imagined with her by my side. I was sure I’d never see her again which made me utterly dejected and despondent. Starbucks witnessed our potential future plans of happily ever after with a dozen of children in a secluded island wherein only dreams and love would shape up our lives. Years flew by, Times Square witnessed umpteen rising stars, but my star was fixed and nowhere to be found. My conjured photo album of future seemed to elude me. A fleeting moment of sanity…. How I hate my mixed state of mind. There were umpteen untold stories yearning to blurt out of my barren core, umpteen promises empty waiting to be filled up, infinite dreams waiting to be shared, infinite unvoiced conversations that should have materialized. Fantasy transcends reality. *** A miniscule village, in the bosom of one of those sprawling coves which indent the eastern shore of the Hudson, about 120 minutes’ drive from Manhattan was my home. As a child growing up ‘midst the verdant green farmlands of a small village in the suburbs of New York, I never realized what life would be like in the city that never sleeps. But how could I visit New York? I was not even sent to a formal school, because of my dreadful cycles of hallucinations and delusions. Try as I might, I horribly failed to repress every dark outburst that categorized me as “not normal.” Only Emerald, our neighbor was allowed to be my friend, almost the same age as I. There was something intensely soothing in her incessant naïve questions and her vibrant green eyes that kept my severe episodes of hallucinations under control. Emy’s (as I loved called her) candor, her bland honesty and her luscious green eyes, moderated my ravaging, manic episodes moments. She was in fact a balm to my madness, my swooshing emotions. “Recovery has its own timeline; you can’t wrestle through it.” Were her perennial words of hope. Sometimes her confidence was utterly annoying, but supporting her friend was one of her core values of how she celebrates life and renders meaning to her life. Emarald knew how I loved music and wanted to be an ace drummer, only if I can dare to dream about a normal life. Most of my normal days, I’d rush to the dense forest lacing the south of the bay and pick up forsaken chopped logs, and begin my raw drumming session. With every beat I felt like lightning coursing through veins, and thunder roaring from within. Each coarse strike upon the rugged log resonated like a heartbeat, syncing with the universe's eternal pulse.   Those forsaken logs quite became my gateway to uncharted realms of the subconscious, where dreams, emotions, and untamed fantasies collide in a symphony of colors and sounds. It truly seemed to translate my emotions into thunderous crescendos and gentle whispers.  “Hey Wes, happy birthday, this will soothe you and provide you, with a sense of peace and calm.” Emy asserted wearing her usual small shy smile holding out a multicolored pair of wind chimes on one of such visits with me to my secret drumming zone.  I smiled coyly. In a world of hallucinations, erratic mood swings, and convulsions, my raw drumming and Emy’s love seemed to be like that relentless fire which refuses to be extinguished. It’s almost like a cascade of rhythm that etches its indelible mark upon the ravaged fabric of dormant existence. *** The deafening alarms refused to give up.  ‘CODE RED, CODE RED, CODE RED.’   A team of doctors’ lead by psychiatrist Dr. Emerald Betcher, dart into the hospital room. Carefully tiptoeing across the crash cart that lay on the ground, with pieces of glass strewn, they reach the patient. “The patient was outrageous and was incessantly drumming his head with these”, mentioned nurse Betty stretching out her arms displaying two rusted pieces of weather-beaten metallic sticks tethered to some chain. “ohhh… these look like some fragments of windchime sticks. Despite such stringent controls in place, how did he manage to lay his hands on these?” questioned a visibly muddled Dr. Emerald. “Tell ‘em to prep OR 2. It’s been long he had such intensely severe hypo manic episode; I can’t remember the last one.” Just then Dr. Emerald noticed something post examining the patient’s lacerations on his head. “Betty, where are the log furniture?” She questioned pointing towards the south corner of the room. “I…. uhh…               “Betty stared glassily toward the south corner with utter shock and seemed to have nothing to say. Reality transcends all. *** I visited the dense forest lacing the south of the bay. Emy and I were ecstatic, she thoroughly enjoyed my rustic raw drumming session. Sitting on the carpet of overgrown luscious bushes, we could literally hear our exuberance echo into the future. The spring breeze that’s rousing a plethora of emotions, seemed to be placid all of a sudden. I was calm and composed with Emy by my side.  Her emerald eyes kept locking mine with fervent passion; the verdant hues of nature intertwine, creating an ever-shifting kaleidoscope of a colorful future melding into somewhere not visible with my dizziness. “You’re looking very well if you don’t mind me saying.” She whispered in my ears. I was embarrassed but secretly flattered. All of a sudden life turned up full bore, I’m as high as a helium balloon, the tintinnabulation of dreams created a mellifluous symphony. The beads woven into Emy’s plaits kept jangling like wind chimes, as she exuberantly started to prance around holding my hand tight. After a while, I steadied myself with my hands on my knees for a moment, panting. Emy raked her fingers through my hair and leaned forward to kiss my forehead. I felt like slipping into depths of unconsciousness.  I could still hear the muffled beats of drum from somewhere far. I felt Emy looking into my eyes and let out a small shy smile.  It was densely green all around us, I kept hoping and she kept supporting me. I felt a whole series of shocks. Everything seemed transient. Gulping down my silent emotions, I start to dream yet again. So many emotions overwhelm me, there’s so much stuff racing around inside my head. My need to recover was painfully obvious.  In some parallel universe, I may have an Emy by my side. No memory came, only manic episodes. *** Mama used to tell me; I conjure up the best stories, by crafting seamless narratives that intertwine both the struggles and triumphs of a life lived on the edge of emotions. Melding with reality, my stories come to life. During those manic times, my thoughts used to race like shooting stars, leaving trails of brilliance across the night sky of their mind.  The waves of emotions, as unpredictable as the wind, carry them from the heights of euphoria to the caverns of despair, where shadows linger like ghostly apparitions. Reality it is. Author’s Notes:  Psychosis is a mental disorder characterized by a disconnection from reality. Individuals experiencing psychosis may have trouble distinguishing which of their perceptions and thoughts are real and which are not. They often see, hear, smell or believe things that other people do not, or have persistent thoughts, behaviors, or emotions that are inconsistent with what other people experience in the same environment or situation. Some of the symptoms include hallucinations, fixed false beliefs or delusions, confused or illogical thinking and nonlinear or tangential thinking.     Penmancy gets a small share of every purchase you make through these links, and every little helps us continue bringing you the reads you love!