The soft buzz of the heater or is it just my head? Anyways a buzz, a soft calming buzz woke me up from a very light sleep, I don’t remember a day in three months I had a peaceful deep sleep. After everything sleeping was the hardest thing to do, memories dressed like dreams, memories I thought would be soothing me came crashing at night. Screaming, Jolting up, drenched in sweat or wandering my hands in sleep to hold your hand and come up to nothing but emptiness was becoming a habit or I was getting used to it. It took me few minutes to adjust my eyes to the darkness, not a surprise, still pitch dark
because I haven’t slept for long. Where am I? Again in a strange place in another strange country, again in a different time line but this time it felt like I’m in a whole new planet, this time it felt different, gloomy and mostly lonely I think, a familiar throbbing pain was pulsing in my head that it felt like a loud sledgehammer. Well, Headaches can do wonders to you my friend. And this headache has only one remedy and the bad thing was that I had to get up from my warm covers to get that.
I rolled to my side wondering where I threw my phone before falling here, the jet lag was an added disaster to my already ruined sleep routine, Just multiplying my head ache from five times. I need my remedy, I just need my coffee and before that I need to find my phone to stop my mom and my best friend from freaking out. Snatching it from the place where It was buried deep down under the blankets I switched it only to find out that they are already freaked out.
“17 missed calls from mom “
“Half a million texts and dozens of missed calls from Rochell“ “I’m safe dumbo sorry fell asleep. Landed here around 8 “
Rochell, The best friend also known as the disaster management system of my life, I decided to text her back and ignored calling my mother, because I lacked the energy to argue with her this early in the morning, Rochell will take care of her I hope, because this time not even my mother can change my mind.
I still need that coffee; rubbing my eyes I pulled off the covers only to get slapped hard from the ruthless cold reminding me where I am, Zermatt, Switzerland. Straight from the Airport 6 hour journey to see the coldest and the prettiest mountain of the country. I tiptoed through the cold wooden floor to the Kitchen area. This little space going to be home for me for five days. This little space that we found out through hunting internet advertisements for hours and hours, This little space that we planned to come together. The familiar knot came and tightened up in my stomach, shrugging it off I placed the filled jug on the brewer. It was eerily cold even with the full bursting heater, I knew it was almost dawn but I had to keep myself from opening the blinds up. I’m not ready to see the mountain yet, No not yet.
The deep cold made me quiver into my bones. My thin robe did nothing to warm my body. What my Mother said before I decided to do this was constantly nagging my mind and cold did nothing to numb the sting that I get when I remember it each time.
“You are running away Kiara, That scrap book is just an excuse you are making to stay away from the people that loves you. You think Elijah wanted you to be like this in the end? “
My mother’s voice rang in my head.
I slowly walked back to my room and sat on the cold floor and pulled my luggage closer to me, slipping my hand to the bottom I retrieved the most valuable thing I own now, a huge thread bound scrapbook. A book which once held dreams, hopes and even magic. The book that keeps me sane and not alone.
“As long as this book is with you I’ll be right there in your heart” I remember once you said smiling
confidently through all that pain I couldn’t save you from. I let another lonely tear slip from my eye and held the book tighter
This book holds secrets, memories and promises that nobody knew. That reminds me that if you were here then you would have pinched my cheek and tell me not to get upset over my mom’s words
because they don’t know about us.
That was the problem, like you said back then, they didn’t know about us. They still don’t know about us. I opened the book and softly caressed the words on the front page with tears blurring my vision now.
“Elijah Tylor – A wanderer who wanders. A dreamer who dreams “
A soft smile spread through my lips seeing what was scribbled under that “Then he met an Angel to Wander along with him “
that scribble was 7 months and three weeks old for today. Which was scribbled in a cozy room in New York, when I wandered in New York for the first time, where I wandered with Elijah Tylor, a boy who he called himself was a wanderer and a dreamer, a boy who dreamt and believed about the wonders he can see through his warm chocolate brown eyes. A boy who had magic in his laughter that could heal any wound in my heart. And I’m glad that I decided to wander along with him.
People didn’t know about us, As you once made me believe there is no use of trying to explain the beauty in things to the people who never tries to understand it, I remembered you treasured us as something beautiful and maybe you was too selfish to share the beauty we saw with the rest of the world. But with this scrapbook in hand now I know, world needs to know about us, they deserve to know about the wanderer I loved and love. So with his scrapbook in my hand and his polaroid camera by my side I want to tell you about Elijah Tylor. My Elijah Tylor.
This scrapbook, when I first saw this it was very young, I remember the 15 year old Elijah Tylor who was famous in the school for his mad guitar skills, who was a charming young teenager who was my best friend and who had my back in everything. This scrapbook was a gift from his grandpa, who told him to write stories on it. I remember the boy who loved his guitar throwing this book to the corners of his messy room, until that day I saw him dressed in all black held this book closer to his chest, eyes full of tears. It was the day that his grandpa left him never to return.
“I didn’t write stories in it “I remember him saying through sobs.
I then remember Elijah Tylor who ran away. Who ran away because he did not know how to write stories without seeing them. He ran away with two sweaters guitar and his polaroid camera leaving me a note that said
“I need to see stories, and paste them in my scrapbook. Will see you in the summer- Elijah- No wonder that I ended up wandering with him. After all it was only me who understood what he said.
We met again in that summer. The Elijah Tylor I met this time had longer curls that fell all over his forehead, a darker tan and a smile that made his left dimple look more deep. I know what you are thinking, yes this summer I fell for Elijah Tylor. Oh and how can I forget the spark in his eyes that burned brighter than ever, it was burning gold and I was falling for that glow.
I opened the scrapbook which was on my lap, first few pages of it read the title Louisiana, it had polaroid photos of my Elijah Tylor, river banks of Mississippi River and pizza parlors in New Orleans, neon lights in bourbon street. Louisiana, the place that made him want to be a wanderer. I remember him showing me these exact pages with a proud smile on his face. That summer we talked about him being a wanderer laying over the fresh grass on his backyard.
“I thought you wanted to be a guitarist and join a band “
“Yes that too but I want to be a wanderer more than that, I want to be a wanderer who goes to places and who make stories in those places”
“Soo.. You are not writing stories on the book?? “
“Hahaha.. No little silly.. Its more than writing a story in a book. You go to that place and be a part of everything that happens in that place, that could be a party, a carnival or that could be just sitting in a bar listening to a band play a slow song it’s all about being another character and join the story of the city”
“I thought they are called Travelers ..”
“Travelers don’t have time, they don’t let it flow; they have destinations, But a wanderer, he can go exploring the wonders and simply he can get lost.. So I am a wanderer” I remember him saying staring into my eyes, caressing my cheek, for that split second I remember myself getting lost in his warm brown eyes and I swear he was lost in mine too.
Few summers after that .. I fell in love with Elijah Tylor and he promised he is going to hold my hand while he goes on getting lost in all the places he wanted to get lost. He promised me this time it is not going to be just him, we are going to get lost;Us together.
I slowly turned the pages of the scrapbook, Los Angeles, Hollywood, London, Mexico, Milano, Paris, Sydney, New York. Polaroids of us smiling in every corner of the world, spending the happiest years of our lives. It went fast, maybe too fast, as I feared our life was too good and magical to be real, too fast to embrace the most out of it. But never will I ever regret my life around Elijah Tylor, he made life so magical and he made me want to write poems. He saw the hidden beauty in every city he went and I used to see their beauty through his eyes.
We wandered and wandered and wandered and we wandered into New York, New York the place where Elijah Tylor decided that he want me, Kiara Woods to be the home for his wandering soul. 7 months ago, I’m telling you to believe me the winter air in New York City was filled in magic and sparks. 7 months ago I was the happiest girl in New York. Happiest, until that morning I woke up to see his calm sleeping face instead to find out a blood soaked pillow and an unconscious Elijah Tylor.
They said my Elijah Tylor has a final stage brain tumor, the wanderer who couldn’t stay on the same place more than three days started to sleep a lot. He spent painful amounts of time in hospitals for
weeks, then months. He lost the ability to move his hands or legs but never did he cry, my bravest Elijah Tylor, he didn’t stop making plans, he made plans to see the rest of the world, to fill his scrapbook with polaroids and even made a plan to adopt a black Labrador. His mind was colorful as ever and I wondered how a gray tumor could swallow the colorful life out of him. It didn’t feel real, it felt dark but through all that he always smiled.
I noticed the dripping tears on the scrapbook, Elijah would have killed me for this. Tears blurred the word which was on top of that page, Zermatt, Switzerland.
My mind swirled me back to the morning he tapped my hand with his weak fingers and woke me up from a brief groggy sleep.
“Can you bring my Scrapbook please” I remember him mumbling sleepily. “On the last page write Zermatt, Switzerland.”
“That’s where I am going to start when all this is over”
“Why Switzerland out of all the countries? “ I remember asking while stroking his feverish forehead.
“Zermatt has snow- capped mountains, and they’re like me, they look delicate from outside but strong and high from inside “he said with a sad, tired smile on his face… Then he fell asleep.
With all the memories that I’m not supposed to forget ever, them crashing and slapping me hard across the face again, I hugged my knees and silently cried letting the pages of the scrapbook to soak in my tears. This very scrapbook is the reason why I am not supposed to forget My Elijah Tylor, this scrapbook is the very reason why I am here.
3 months ago, Laying there in the cold floor of my bedroom, not having any energy to change out of the black dress I wore to Elijah’s funeral, I decided that I needed to live in his dream, to give life to his dream of filling the scrapbook and wander for the stories in cities, be a part of the stories in those cities, just as he taught me, I realized that I need to be a dreamer, a wanderer. That way only I can keep him alive in my heart. That wanderer did not deserve to be dead and forgotten.
It took me three long months to gather all the courage to be here, while parents and friends protesting their way into my decision, yet here I am, in the place where you wanted to start when everything is over. Now it’s time to take you to the mountains.
I slowly slipped into one of the two sweaters I brought with me, those sweaters still smell like my Elijah Tylor, cozy warm and safe, just like his embrace. I stuffed my little backpack with the other sweater, his Polaroid camera and his scrapbook. Only valuables I have with me now.
The little sunlight which was now creeping through the blinds and into the wooden floor of the little cottage reminded me that sun is rising and it is time for me to see the mountains. I opened the door of the little cottage and stepped into the porch and looked around. Even with the warm sunrays pouring everywhere it was freezing cold outside, then I looked up and saw them. The mountains, thousands of snow- capped mountains were surrounding me, and they looked like they were connected with the snowy clouds and the blue sky above them, the grass on the roots of the mountains looked greener than
any grass I have ever seen, little cottages and the flowery cherry blossom trees added some kind of a spellbinding beauty to the whole place. I breathed in awe, this place looked like it was placed here straight from heaven; Heaven. This place is the closest definition to heaven. Heaven; he wanted to start again from … Heaven. Flood of emotions came rushing into my body and made my whole body fill with warmth. Heaven, My Elijah Tylor wanted to wander again; this time in heaven. And he knew that I would wander again, wander again for him and wander again for us. With shaking hands and tear brimmed eyes, I took the polaroid camera and took my first snap of the godly looking mountain ring, and turning the back of it I scribbled;
Now I know why god wanted you to come wander in heaven so badly,. Because it is so beautiful..
Co- director: Rtr.Parami Jagoda (International Service Avenue)