Fable, the storyteller
“Okay, so, there’s this man who once let go of humanity,” Fable leaned into the table, more out of a general excitement to share a story than any sort of romantic interest in the man who sat across from her. She had already been swayed into not pursuing anything but conversation with him.
“His life had been nothing but desire. Just the most intense desire! For everything. It was as if the dopamine centres in his brain fired off on the smallest of novelties; a single drag from a cigarette and he would never be able to quit the habit. Sex. Masturbation. Adrenaline. Everything hooked him until he was desensitized to anything the world could offer him.”
Her tangle of brightly coloured necklaces made of stone, metal, and wood caught on the table and she adjusted herself unconsciously. She brushed behind her ear the single decorated dreadlock that hung down the side of her head; an intentionally designed mess of feathers and strings hidden in her long blonde and wood brown hair.
“His desire for intense pleasures began to destroy him. It began to crumple him up on the inside like a collapsing star burning through its supply of hydrogen. It was becoming more and more difficult to satiate. Cigarettes were as normal as a glass of water. Sex became boring and unadventurous. Every experience became a disappointment and he suffered greatly from the affliction of overconsumption.”
The man she sat across from had started the conversation. Upon seeing her at the table alone, flipping through an old and worn leather notebook, searching around through her collection of pockets in her brown leather jacket, he was drawn in. His curiosity was pulled against his will by the bursts of colour in the musty timber drab of the pub - red magma, blue glaciers, green and yellow and orange mosses and vines - that hung off her body around her wrists and against her light blue shirt under the jacket. The hint of a long and meandering tattoo that stuck out just above her collar on the back of her neck. All of her decorations and colours that each seemed to hold their own story, the green eyes that were too bright in the dim light of the pub. She appeared to between the boundaries of infinite worlds.
“So he walked into the forest, and started to think about the trees. These ageless beings that live by the most basic tenant of life: simply being. He stood under pines that grew long beards of black and green lichen and whose only purpose was simply to live and grow. To not be held ransom by the fears of mortality and the highs we seek because of such.
“He was overcome with appreciation and awe. He suddenly did not see a tree, but looked upon the still and enlightened form of an immortal. He longed for their peace and contentment. So he wandered further, for hours looking upon the forms of gods. He came back to the forest every day and listened to the silent, wordless lessons of the trees, and he would go home every night and desire for peace as his body dragged him through the routines of maintaining a regular supply of dopamine.”
Fable rested her arm over her notebook, unconsciously protective of it and not wanting it to leave the comfort of her form.
“On one of these wandering hikes, he did not return home. He learned all he could from the trees, and he forgot the rusted iron key that would let him back into the life behind him. He simply walked to the edge of a large cliff, looked upon the majestic canyon and forest before him, and let go of his humanity. Let go of his desire to have and to feel. His anticipation of everything ahead of him. His questioning of everything behind him. His controlling of everything around him. He let it all go and, like the deep, ageless forest that he stood on the edge of, he let himself be. His roots grew from his feet down into the rock and earth, pushing into the cracks, plunging into the ground, and gripping against the edge of that great canyon. His body slowly grew wide and tall, with the patience of indefinite age, his wooden skin expanding into the layered echoes of time itself. His arms grew out into a kaleidoscope of branches and needles and pinecones. He grew taller and greater than any tree in the taiga, his form reaching deep into the earth and listening to the indifferent beat of its heart.”
The bar was beginning to close down. Chairs began to clash and shuffle and the lights were turned on, causing Fable to explode into a myriad of colour, the green of her eyes radiant. She did not notice the change in atmosphere.
“He no longer suffers, and his desire now lives happily within his hollowed trunk. She built a nest of hammocks and lust where men and women are caught up in a wildfire of passion and cradled in her gentle arms. Of ropes and slacklines that she dances and glides across, never letting her feet touch the ground.”
Fable woke up the next morning in the man’s bed. She had changed her mind about him at the end of the night, after she finished telling her story. She did not think he cared for the story, but it was in her mind and she needed to tell it. It came bubbling up and out of her like an uncontrollable laugh. It needed to be told. To be made real.
She slid out of the covers and silently put her clothing on while he lay asleep, half under the sheets. She looked down at him and smiled. A man with his own story, though she did not feel like she needed to know any more of it. She felt no regret, but felt her decision was guided by something in the story about the desiring man that grew in her mind; that some of his passion sparked her own within her. She could still see her as clearly as the night before, dancing across her ropes and listening to the stories of the forest through his deep and seeking roots.
She leaned over, affectionately kissed the side of the man’s face, and whispered softly into his ear: “Grow.”
As she pulled the door quietly closed behind her and took one last glance into the room, she saw leaves on his arm and a feather in his hair.