The man, the moon and the casquette – Chapter 1 (full)

The Man, the Moon and the Casquette cover image

A simple man

During daytime, he’s a hero for the others. Yet, when the night-time comes, he walks dragging his feet towards what seems to be a lifetime in disbelief.

People adore him. People praise him. And people say that all the words in the world are not enough to thank him for his deeds.

But he finds it hard to believe. He can barely speak without blushing. He exudes confidence, but in his heart self-belief is terribly shaking. He’s been through a lot in the past, which prevents him to see his true value. He believes in everyone else but himself. When he talks to someone, the only words he can spread are of goodness. He has a blare around him to which people cannot resist. But he can’t see it…

When he gets home at night, he feels alone. He has no family around, no kids to brighten his life and his parents can’t accept him for being different than all the others.

His mother told him once, in a mocking voice:

“You’re just a man who can’t see beyond his selfish existence. You don’t get married, you’re already old to have kids. What’s going on with you? What will people say about the way you live your life in? You’re a shame to this family! All you do is stay on the streets all day long. But you can’t support your existence. You’re almost 40, for the mercy of God!”

This made him leave his parents’ house, for the second time. Because his parents don’t actually know what he dedicates his life to. They don’t care. And even if they did, they wouldn’t understand… Their vision on life is too old. They only see what “it always have been this way”.

But who is he, in fact?

Arian has small hazel eyes, light blonde hair, thin rebel eyebrows and his stature is the one of a 15 years old skinny boy, although his real age is 38. His mouth does not match the rest of his figure, as his lips are voluptuous and strongly colored in red. But when he smiles, his teeth shine like a diamond. Pure white and they are so straight that his mouth seems to be the most beautiful part of his body. His ears help us envision a man who is not handsome, his neck is long and his shoulders are curved ahead. His body is covered in some kind of shady-blue robe and his feet are outlined by a pair of black leather sandals.

At first sight, he may easily be labeled as a beggar to people who know nothing about him or his life. Regardless, he never goes unnoticed, due to his way of smiling to everyone. As an antithesis to his figure, his smile is so warm that it attracts people like magnets. Whenever he passes by, he leaves a trait of blessing behind him, which people cannot explain. Nonetheless, they let themselves wrapped in his blare…

You see… He’s so humble because he often thinks about the shallow image that people see. They see an ugly yet charismatic superhero. But he thinks to himself:

“I don’t deserve all this. I am just an apprentice of life, who never ceases an attempt to learn a difficult spell. What makes me so special in the eyes of all these people?”

He questions everything and he can never rest on the laurels people would build him a palace from. He can’t walk on the path of life by just doing what society wants him to. He’s been hurt for not fitting in with the cool kids, when he was younger. But now… Now he clearly understands the blessing of being different. But that’s exactly why he can’t understand why people like him so much. That’s exactly why, when complimented, his skin turns as red as a boiled lobster’s.


A few years back…

In his early 20s, he tried hard to find his way, as per society’s rules. He took on a random job, he never graduated from university (though he forced himself to like chemistry and to see himself as a successful “lab rat”), he was never being invited to parties and he never managed to ask a woman out. He was shy. Some people may have called him arrogant because of this, but he would lose his words when talking to others. And society only agrees with shallow chatter and loud voices that say nothing.

Probably this is the reason why he never went on a date. Most certainly, this is why he would spend most of his afternoons, evenings and nights crying in his fists for not fitting in. And that’s exactly why his parents would deny him as their child. They were very jovial, always surrounded by a lot of people, having their house full of fake admirers who never questioned life or what their real purpose on earth was.

Arian disliked those meetups, as the house sounded like a never-empty club. He could barely rest his head on his pillow, as drunk people would invade his small room, looking for a place to puke in. But he didn’t have the courage to stand up for his privacy. He was afraid to voice his mind to his parents, because most of the times they wouldn’t even notice that he was there. His parents were too distracted with living “a rich social life” and they actually hated their kid for not obeying the rules of glamour.

Consequently, his life on the streets looked more appealing to him. He would leave the house first thing in the morning, while his parents were still sleeping after a night of deprivation. And he wouldn’t come back within the 4 walls of his room until he felt drained by the people walking in crowds. Or if he was cold. Or disappointed by the trends people would leave themselves prey to. There were days when he just wanted to embrace his pillow, stretch his legs comfortably in his bed and have a loooooooong restful sleep. Silence was his only wish and he soon realized the improbability of getting it if he continued to be hosted by his parents’ house.

This existence of his went on for 15 years in a row, without the slightest change, as he was too scared to do something about it. He would bite his tongue and cover his ears, but he felt miserable.

Until then… Until the year he turned 35. He couldn’t carry that burden on his shoulders any longer. He couldn’t Iive in a continuous state of ill mind. He was too tired of it. So, with his heart in his throat, he decided…

On a freezing cold 3rd of December day, he packed everything he had, carefully wrapped all his books in a piece of cloth, stole something from the fridge (which was too empty anyway), threw everything in a partially torn backpack and off he went. He never looked back. He had no idea where he was going or what he would be doing the next day. The only thing he knew was that he’s had enough and that he needed to look for himself. The REAL self!

The moment he set foot outside of his parents’ house, he felt relieved. He felt like all the burden of living in the dim light of grey skies fell off his shoulders. He knew that a new beginning was to be unfolded in front of him and, in that very moment, he looked up to the sky, closed his eyes, opened his arms as if he was about to receive someone for a hug in his arms and clearly spoke:

“I will accept whatever comes to me. Challenges, lessons, happiness or sorrow. I am now open to draw my own path and I surrender my entire being to the will of the higher power. I now know that everything happens for a reason and I am seeking for the most valuable asset of my life. People think that peace of mind is a myth, but I know it’s not. I know that there must be more than what people want to see. I FEEL that all my questions will be answered, at some point. And I want to pass along what I will learn.”

And so, while walking further and further from the house, his thoughts seemed to gather up in an explosion of joy. His entire being had circuits inside and the spark of new beginnings installed in his heart. The hazel color of his eyes was so bright! And his mind would start to only host the blessed belief in a sunny life.

No more grey. No more sadness. No more feeling lonely. And no more parties and loud voices of people with no value.

He had a way of loving his parents… Or was it just the respect for giving him birth? He used to question this frequently. But in that moment, he knew that – regardless of his love or respect for them – he needed to set himself free from their chains of hate. And he always had the golden key. But he was afraid to use it. He was scared of the “what if”. He was terrified about living on his own. And, being very honest to himself, he was scared of being judged for being different. He never thought about himself as being special, but different. Because the inherited definition of the word “special” would suggest a person of great success, with a brilliant mind.

However, his parents never told him. They used to hide from him the fact that he was a genius. He never found out about the results of the IQ tests he passed in an exquisite manner when he was 7 years of age. And by the age of 10. And again by the age of 16. His parents had him tested a lot, as they had average IQs, they got jealous of his high level of understanding life and they secretly wanted him to fail, in whatever he did. All the test results would suggest a not-so-ordinary future and that was too hard for his parents to accept. So, in continuous attempts to put him down, they would always tell him he was no good; that he was a mistake of fate; and that he would never be accepted by his peers.

The morning he left his parents’ house was freezing cold, but the fire that ignited in Arian’s being was so intense that he couldn’t feel the adversity of the weather. Once he made the decision to embrace acceptance and let himself in the hands of the Almighty, his footsteps gained a security he never knew before. He felt his fists getting clenched against his will, as if he was about to fight back against rusty doctrines. He held his head up high and it was the first time when he understood that he has always been better than the life he was exposed to.

The road in front of him was covered in snow and icy bits every here and there. But, as he started moving, lifting his feet covered in heavy winter boots, it was as if even the sun wanted to come out from behind the clouds, to accompany Arian on his self-discovery journey.

After 1 hour of wandering and defeating the cruel weather, he found a place where he could rest his body for a few minutes, while having breakfast and a cup of hot tea. When he opened the door, he saw an old lady (must have been around 80) who greeted him with a tender voice:

“Be blessed, child for choosing to stop here. Please, come inside. I will prepare the best table for you and I will bring you our chef’s specialty. What about a cup of hot chocolate as well?”

Arian was so pleased with the greeting that he could hug the old lady had he not been afraid of the lady considering his gesture as inappropriate. No-one ever greeted him like that before! No-one would ever ask him what he wanted! And no-one has ever offered him the best place to stay at. So, by witnessing this, he knew that his decision of accepting everything coming his way was the best he has ever made!

“I would like a cup of tea instead, please. If it’s not too much of a bother” Arian replied.

“Of course. Whatever you wish. Any preference on the flavor?” the old lady asked.

“Mint would be great, if available” Arian said.

As the lady was already heading to the kitchen, she asked over her shoulder:

“Why are you outside on such a cruel weather, son?”

Arian thought a few seconds before he could answer. He wasn’t sure if he should tell the lady his real reason, so he said (as to himself):

“I have some urgent stuff to attend…”

“I didn’t hear that, young man” the lady said.

But then she showed up with a plate full of food and the hot cup of mint tea. The joint smells of the meal hypnotized Arian and he could barely wait to settle his hunger. But he was somehow ashamed, because the lady was observing him.

“My name is Rada” the woman said, to loosen up the atmosphere a bit.

“Nice to meet you, madam” Arian said. “I am indeed pleased to have stopped here. I have hardly ever seen someone as kind as yourself” Arian continued, just before having the first bite of the breakfast.

“Please, call me Rada” the old lady said. “People see me old and they feel compelled to call me madam. But I was never fond of this word, young man. What is your name?”

“Please excuse me for addressing to you in a manner you don’t enjoy. It was never my intention to…” tried Arian to apologize to the lady.

But he didn’t finish the sentence, when Rada said:

“That’s OK. Don’t worry about it. Now let’s chat as old friends. Would you like that?”

“Uhmm… Of course” Arian mumbled.

He didn’t know for sure what her intention was. He felt weird about all this sudden offer of friendship. But then he recalled his decision, made that very morning – “I will accept whatever comes to me.” The moment he recalled that, he felt at ease and replied:

“Actually… Uhmm… Yes, I would love that. I never had a friend… And… Uhm… My name is Arian, ma…”

“Rada. Remember – Rada, not madam. I am very happy to be your first friend” the old lady replied. “Now, eat. We can chat after you’re done. I have a feeling that we have a lot to talk about, my dear friend.”

Arian was caught barehanded here. He didn’t know how and if to react to the old lady’s reply. So he chose to do as she recommended and didn’t make any other sound until he finished everything in his plate.

He just left the fork off his hand when Rada was already near him.

“I hope you enjoyed the meal” she said. “I made it for you with all my love and I hope it will give you the necessary strength to carry on with your journey.”

Arian was confused. Rada previously said that she wanted to talk to him and now she just wanted him gone? But Rada didn’t give him more time to think about what she said, as she continued:

“But not before you tell me what your story is. I want to learn more about you. You seem lost, yet I get the sense that you are a very nice young man. What’s your truth, Arian?”

That question was a first for the young man. No-one asked him what was in his heart before. No-one actually seemed to have even noticed him, as a human being. He felt uneasy, but for some reason he felt he could trust her. Or was it the need to finally speak his mind? In any case, he started:

“Well… I… I just left my parents’ house. Too much noise… I just couldn’t resist any longer. I always felt rejected. I always felt like I never belonged there…”

“I did the same when I was young, Arian” Rada replied “I know how painful it is to not have your own spot. I know how hard it is not to be accepted for who you are. And I know exactly how it feels to be willing to find yourself”

“You… You did the same?” Arian asked with a surprise in his eyes that almost made the old lady laugh. But she just couldn’t laugh and make him feel bad.

“Yes, Arian. Well, not exactly, but I will tell you my story later on.” Rada said. “So I completely empathize with you… You know what? You can stay here, if you wish. I won’t charge you for hosting you, all I want is a true friendship. I want to learn what happened and I want you to never hide anything from me. Because I want to help you. There was no-one there for me in my early days of despair. I had no shoulder to cry on and not an ear to hear me out. But I want to be here for you and teach you everything I learned in the last 60 years. Will you take the hand I’m lending you?”

Arian was shocked. Both by the old lady’s confession and by the offer. He was never offered a shoulder, needless to say about a helping hand. Yes, he wanted to take her offer, but he was afraid of becoming a burden for the old lady. And he was fairly pretty afraid of revealing the pain in his soul, as he has just met Rada.

While he was going through all these emotions and just before opening his mouth to answer, Rada said:

“I also know how hard you find it to trust me. I felt the same. And don’t you worry about being a burden for me, young man. You will not become one. You will help me out around here. I can teach you how to cook, amongst others; I can teach you how to treat this place as if it was your own; and I will teach you how to treat customers and the personnel with love, regardless of your inner hurt.”

Rada already had something in mind, from the moment the young man came in. She had a gift. And that gift was to sense the energy of people entering her place.


Author: Andrada Anitei

Writer & Editor @ | Storyteller | Interviewer | Published author x 2 | #FlavoredWriting | Podcast host & producer |

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