Right Place, Right Time

PHOTO BY Corentin LE LEANNEC ON Unsplash

He was at the right place, at the right time, and viola, his dreams came true. Some will call it luck, some will call it hard work, others will speak to it as destiny, others will claim talent while others will speak of him having known the right people. There’s always something, a justification for why he made it and everyone else didn’t, we all have dreams after all, we’re all searching for something, pursuing it with every bone in our body. But in the horde of multitudes, only one man is left standing, the final victor. Why, why couldn’t it be you, why couldn’t it be me, what did they have that we didn’t, enter the first half of this piece.

Lets take a journey me and you, we’re walking, then we’re running then we’re here, before us is a door, you knock, it opens, enter a dreamer. This is where it begins, his story is humble, he’s the rags to riches type, the one that started with nothing and dreamt to become something. That’s always the best story, because it gives us the most hope, it lets us believe that just maybe, we too can make it, because like him, we’re nothing but underdogs with dreams. But what are we dreaming of, what do we want? We spend so much time lost in imaginings and wishes, but what’s the core of it? It can’t just be about money, is that the dream?

Maybe it is for some, but here’s the thing about the spoils of war, you still need an enemy to kill. So, who’s staring back at you? What do you want? That’s the first wave, in a single question, a thousand dreamers have fallen because their dreams were aimless fantasises. But he’s still standing because he knows exactly what he wants. It isn’t about the spoils, its not about crossing the finish line, its about running the race. Feeling your legs burn and your muscles screech as you stumble across the infinite marathon that is life. None of this is new, you’ve heard it a thousand times, but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t know what they want. Ambition is a painful thing, it gives you something to lose, a destiny, a potential that can be wasted. We’ve all got many regrets, but nothing hurts harder than the pain of what could’ve been.

So, like everything else in this life, nothing comes free, not even your dreams. He paid the price, the blind lady with the sword stood at that distant horizon, her scales of judgement at hand. He was now his own judge, jury and executioner, his dreams were at stake. Now we get some rising action, we follow our young dreamer, he’s chasing his dreams and, in this narrative, they have been personified, a physical place, a building of actualization. We all look at it as it stands tall in magnificent splendour, we can see people run up and down through its glass windows, their happy faces, plastered with smiles. These people are his heroes, his gods of worship, he follows them everywhere seeing them live in that building of dreams. It’s all so perfect and his heart elates as they smile back at him with glistening white teeth, they tell him that if he works hard enough, he can make it, that anything is possible. He truly wants to believe, but when he rushes for the building, the door is locked. He tries to open it again, and again and again, and AGAIN!

It’s useless, it won’t let him in. He slithers to the ground, on the verge of tears. He wonders how foolish he was to believe he could make it. You and I look at him with pity, like popping a little girl’s balloon. How can life be so cruel? Well, that’s life, I guess. But, from the other side of the crystal there’s a knock- his heroes, they tell him not to give up, they tell him that he has to be patient, the door will open he just has to be there when it does. So, he asks, when, when will he get his chance to shine? They tell him to be patient, no one knows, but if he’s there it doesn’t matter, when it opens, he can join them. So, he waits, the day ends, the night rises and he’s waiting. It rains and snows and he’s waiting. People pass him by telling him to go home, to stop wasting his life, but he waits. His stomach growls and his lips dry but he waits. The door opens and his eyes pop in glee, but he’s pushed back by security. A luxurious car emerges, door opening as a young boy runs into the building jumping into his father’s arms. The doors close again while our young dreamer screams how unfair it is, ‘’what kind of nepotistic sh*t is this, I work hard, I’m putting everything on the line just so that some kid can get born in the right family and enter the door, he didn’t even earn it, how can this be fair!’’

We shake our heads, agreeing, trying to sooth his suffering, but the wait has only begun. More and more people join him, they wait outside this building of dreams, in the millions, billions. An entire planet of desperation, sitting in squalor outside this building of dreams. Together we all wait, the rain falls, thunder striking, floors wet. Merchants and vendors come making profits off of our dreams, what a beautiful system, one man’s pleasure is another man’s pain.

Days, months, years, the door is still shut. Its opened before, many got to enter, among them where those who waited a long time and others who had just joined the line. Despite their success, we didn’t celebrate it. Our young dreamer in tears, his eyes green with envy, his body dilapidated. Our dreamer looks to the other buildings, their doors open more frequently, other doors are wide open right now, he could enter them, achieve something. But they are not the dream that he wants.

Our line is constantly losing and gaining people simultaneously. An entire economy trading and switching buildings, some people go to one building then they run back to ours, doing this everyday as they try to strike a balance, maximising their chances. But our dreamer stays put, all his eggs having been placed in this basket, this is do or die for him. His friends and family try to discourage him, they tell him he needs to give this up, and focus on what’s realistic. He’s throwing away his life for some hopeless fantasy. He remains stubborn, some motivate him, but eventually their words fall empty. At this point our young dreamer’s spirit has been defeated, he’s no longer young anymore. Age has battered him, and the world has made him bitter. He starts wondering how life could’ve played out if he’d entered another building instead, he’ll likely be happier, richer, more stable. The wait continues……and continues……and then it ends.

He dies. His body is swept away, and, in his place, a fresh face enters, the door opens, and he’s let in. right place, right time.


Thando Bhebhe

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