By Mishal

Gloria Nayler once wrote, “Sometimes being a friend is mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go and allow people hurl themselves into their own destiny. And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it’s all over.”

You ever heard about comets?

Legend says that a comet is an arrhythmic phenomenon. It’s a ball of wishes and dreams that travels along the vast expanse of a fateful night sky. And if you are lucky, I mean, if you are really, really lucky, perhaps the luckiest person alive, then your dreams are among those which the comet will make come true. All you have to do is set your eyes and heart on that piece of charm. Now I could tell you who explained this, but would it really matter? Because eventually, times changed and so did beliefs. A comet becomes a metaphor. It is a ball of nothing but stardust, wrapped in mystery and carried in the heart of a saviour fallen from the sky for you. Like a stranger-who turns into a friend.

It’s not like I hadn’t wished for it. It’s not like I wasn’t waiting for it to happen- to witness the magic on a starry night and hope that my wishes materialize. Everybody secretly wishes for the same thing. I was a naive kid in search of an extraordinary something that would last till the end of my time. So in a way, you could say that I was hopeful. And reckless. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into until I had tress-passed the ugly fence that clearly was there for a reason. It meant. “Work in progress. No tress-passing allowed.” But how could I resist? The other side of that border had me from the beginning. Nothing extravagant, just a dark, open field.

But perhaps, that’s what I like about darkness. It gives clarity; I can see things for what they really are. No filter. No photo-shop. No glamour.It’s just how it is – shape, size, surface. So to answer a question of sorts – yes, this darkness was my clarity. Next thing I know – well, actually, I don’t. Nor will I ever be genius enough to comprehend but all I could see and sense was the bright shine reflecting on my eyes. The reflection of a falling speed-ball begging me to follow its course.

So I did.

It made the blood in my veins run with hope, like I was chasing a dream, or a dream within a dream and even though it felt that way deep in my heart I knew that it wasn’t merely a dream. I wasn’t dreaming and I was well aware of that. The comet wasn’t a dream. It was real, it was happening. I could trace it. I could feel it burn brighter than all of wishes combined. It wasn’t a longing anymore. 

Sooner rather than later, I came to the conclusion that the comet was a constant- my constant. At my lowest, it showed up and gave me hope. In my darkest moments, it was what stood out against the glum moonshine.

Comets don’t have healing power. The magic is in the charisma of the stories it carries with it. Stories of big dreams, fulfilled wishes. Stories depicting the joy of having something so magical happen to you that it hurts to even think about losing sight of it. 

In the fear of losing that belief, those stories, that happiness, I chased it. I chased the comet – ran and ran after it like a rabid creature of the wild – until my lungs give out.

I could say that I lost the comet but then I would be lying. I tried hard – scratch that – I fought hardest, perhaps my hardest fight ever. I fought against insurmountable odds to keep my eyes closed and let the gleam of reflection of the comet’s blinding light live inside them for a little while longer. I was walking blind for a while – not even once worrying about where my quest to hold onto the comet would take me. I accepted that unknown road in the dark as my destiny. 

That’s just the thing though. The road wasn’t dark. I was blinded. The shine that was supposed to be hope turned out to be the one taking the remainder of it away. 

I learned about the thing about comets the hard way. The thing about comets – they’re not static. They’re not meant to stay. In fact, they are always propelling in a direction we know nothing about. Funny thing, how similar time and comets are – both fleeting, arising from the middle of nowhere but holding power over us and taking us with them wherever they go. And we do, without another thought, without another fight, without knowing where it’ll eventually lead us to. There is fear in the winds that blow your way, but also a warm anticipation of what is about to come. That night, I thought that the comet was the one that left me in shambles. I thought that the comet broke my heart. But then one morning, I opened my eyes and it wasn’t until I had let the comet’s caged reflection slip out of my eyes that I realised that it wasn’t the comet. It was me. I broke my heart.

Wishing on the comet and hoping that my wishes would come true was what broke my heart. That was what did it for me. The gleam didn’t last after all, but the lesson did. When the shine died, the fears settled in. In a way, fears were all I had left to fill the void that the comet had left. There were all kinds of fears. The fear of not seeing the comet – my comet – again. The fear of not being good enough or deserving enough to witness another miracle because I didn’t appreciate the first one enough. But most of all, the fear of never having something so significant and invaluable again. Something that would make me whole. Something that would make me hold on to hope. 

I was up and perhaps exactly where I belonged. All I had to do was glue my pieces back together. So I did what I had to do. I did what you would have done to. I walked away from self destruction. I gave up hope.

Now you, who is reading this probably have me down and listed as a lost cause. But hold on, I haven’t quite finished yet.

I gave up hope, because I found my faith. Let me explain.

Hope is a concept which has been passed on for generations. It’s a tradition of sorts, only more millennial and less stone-age. Maybe it also existed back then but didn’t have a nomenclature. Clearly, Homo habilis weren’t into future planning. Never mind though. Since it all starts somewhere, Let’s begin here. Dog ear this. 

Hope is a tradition – there’s a good chance that it could all be a well-staged lie. Often rarely do you come across a comet that will give you hope, an assurance that perhaps tomorrow will be a good day. What lies ahead of one is better than what was or what could have been. And do you know what’s really funny? 

What’s funny is, in that moment it holds the power to fix you. That hope sparks something in you, maybe a yearning to get up again after a fall, maybe the strength to pack a punch after taking two blows to yourself or maybe a belief that  those who can put feelings into water and salt are the strongest, the bravest even. But when the sun comes up and it’s time to wake up with cheer, that cheer surely falters towards sun-downing and you might end up drained, or worse exhausted – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. When that moment closes in on you, remember – the comet only fixed you. It hasn’t healed you.

Now, let’s talk about faith for a minute. Faith is like a legacy. Your faith is your legacy. If your faith begins with you, it’s your legacy to own, build, give direction to – any direction you want. You are the master of your faith. You are the puppeteer who is pulling the strings here. When, why and how much of faith needs to exist within you is solely your discretion. It’s not like hope; there are no lies, no ugly encounters with falsity. There’s just you, your faith and the wounds which are now healing.

If somebody tells you that you cannot possibly choose the comet that you wish upon, you tell them that they’re wrong. Because they are wrong. In a dilemma between hope and faith, you can choose which direction you want the wind to take you. 

Some may say that it’s too tough. Some may claim that ‘trying to choose’ is indirectly synonymous to a state of confusion. But don’t heed them. Think about it for a minute and don’t do it for them. Do it for yourself. Think about it.

Is it really confusing or are you simply widening your horizon? There were always choices – between the comet and the moon that night. Between the rainbow and the sun. Between hope and faith. 

No, don’t get me wrong. You don’t have to ban all hope. Earlier, I mentioned that hope is a concept – it could be a lie. After all, magic did come along when you hoped for it the most, right? It’s what Peyton Sawyer’s dilemma was too. “Every song ends, but is that any reason to not enjoy the music?”

If I ask you today to tell me your story of a beautiful friendship or an unconditional bond laced with love and pure intentions – I assure you that that’s when the comet will hit the hardest. Hence, let me wish upon a comet for you. I wish that if it ever comes down to making a choice, you must choose your comet wisely. And I also secretly pray that you choose the most precious one of them all. Because in your life, you may come across another falling star or two and they’ll all be in transit from the day you lay your eyes on them. I say in transit, because no matter what you do, it won’t stay. It might not kneel down beside you when you fall down. It might not take your hand in there and make you overpower your fears. It might not look into your eyes or realise there are un-shed tears there. That’s not what comets are about. 

But on the off chance that you do find that one comet that shines brighter in your eyes and looks at you with the same fascination that you hold every single time you look at it, hold on to them. Those are the ones who’ll look beyond the walls and tell you that they have faith in you. They’ll make you have faith in the universe. Just, please, hold on to this. They’re still comets, sure. But they’re someone else’ comet. Not yours.

Perhaps this was what the comet was never about. It was never about that friend who would break past the walls or jump electric fences, look through you. The first comet was never about telling in words or proving it in action. It was always about letting go. The comet was the one hand that you needed to get up with the help of after a fall. You didn’t know that, but the comet did. 

When you found your faith, that’s when you stopped needing the comet and if, by if I mean only and only if that comet, by chance, turns it’s course around and proves to love you – the flawed you, the perplexed you, the wrong you and every other version of you – then it wasn’t your comet to wish upon. It was always somebody else’ comet. But it was, it is and it always will be your faith – the one you could build a legacy out of.

Remember, comets don’t stay and the ones that stay are not your comets.

To those of you who have found this faith, if you can sketch the face of that one, or two, people whom you can call friends and gladly say that they were not the comets you once wished upon so badly; if you have that, then I envy you. 

To those of you who have not yet known the intensity of a bond deeper than the Pacific, I have faith that in time, you will. Your comet’s coming. Your faith will be birthed.

And to those of you, who think that they’ve met their comet – that they had and lost a love – and are too hard on yourselves, let me tell you that you haven’t lost anything. Because you haven’t found it yet. It simply means that you found a comet, it shone bright and it fizzled out of your sight. If I were you, I would try to relish in it’s beauty and cherish the fact that something so extraordinary knocked on the doors of my heart. It was a fleeting memory, sure, but a kind memory. For kind memories make for good lessons. After all, time could never deny beauty just like love could never deny magic. 

Some days will not be easy; sometimes your heart might feel heavy or you might feel a lump forming in your throat at the mere flash of a remote memory of the comet. On those days, tears might brim your eyes. On that day, I hope and pray that this helps you.

It was dark.

Everything was clear.

Remember to have grace and be patient.

Remember to be kind.

The comet may have failed to give you hope but some day, an asteroid is going to knock at your door or perhaps even knock it down at four in the morning. That won’t be just another comet. It’ll be faith. On that day, when it comes crashing at your doorstep and seeks a way in, let it in. That day, I promise all your wounds will have healed.

In the end, we’re all comets to someone and a rock of faith to someone else.

As for me, I am your fleeting comet. 

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