Miss Mara gave me a key that she bought in Toledo, Spain where, according to her, high-quality forged swords, keys and other metal products are made.

I am vastly amused by the key she gave me and how it made me rekindle my childhood. I am holding onto her words that she just did not buy the key alone, but also a castle. I seriously believed that she bought that key with an open challenge: To find the perfect fit for the key.

So I stood to that challenge and promised to visit Spain and find the corresponding lock of the key.

To my surprise, the childhood that I was suddenly reminded was the dreams I once dreamed of, things that I promised to achieve or things I wanted to become on the day I became, with any luck or quite apart from having that luck, grown up.

Of course, I do not know what could have possibly happened when I was six or seven. All I know is that I dreamed of fairy tales, meeting Santa Claus, and flying—wishing them all to be true.

I always wanted to be a swordsman or a knight. With the entire masculine outfit or any historic sword-fighting wear, anyone I loved will be saved. I’ll fight dragons, burn witches, kiss princesses. I will be grand.

The key also reminded me how things have gone, things that did not happen because I cannot do what I said to be done, just because I am not aware that I should do it, and just because I never knew anything about it.

In short, it made me realize that there are things that will make you believe, while some will give you false hopes, or simply things that you just can’t do.

By the way, I should have said beforehand that this is not just about fairy tales, ‘living happily ever after’ and ‘once upon a time.’

***

To talk more about the key and how it relates my childish part, it touched a memory when I was in the middle of daydreaming somewhere in 1997 where I found out daydreaming is just a waste of time.

To tell you the truth, looking back at that distinct section of my childhood, I doubted if Cinderella and other fairy tales stories were true. It is, of course. Just lesser of being skeptical, I knew many Cinderella-ish people and they proved the true out of it with less castles, knights, kings and queens, and exaggeration of fairy god mothers.

But to get a free ride of fairy tales, I wholly believed it, whole-heartedly.

For instance, my grandmother used to force us to go for a siesta. She used to say, “The witches are having a party outside the house for their regular afternoon meal.

“Young lad, sleep for they are ready for the kill.”

At the back of my mind, I said, “Eh? Come on! I am now ready for a witch-hunt. Please let me hunt them instead. I will protect you.”

Moreover, the key also reminded me how old I have now become especially these past few months.

When I am still young, I always perceive that when people get older, the more stupid they become, like how the Little Prince see people when he showed his drawing of hat-slash-boa constrictor-eating-elephant.

For one, I never enjoyed the bandwagon of Santa Claus and reindeer and gifts. Before, during Christmas, I stayed awake the whole night when Santa Claus was supposed to clumsily slide down the chimney and tip-toe.

At first, I doubted that Santa Claus was a fraud. I was correct.

Through a half-lit room, I kept my eyes wide open for a show-stopper. I was not surprised that my aunts were there. They looked stupid, really.

Other word for incompetence is stupidity. You can call it laziness. You can easily define it—say, a father and a mother can’t do anything to feed their children. Then, somewhere in the land of incompetency, they in fact, existed.

Not a problem at all because the land, apparently, became futile and the parents need to do something for their children.

Of course, the land of incompetency does not, sad to say, opens a fissure for a food or water. The said earth never rains for them to do washing or bathing. Most of all, the sun is never there to light and witness how incompetent the people have become under its radiance and supremacy. How pathetic.

This is an epic, ballad tale of incompetence that is long-living in the land.

One day, a tune fell in the said once-lifeless land. The song it made is strong enough to create Adam. He cannot tell a story. He cannot wash himself that it came to a time when all his body became like some kind of heated clay and stank like foul-smelling food.

The sun was disappointed and finally got angry. He was fiery. The heat was felt even from the bottom of the core. The clay that Adam made called for a ring. The melody did its very best to end this incompetency. That is how an Eve was beckoned.

Let’s us say that he is suffering from a contagious, yet curable disease. Its contagion had nothing feared to crush the host’s barricade of immunity. The disease, as most people believed, does not need medical attention. It required, to all’s surprise, a dream.

A dream perhaps could heal this entire pending lull to the clamor. This defiant is something that even the words and songs of god could never replenish to the disease.

When the infection took place the night when the upper class is supposed to gather—and by that gather it meant for the unreasonable but usual party—everything he had got away.

To date, little by little, he went back to memories. He sailed slowly through forgotten thoughts, at this instant afraid to be hurt.

His friend, Doy, who got his name from a hit and miss chance of the parents in naming one’s son, fell in a trap and was locked up, his prompt aid, no matter how dangerous the trap may be, should be given away.

He travelled a path he personally knew would lead to the lock in. The said instinctive handiness resulted to the nearest town.

When he headed to ask for shelter to escape from a chilly northern wind, he was invited by one of the locals to get along with the night’s celebration. It’s easy, he say, dance with the music and follow the thumping and beating of your body.

Stars shining bright above you…

The Mamas and the Papas kept, for almost an hour, singing and humming.

Night breezes seem to whisper I love you…

When an overlooking view of the window reached a pitch combination of red and blue, a northern wind, for some time, woo the cigarette smoke to come inside the small flat. It occurred an effect that somehow resembles a matter of falling and rising— and it smelled likewise.

Last night, the rain seemed to no ceasing. At this moment, an expectant of a good night is rejoicing. Tonight, as he had said earlier before lighting a stick of cigar, should be perfect.  With silk-inspired pajamas on while shirtless, this could be a good night.

It has to be, he thought.

Something better must come. It must be better than the falling and rising sensation of smoke inside the flat. It must be far better than waiting while the Mammas and Pappas recordings are on. Nothing worse, he thought, could surpass everything that had happened for the last ten years. Every day is like never ending.

And tonight, he has the highest hope that what he waited for a particular time will and shall come.

When his smoke pipe had reached its peak, he strode to the closest chair and sat for a while. He still could overlook the setting sun through the open glass window. The feeling is there. He must not be wrong with this.

The last soundtrack finally ended and when the last note rang, it chimed like an echo that bounced back and forth, up and down, bushing around the walls, ceiling and tiled floors. He followed the sound, moved his head like he could spot the invisible. He chased the now-stopping sound that settled on the floor.

He leaned back to the soft headdress and painted a face with serious contemplation. At this rate, he could be aware of a sudden shivering. Without a shirt on, he trembled, now looking helpless.