I gasp as I exit the cable car. Speech eludes me. Before me is the most glorious sunset I have ever seen. Golden rays slice through the azure sky, and color the water orange. The sun itself forms a fiery pool of yellow as it dips into the ocean. Time stands still. I want to remain here, staring at this real life painting, for as long as I can. I want to imprint it upon my memory, so I can always go back and taste the wonder I am feeling at this moment.
Suddenly I hear the sound of singing above my head. I turn around and spot a group of Africans, who no doubt climbed the mountain, since they could not afford the paltry fee of the cable car. They are sitting on a boulder, and singing to the setting sun without a care in the world. In this surreal scene of niflaos haborei, I too feel a song bubbling to the surface. Slowly, softly, I begin to sing. The song isn’t new. It wasn’t written in a setting anything like this one. Although listening to it, one would be inclined to think that it was.
I can sail away away away away
Oh so far away
Drifting over fluffy clouds and gleaming skies
Oh what a beautiful day
Oh to be free
Just who I wanna be
Spread my wings
Oh to have the choice
How I would raise my voice
I’d sing to my creator up above
Stretch my arms wide and feel his love
Let it penetrate deep in my soul
Piece my heart together and make it whole
I’d let the sun beat above my head
Breaking into different hues of golden red
Setting on the ocean of my tears
Behind snowy mountains of my fears
For a moment, I am sixteen again. Sitting at my desk, in a brightly lit classroom, with the windows slowly darkening as night falls. I am trapped. Trapped in that desk, trapped in that classroom, trapped in a world that wants to squash me into a neat little box and tack on a label.
But the world is no match for my dreams. In my mind, in the place that no one could reach, I have wings. I could fly away, far far away, to a place where I am free.
So whenever it feels like it is all too much, I escape. Sometimes I write, filling the backs of textbook sheets with poetry and song. Those songs contain my dreams, the places I visit in my imagination, the places I don’t even fathom I would ever actually, physically reach.
Standing atop Table Mountain, as the ocean turns red, yellow, and orange, slowly swallowing the sun, I hold my sixteen year old self close. I tell her that, although she never dared to dream this bold, dreams sometimes do come true.
Here we are, my teen and adult self together, drinking in the scene that is exactly how I dreamed it while sitting at my desk in a high school classroom. The ocean, the mountains that surround us, and the sunset in all its brilliant hues of golden red. I let it penetrate, mend the pain of so long ago. And I sing.