29 Aug Oasis: In Search of Noel
Oasis: In Search of Noel
Sweat had already saturated him as the blazing desert sun beat down. Wiping his brow Liam wondered if wearing his heavy green parka had been the best idea.
What a way to start the week.
He had heard that sunshine follows thunder, but looking around the shimmering sand, he doubted if this place had ever seen a thunderstorm.
The only rumble to be heard here was that of his stomach. He had made a meal but threw it up on Sunday, and as his stomach hadn’t settled, he dared not chance any more food.
Cigarettes and alcohol was all he was allowing himself as his feet carried him through the dunes, and so far it was sustaining him.
Some might say that that is a foolish approach but Liam didn’t care. He didn’t listen to what some might say.
He threw a glance to the unfettered sky and frowned to see the high flying birds circling.
Am I easy pickings? He wondered.
He tried his best to clear thoughts of birds using him as their last meal and he plodded on, getting ever closer he hoped, little by little.
It must have been noon when he stopped for rest for he cast no shadow beneath himself.
Freeing a shower of dust into the air, he collapsed on the sand.
Exhaustion was taking over.
He was tired and his eyes were staring to blur.
“I. Hate. Blur.” He panted to himself.
He wondered how some people don’t believe in Heaven, for this was Hell. Had his god woke up on the wrong side of his bed? What had he done to deserve this? All he wanted to do was find Noel, his brother.
He had to find Noel.
He had been lost for so long, estranged and alone. The brothers had split so long ago, seemingly over trivial yet irreconcilable differences. Words had torn apart the master plan.
But now amends were needed.
Determination reinforced him and struggling to his feet, he plodded on once more.
He knew the importance of being idle, but he also knew its dangers all to well. He had been stung before.
As dune after dune slipped by, so too did his hope. Each appeared the same as the last and he dreaded looking behind him for fear he was walking in circles.
“Don’t look back in anger,” he muttered lowly, “just keep moving.”
As he neared the cusp of utter disheartenment he stopped.
There, at the point where his vision failed, was a strand of green amongst the gold. In disbelief he edged closer. The green grew.
A house and garden, enclosed by a wall.
He stared in wonder, wall and house shimmering in the haze of heat.
He had found his oasis. Now he just needed to find Noel.
The last leg of his journey to the house felt as though he was walking above the sand, not through it.
The scent of life greeted him at the gate, alivening his recently deceased senses, and he smiled. Noel must be close.
He didn’t not wait to peruse the garden, for being so close to Noel he feared more than ever that he might just slide away.
The coolness of the house assaulted him and took his breath for a moment. He paused to acquiesce before passing through the hall into the kitchen, whose shadows were deepened in contrast to the blazing sand beyond the window. His eyes took a moment to adjust, spots of purple and yellow obscuring them.
As his vision settled, his other senses became aware of other changes too; the faint sound of lapping water and a distinctly fishy smell.
It’s source was soon found.
Before him, overflowing gently, lay the sink; full of fishes. And standing beside this oddity was a large glass tank of water, mostly obscured by a black, writhing mass within it.
The voice shocked and shook him.
Noel was standing in the doorway behind him, donning just a pair of boxers, scratching away at himself.
“Noel! I came to-“
But Liam was interrupted by Noel who was addressing his boxers.
“What’s the story, morning glory,” he said and then passed by Liam into the kitchen.
“Noel,” Liam restarted, “I need to apologise. I’m sorry for my big mouth, I shouldn’t have said anything!”
Noel threw a hand up to dismiss him.
“Stop crying your heart out,” he said gruffly, “I’ve a raging hangover. D’ya know, I think I recognise your face…”
Noel peered closer at him and Liam realised that it wasn’t a hangover; Noel was still drunk.
“You’re drunk, aren’t you?” He asked exasperatedly.
“I’m a champagne supernova, my friend. Ah take that look from off your face Liam! I’m fine.”
“You’re a mess!” Liam cried, “you need proper help, that’s why I’m here! The wheels of your life are slowly falling off, we need to get you back on the wagon!”
Noel tutted mockingly and wagged a finger. “I’m not going to live forever. So I’m going to live happy.”
“What’s with the fish in the sink and – and that thing?” Liam asked pointing at the black mass, still twisting and writhing around.
Noel shrugged and turned to follow the finger.
“Oh, the eel? You didn’t touch her, did you? She’s electric.”
Then he chuckled to himself.
Two strides brought him to the fridge door and with the flash of a chilled light, he held a beer in his hand. He offered it to Liam who shook his head.
“Whatever. Come on out to my garden,” he said before his first swig and the two passed back into the heat in silence.
“What do you think of it? It’s my pride and joy – growing a garden in the desert! Do you want to know how I did it?” Noel asked with giddy, drunken glee.
“Maybe,” started Liam before catching himself on, “I don’t really want to know how your garden grows Noel. I’m here to help, to bring you home, back round our way, to Colombia.”
“I don’t want to go home. It was my decision to walk away, why can’t you just roll with it?”
“You’re self-destructing, man, you need to come home, please.”
“I’m not coming home. I’m happy as long as there’s a bed beneath the stars that shine.”
“And what if all of the stars are fading away?” came Liam’s retort.
“I’m happy, man,” Noel said simply, “I never feel the pain of the morning rain here. Why can’t you stand by me? Nobody knows where I am. Nobody know the way it’s going to be. And I’m happy. D’ya know what I mean?”
“Definitely, maybe,” replied Liam.
The two stood looking at the oasis before them, stubborn in a restless peace.
Without another word they shook hands and parted, Noel remaining and Liam wandering.
And still to this day the oasis stands, at least in memory; a strand of green amongst the endless gold.