What Is Life


“Is this life?” Frida asked. The stars above the couple extended into the horizon. They were plainly visible everywhere except for the space directly above them; the pair was under a vault of palm leaves, which swayed slightly in the sea breeze, a sweet-smelling breeze that was neither warm nor cold that night.

Her companion was not ready. Silas needed clarification: “This what?” He asked.

Frida sighed and gave the wineskin another go. A drop of wine almost as red as her long, wavy hair streamed down her chin. Then the warrior offered the drink to her mate.

Silas accepted, and Frida watched him drink.

He was so different from her. He didn’t swallow the wine with passion, wouldn’t let it drip down his chin and cascade down his throat. No – he smelled, that was how the analysis began. Then – she knew, they had been together for so long – he would catch it in his mouth and not swallow it immediately, but would bathe his tongue, slosh it in his mouth. That was what Silas did: explore, understand, catalog, explain. That was who he was.

And her?

She saw, she decided, planned, fought, conquered. That was who she was.

Frida let out another sigh.

“It’s part of it, no doubt.” Said Silas.

“Meaning?!”

“It’s the valley, isn’t it? We have everything we could ever want right here right now. It’s a moment when there’s nothing left to want. It’s a moment that’s eternal. But the value of the valley comes from the mountains – from the climbs, from the struggles, from the conquests. Everything we could ever want, we have right now, but we were not made for this moment. We were made to be in motion, not for eternity. “

Frida looked at Silas’s round face, at his short black hair that shone with the reflected moonbeams, at the remnants of his badly shaven beard. And she smiled her wicked smile.

“You, fights and conquests? Your fights are fought between scrolls, and your conquests sealed with the pen. Where is this movement you speak of? Your life could be this.”

Silas returned the look, and the smile.

“But Frida, I have yours.”

The warrior leaned her head against Silas’s shoulder and stared at the reflection of the moon in the ocean.

The valleys and the mountains, she thought. Yes, life is this. It is neither one thing nor the other. It is the movement from one to the other. I will not fear the mountains, nor will I miss the valleys left behind. We will always have the movement, it is in the movement that we find eternity.