Chapter 10: Learning to Let Go

The doors of the convenience store slid open upon detecting her presence. As the two doors split apart, she was hit with a gentle breeze of a vermillion shaded afternoon. With her shoulders slumped in fatigue, she walked out and looked around in desperation. Just let me get home into my comfy couch and a nice cool can of beer in my hand. As the orange hair strands danced wildly in the breeze she noticed the weather becoming slightly chillier lately.

You know, sometimes I really do worry about you and your drinking habits, Epsilon noted as he weighed the six-pack she just bought. Carolina looked up in irritation like a child being told to do their chores much to their annoyance by others. "Once in a while is fine."

More like every night in your case. At this rate you will start collecting fat in places you want to avoid. Epsilon let out a small chuckle greatly annoying Carolina. A vein popped up in her forehead and her whole body trembled with embarrassment. "And what's wrong with that?! I am an adult and as such I can drink every night if I want to!"

Huh, are you sure you are an adult sis?

"Whatever, not listening any more la la la…," Carolina suddenly stopped in her tracks to notice a most curious figure sitting by the riverside. I didn't think we would come across something like this, Epsilon was equally surprised as he tried to make sense of this. On the pavement by the riverside sat a bald man who could be no older than perhaps two to three years from Carolina. He fashioned a most distinctive piece of clothing compared to those around him. From the way he sat, the way his aura was so calm and peaceful alongside this sense of inner peace he looked like a monk.

"Um excuse me," Carolina called out to the man who gently opened his eyes and looked back. With a welcoming smile he motioned for her to get closer. "Good afternoon miss."

Carolina returned the greeting and followed the monk's gaze towards the clouds. "Do you like clouds?"

"I love the vermillion shaded clouds. They are most beautiful at this hour in my eyes. Plus this time of the day is perfect for outdoor meditation. This spot also provides me with a great view for when I open my eyes."

Carolina did her best to follow the monk's passion filled words. He must really love being a monk. "Say, winter will be coming soon. The breeze today is already a little colder than it was yesterday. Aren't you cold in just your current clothes?"

The monk returned his gaze down to the pavement and closed his eyes. He did not seemed bothered in the slightest compared to Carolina who was beginning to fidget in her spot to warm herself up. The monk once again smiled her way with an appreciation for her enthusiasm in their conversation. "I don't mind. With patience and perseverance, anything is possible."

Her mouth dropped slightly at his words. With patience and perseverance huh, you make it sound so easy and yet life constantly keeps on throwing new obstacles my way every day. Carolina turned her attention towards the river and let out a tired sigh. "It must be nice to lead a simple life."

"My life is by no means simple," the monk broke his meditative pose and rested his hands between his legs. He looked at the glimmers on the river having lost his worm smile in favor of a complete tranquil expression for a moment. "But, I wouldn't trade it for anything else."

"I suppose that is true if you love what you are doing. So, are you part of any monasteries in the city?"

"No," he shook his head and looked back towards the city with a most curious smile on his face. "I was surprised to see that this city doesn't have any temples or anything, just a few churches. But I suppose that is to be expected considering how weak the need for religion and spiritual enlightenment has gotten on Earth. I am actually from somewhere far away. I am on a journey I suppose you could say. My masters suggested that I take this journey to learn as much as I can about the world to better appreciate their teachings and the enlightenment we obtain because of said teachings. I suppose another purpose of my journey is to be able to help those looking for it to the best of my abilities."

"Journey," Carolina smiled his way causing the monk to tilt his head in curiosity. She looked down towards her bag and said. "I am on a journey as well."

"Ah, a fellow traveller," the monk clapped his hand with much enthusiasm. "So, what sort of journey is it that you have embarked on?"

"I don't know," Carolina's eyes glimmered in sadness as she continued. "But I know that I want to learn to let go of so many things in my past on this journey, so many sad and bad things. The main thing I want to let go of is hate."

"Ah hate, what a tricky emotion that is," the monk lowered his head in deep thought as if to collect his wisdom for her. "It is a primal emotion that could be said to be instilled into most sentient life in one way or another. But it should be appreciated for what it is. Everything in this world exists for a reason."

"How can someone appreciate hatred?"

"You can appreciate it because when applied correctly in self-defense situations, it can help sustain you and your life," the monk's face darkened slightly at the words to follow. "But, when used against others for malicious intent, it can be quite saddening to see. Such sights bring nothing but heartache to everyone in the world further pushing us away from world peace."

"Yes, you are right," she nodded her head harder the more she thought about it. "But hate is such a widespread issue. It is no longer just Earth, but everywhere people go. Because of that, I have seen some terrible acts of hatred, greed and corruption. There have been wars sometimes purely fueled on hatred."

"Yes, you are right. As long as these primal emotions in people exist, we can probably never rid ourselves of hate. There will always be someone to pull the trigger first sadly. I suppose it is for this reason that the monks choose to segregate themselves into isolation from human society. In essence, we choose to become hermits."

Carolina grinned his way thanking him for the interesting knowledge. "So then maybe you can answer my next question. What would the monks say about a method to letting go of hate?"

"Letting go of hate?" the monk rested his chin in deep contemplation in one hand. She could tell that her question had him stumped. But even so, the monk persevered and found his answer to share with her. "Please keep in mind that this is my own answer based on my outlook on the world. It may not necessarily agree with yours. I think that to let go of hate, we have to overpower it with another primal emotion like love."

"What if there is no one in your life that you could claim to be a lover of sorts?"

"Ah, that's not what I meant," the monk shook his head immediately rectifying her thought process. "What I mean by love is to be able to love all life in general regardless of their size or significance in your perspective. To be able to love all life equally is perhaps the greatest gift one could give to this universe."

His words hit her like a speeding bus. The realization was strong within the truth behind his words. The revelation unfolded itself in her mind. The monk could see from her visibly shocked yet curious expression that his words made an impact. "Just do your best to simply smile and not think too much about this. Instead of hatred, focus on the present and all the good it has to offer. Focus on the good in your life and the rest will naturally follow."

He is right, she calmed her expression and looked down at the water. I can't believe that such a simple little thing, an answer I already knew about is something I would come to agree with coming from another person's mouth. Was I hoping for something fancy for an answer? But if he is right, then he is right. She stood up straight and turned towards the monk. She gently bowed her head out of respect for his wisdom. "Thank you for your time and kind help."

"No need to thank me," the monk raised his hand in a humble gesture. "If I can help even one person on this journey, then I will be fully content to have come here."

Carolina smiled and nodded her head. "Thank you, and best of luck for your journey."

"Same to you, may our paths cross again. It was interesting chatting with you."

She thanked him again before running off in the direction of the city railway system. Slow down, what's gotten into you? Epsilon was very confused as to what prompted Carolina to behave like this. Running up the steps, with every clack of her heels she reached the top. She bought a ticket and observed the slightly occupied station. Not too busy at this time of the day? I suppose rush hour is over. That makes it all the more better.

Seriously sis, what is going on?

"I'm going to do exactly as that monk instructed. I'm going to stop thinking too much about things and do what makes me happy. I am going to go on a small adventure."

Right now? Epsilon was surprised to hear such brashness in her voice. But at the same time he didn't mind it, but instead loved these somewhat sporadic moments she had. Carolina observed the train pulling up to the station and the doors opened inviting her in. "No better time than the present."

The doors slowly and gently closed behind her indicating the train's departure. Epsilon now interested in the idea curiously asked, how far are we going? Carolina strolled through the compartment finding the perfect spot. She set her bags down on the seat opposite to her and sat down with one elbow on the window sill, and her check resting gently on her fist. "How about the other end of the city?"

Sounds good, let's make this an adventure to remember!

A carefree smile paints itself onto her face. She watches the city landscape pass by on the huge window. The vermillion sky sends the shivers of warmth into her body. The train speeds through the air like a weightless snake, one that has grown so light that it has grown wings. The people she saw, the cars she came across and the wonderful architecture that imprinted itself onto her memories instilled a certain beauty observable onto her face. Even those around her begun to partake in the sightseeing out of interest and were met with a satisfaction like none other. It really was sometimes the simple things in life that made the days fun.

She stood up and felt the vibrations of the train beneath her giving her a childish sense of enjoyment. The same enjoyment she once received as a child riding the train for the first time. As the station neared, she pulled up her bags to her wrist and exited to greet the fresh air. In the distance was a beach, and suddenly an adventurous sense further struck her. Rushing down the stairs, past the crossings and the entrance way she finally made it to the beautiful view that caught her sight on the station.

She gently walked in the uneven sand with a gentle breeze blowing her way. It set the perfect mood for a calming evening. The golden hour of the sky, the happy voices of kids playing in the water and pure bliss all around, this was the peace Carolina sought. I finally now understand why I was so frustrated with my hatred. I had the answer all along, but I was suppressing it. Maybe I just needed his wisdom to help me along and accept the answer.

Her smile grew from one ear to the other as she cleared a few strains of hair in her vision. It really was an amazing thing at what chance encounters could bring to us in our lives. It can bring good things, bad things and sometimes it can be completely indifferent to us. But as those with the intelligence, I suppose it is our task to interpret it the best possible way we can. I promise, I promise here and now to smile more and to suppress the usage of hate as best as possible in my life. I want to let the hatred go and fill that spot with deep rooted seeds of love. I want to be free.

Carolina stopped in her tracks and let the bag hang in her hands behind her back. She stared up from the orange tinted ocean to the golden skies and breathed in the fresh air. She nodded her head in determination, her goal was set and she was prepared to take the steps towards the goal. I have to move on. I have to let go. I have to be free. I will be free.

A/N: Remember what I said about musical suggestions that I may give so that you can listen to it in the background while imagining the scene play out in your heads? Well here is one for you.

Music: "Goodbye" by Nurko

Start playing it from the second last break line (from the moment she is on the train).

Thank you for reading. Hope you enjoyed that chapter!

This was one of the chapters/scenes I had in mind when I first started drafting ideas for this new trilogy. Constructive feedback is always appreciated. I hope to see you back here again in the next chapter!

~ Monty