Shadows Don’t Have Shadows
Walking on the desolate beach at night, I found myself come across a man standing on a rock. The crescent moon cast on him a silvery gloom, only his silhouette visible from where i stood. The man stood absolutely still in the salty ocean breeze. Suddenly movement caught my eye. On looking closer I realized it was not him moving, but his shadow.
Despite the improbability of it, for some reason unknown I didn’t feel perturbed or even mildly curious. I kept looking at the dark shape on the ground moving while the man stood still. The shadow was dancing in a trance, almost drunkenly yet repeating the steps again and again, in a monotonous manner. Then the shadow stopped moving as abruptly as it had started.
Despite the darkness, somehow i could see the man smiling sadly, a pained smirk playing on his lips. He then looked up at the thin sliver of light in the cloudless sky and closed his eyes with hurtful slowness as a tear welled up in each.
The two glinting drops rolled down his cheeks, and just before dropping off the cleft of his chin, sparkled and reflected the moon’s light into my eyes. It was almost as if the tears looked at me and tried to pierce their way into my soul.
The tears slowly fell onto the ground, right in front of the still shadow but did not stop there. They rolled into it. The two drops of water slowly flowed to where the eyes of the shadow should have been, and then settled there giving the effect of a crying shadow.
For some reason my eyes became moist.
The man then opened his eyes, let out a mournful sigh and the breath came out in a raspy moan and froze in the frigid air. It was funny since I didn’t feel the cold. Then another thought struck me, why couldn’t i feel the breeze rising from the corpse of the calm ocean?
But I dismissed the thought, as something unusual happened.
The calm ocean suddenly turned violent. There was no change in the wind, no premonition, nothing to indicate an anomaly. But swells in the ocean rose swiftly and within no time a wall of water was moving towards the beach at a breakneck speed.
Strangely, despite my possessing the knowledge of my imminent death I stayed rooted to my place, devoid of any fear, just looking at the man who seemed as calm as his shadow.
Never did he twitch a finger, never did he blink an eye, as he watched the massive wall of water approaching him. His eyes were almost inviting it, calling upon his death. Then the wave crashed upon the beach engulfing everything in an explosion of salt water. When it was over, the sea returned to its placid repose. I was surprised as, though the water ate me up too, in its wrath, i was still standing on the beach at the same place.
What surprised me even more was that i was completely dry, no trace of the unexpected occurrence left on my body.
I looked up and realized that the man was gone. Vanished into the calm waters.
Strangely the entire beach was just as it was before, not a single grain of sand had moved from its place. It was almost as if the wave had never come, and as if the man never existed.
But then i realized how wrong i was.
The man had left behind a trace, a fragment of himself, a remnant to stand the test of eternity. His shadow.
His shadow was still there, looking forlorn without its possessor, with the two drops of water for eyes. But the shadow was crying. Though no water fell from its eyes, somehow, i felt as if it was crying.
But then i realized something i hadn’t noticed before. The moon didn’t cast a shadow of me on the pale sand. Its soft rays passed straight through me.
Then i realized it wasn’t the man’s shadow that was crying without tears, it was me.
Then the suddenly mist cleared and the veil lifted, and only one thought stayed in my head, the answer to the puzzle ;
Shadows don’t have shadows.