I looked up. The sheer vastness of it was enough to make a man feel worthless. As I peered toward the heavens, shading my eyes from the sun, I could see no end. Nothing this big has ever been accredited to man, I thought. Where was the creator, the master, the designer of this marvel? It occurred to me that perhaps this wasn’t a deserted island after all.

I thought back to the first day I had set foot upon this bare rock in the middle of the sea. The circumstances surrounding my arrival could be described as strange at best. I remember the note I received as if it had been branded on the back of my hand at birth:

Dear Mr. Geary,           
Your presence is requested at the 4th dock of
Stony Harbor. It would be an honor if you were to be found there at midnight on the day of this year’s first eclipse. To bring along a rose would be an excellent idea.
Harvey Sellers

It had seemed such an odd request; a bit too proper. And “bring along a rose”? But I had followed it to the letter, and now this. Yet, as depressing as the situation might seem, I didn’t take it badly as one would expect. I felt a kind of peace about everything, like it had been planned from the beginning to end with a sort of benevolence towards me. It’s strange how our feelings can throw us for a loop sometimes.

I sat down in the sand and contemplated this monument to greatness for a while. When the sun was directly overhead and I started to feel the beginnings of sunburn, I decided to head back to the makeshift shelter I had created. It was across the island on the East side and I wondered on my way back: Why hadn’t I been able to see this from the other side? Where was its shadow when the sun set? I didn’t know it at the time, but my questions would never be answered.

I awoke and set on my journey to the base of what I assumed was a statue of some sort. Today is the day you’re gonna walk around that thing, I thought to myself. When I got there, I took a quick drink from a spring in a quiet grove of palm trees near the path. I saw the slightest hint of brilliant red in the corner of my eye, and meandered to the other side of the stream. As I got closer, I realized what I was looking at was a rose bush with a single red rose curling up from its stem towards the sky. I thought back to the letter I received: “To bring along a rose would be an excellent idea” With no further ponderance whatsoever, I nonchalantly separated the rose from its source and went on to the statue. 
            As had become my personal custom over the last three days, I approached the monument with enthusiasm. I began walking along the edge with my hand pressed against the side, feeling every bit of texture, every rough spot. Since the day was already halfway gone, I commenced my journey as soon as possible. I had only one thought in mind…to reach my starting point after circling the monument. 

           I’d gotten the idea in my head that the monument had a base of a large cylinder, but when my breath got shorter, along with my steps, I took a break. My stop only served to reveal to me that the monument wasn’t a circle; the wall ran straight as far as I could see.

It had been days since the beginning of my “short walk around the base”. It seemed to go on forever, and I was growing weary. My pace had slowed to a dull trod when I saw it. That brilliant flash of red again, almost too brilliant after days of looking at a sheer gray wall. As I peered through the trees with a detached sense of curiosity, I felt almost called to pursue it. But when I stumbled towards it, dropping the dead petals of the last flower, I felt the jungle floor reach up and consume my legs. Water! It felt like years since I’d had the glory of a simple gulp of water. I inhaled as much as I could, as though the world would steal it from me at any second. When at last I felt satisfied, like I had gotten my fill, I pressed on, rose in hand. With a renewed vigor and resurrected sense of adventure, my fingers once again strayed to the glossiness of the monument.
When the end arrived, I was caught unaware. Comfortable with my goal, I trudged along the jungle floor without the thought of ever reaching its end. But the time had come at last, and were it not for the tiredness of my muscles, I would have leapt into the air. I saw the corner from a distance and almost ran to it’s end.


Be Loved,

The Jack of Hearts