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A City in the Desert

searching for truths

By lucyjbPublished 3 months ago 5 min read
A City in the Desert
Photo by Sara Bakhshi on Unsplash

There are so many things I want to tell you, but I am running out of steps and the time between them will never be enough.

So I suppose I should begin. I don't know where to start.


There is a city in the desert, or I should say, there was a city in the desert, that's what they always said. We don't think about it, the lifetime of a city; it is so long, enough to outlive us, so we miss the lifetimes happening around us, the rise and fall of the things we have made in our own physical world.

They take on a life of their own after a while, as so many things will, and once the memory of the original has faded, it will be gone forever, replaced by new ways to rise and new ways to fall, by alleys forgotten and doors that lead to nowhere. This is where the truth is lost, and it is sad, to loose that truth, but I have found that in there is something beautiful about not knowing, a solidarity in all of us, that we will never truly understand the past.

Our story begins with those truths, or, we like to think it does; imagine, if we have been chasing a trick of the past, all this time. It is almost funny. Still, chasing truths, I suppose we shouldn't be surprised when we find them, even when they are no what we hoped they would be.

I am distracting myself. I apologize. I think that my passion outwits my sense of urgency but I will try, now, to tell my story as quickly as possible, because I am running out of time.


When a city dies, it happens slowly. It is walking a street that grows emptier and emptier with each step, it is looking for something that was not lost the day before. But for a whole city to be lost there are so many things that must end. Ending are sad, I know, losing things we once loved so deeply is always full of pain. Still, we cannot run from time and we shouldn't, because it will always run faster.

And so slowly things ended; the walls crumbled, hope of rebuilding slowly lost. The streets grow empty and the light turns to darkness and the earth claims its land back, taking the truths of the past with it.

Soon the maps will fail to mark it, and the generations will lose its name to folklore and mystery, but the stories, oh the stories this city will inspire, they will live forever, as stories so often do.

So I suppose it wasn't truth that I went chasing, and maybe it wasn't truth that I found, but what are we if not the stories we leave behind? Maybe there is no more to truth than that.

I am losing myself again, imagine that.


Still, I was chasing truth then. I suppose it is okay if I die here; when you have found all the answers you seek, what is there to chase next?

The townsfolk tell me it was a pointless search, that those who came back, a very select few, don't understand the things they have found, that they get lost in their madness in a way that they cannot come back from.

Would I risk my own mind to find these truths? They asked me so many times, everyone and everywhere.

In response I told them that to lose one’s mind in the pursuit of the world’s truths is better than losing it for nothing.

I think I still believe that.

Yes. To die for nothing, to lose one’s mind for nothing. I think that would be the worst thing of all.

Some called me foolish and some called me mad, still others thought me wise. Now I think that I am all of them at once.

And so I crossed their deserts, I let the sand burn beneath my feet and slept through the sweltering heat of each day, traveling through the coldest nights in search of truth, always truth.

The problem with getting what you want, with fulfilling dreams, is that there will always be some desire waiting to take its place. But when you dream of finding truths, every desire that comes after feels like a lie.


And so the desert had given me what I wanted. My truths were within reach, closer than I could ever have dreamed. Did I celebrate? Did I rejoice?

I think honesty is all that I have left, but my own truths will turn into lost stories someday, so maybe candor is unnecessary.

Shall I tell you that everything ended exactly as I wanted? I could. I could make myself into a hero returning victorious to all their naysayers. In this moment, the truth ceases to matter because it is only the things I say and the time that twists them, and neither can match the other.

Still, it is truths that I sought and so I will assume that you seek the same, and in respect for our mutual wanderlust, our quest for truth, I will give you my own as best I can.


It felt like I was dreaming, like the world around me was so fragile and every simple movement might break it.

I pressed my head against a long forgotten forum, surrounded by columns of the past, their stories beneath my fingers, the city showed me its truths, tragic and terrible and beautiful, repeating itself, up and down, rise and


You wish to know the truths? Did you expect to learn them here? I suppose I am sorry to disappoint you. But when you learn them, I think you will thank me, because it is only in looking that you will find.

Was it worth it? They ask, to lose your mind?

I hold the sand and it spills through my fingers.

I understand the world.

The truth? Well. It was worth it.

Engulfed in the desert's parched silence, I was nothing but another grain of sand in the wind.


About the Creator


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  • L.C. Schäfer3 months ago

    what are we if not the stories we leave behind? I love that.

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