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“What is the meaning of life?” he inquired, out of the blue without any previous other deep question.

Angie – who for the last few hours was paying full attention to… dots, commas, corrections, rules of punctuation, similar repetitive corrections for almost the same words, and other changes that she had to implement with a zero percent margin of error – lost her concentration and as if she was waking up from a distant dream, didn’t know what to answer. She took a deep breath, looked at her watch and then decided to take a short break.

He must have been talking to her from that dating site for a while, at least 5 minutes, asking questions and thinking that Angie was reading and answering his questions. But Angie was somewhere else, concentrating on other things. When she read his last question, she put her articles aside, grabbed her glass of water and read the whole dialogue (or monologue) from the beginning. He made remarks like: “Who are you? you look strange” and “what are you doing? ” and when she disappeared, he inquired: “why are you scared?” followed by : “I like to hear from you more than to talk to you” and “I like to know how you think of life and what it means to you.”

The whole thing was awkward for Angie especially that she had given up on finding answers to these questions long time ago. It has been a while since she had found anyone who can actually have questions similar to her questions or can have answers to her questions. It has been a long time since she thought about any of these questions. She was convincing herself almost daily that her life, and especially her work, were nothing more than some shallow things that had no deep meaning. She used to think that some tasks were nothing more than gates for more deep inspirational important fulfilling things, but she seemed to be constantly lost in the maze of details that she could never cross any gates no matter how hollow or shallow it seemed. She used to feel that her life would be behind the gate but she was constantly in front of the gate staring at something that no one else seems to notice.

“What is the meaning of life?” the question kept coming back to Angie’s mind no matter how hard she tried to push it away or to bury it under other thoughts. “What does it mean to be alive?”

“To be alive…” Angie started “means nothing and everything”. “It is logical to think that your life starts the moment you take your first breath and that it ends the moment you take your last breath. But this is not what defines a life: life is not the number of breathes you take, it is the moments that take your breath away. One day, hopefully not very soon, after you die, your beloved ones will write on your stone tomb, the years that you came to this world. But those dates won’t define your life, they will only put a limit to it. Your life is what there is in between those two dates and it is a journey with ups and downs, with happiness and sadness, with days and nights, with days, weeks, months and years. Your life is an accumulation of seconds, which lead to minutes, which lead to hours, which lead to days and months and weeks and years. All those tiny bits make a lifetime. One of the most important questions that you’ll find yourself asking is: “what is the purpose of life?” All religions and philosophies are based on this one question. People have written books on this question. Others have lived their entire life trying to find the purpose of their lives or running away from their life purpose. Some want to believe that the purpose of life is to have faith. Others want to believe that the purpose of life resides in being a good believer in this or that religion. Others think that the purpose of life is to follow orders, religions, others, laws, priests, leaders, gurus, imams,… Some people think that life can’t make any sense without the existence of God. Others believe that life is about suffering, about being in pain, unhappy and sad. Some others, and I am one of those people, believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. How do we reach this happiness? by loving.”

Angie stopped, took a deep breath, the voices in her heads were racing with more questions that needed answer, some of them where: “How do we love? What do you mean by Love? What does happiness mean?” but Angie couldn’t answer any of these questions and she hoped that the young man wouldn’t ask them either.

And suddenly when she was about to return to her never ending articles, she remembered a chapter in one of the most beautiful books she had ever read: “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. She couldn’t remember exactly how the whole thing started but she only recalled the passage where the aviator who was lost alone in the desert and who had spent one exhausting night on the sand a thousand miles from any human habitation, was awakened at sunrise by an odd little voice that insisted that he draws him a sheep. 

(Thank you for reading. I love to hear from you. Please feel free to comment, share and like.)

By Zeina Gabriel.