A city is only truly a city when both the sinner and the believer walk its cobblestoned streets. From opposite directions they approach, they greet one another. And in doing so they recognize something familiar in each other’s faces. “Perhaps,” the City howled through its narrow streets, “all this time, you’ve been walking in each others footsteps.”
“No way,” said the believer, “how dare you compare me to that disgusting lowlife? He gambled all his fortunes, chasing fortunes in the sky. Drank all his sorrows, and his loved ones he drowned. He lied the truth out of people, stole from the thieves, and cheated the Devil himself. They even say he killed a man, just to watch him bleed! I’m nothing like that monster.”
And the sinner, too, was not happy. “How can you see us as equals?” said he, “may the black wind blind your cobblestones.” For a man curled into a ball, ailing from his greatest fall, the pain becomes unbearable when others jest with his misfortunes and remind him of the perfection of others. Great loss needs no reminders.
And the City, like a city, tells it all. The believer sins, blinded by his constant prayers. The sinner believes that perhaps his occasional good deed might get him all the extra points needed to reach that special place. The same place for which the believer abandoned everything and everyone in its pursuit. He gambled his fortunes to reach it, yet it is still so out of reach.
“It just ain’t so,” said the sinner, and the believer immediately joined him in agreement that nothing could bring their opposite natures together except for this very united disagreement.
“True,” the city replied, “nothing binds you together, except for the all-consuming passions that lead your lives.”
And the City, like a city, knows it all. For, it was its narrow streets that from the same shape molded them both, to seek redemption, to walk the same steps in opposite directions, like two images on opposite sides of a mirror.
And in their pursuits — both sinful and devotional — they forget and abandon everyone, blinded by their passion for their obsessions. A city that is truly a city, makes you into both a sinner and a believer.
Feature image: Majlinda Hoxha / K2.0.