Noah couldn’t help smiling when he saw the laptop in the abbot’s hand. He’d seen it before, but it was still funny to him. Surrounded by simplicity and unpretentiousness, this symbol of new technology looked extremely out of place.
When he saw the abbot’s expression, Noah’s smile faded. Something was going on and he had a feeling it wasn’t good.
“I need to show you something,” the abbot opened the lid, activated the laptop and then turned it around, so Noah could watch the screen.
He knew what he was watching immediately. This was Emily Stewart’s online paper. The headline made him narrow his eyes.
‘Vegas wedding eclipsed by kidnapping’
He swallowed, watching the picture of Luke and Reid, but before he could pull the laptop closer to read, the abbot closed the machine and moved it to the side.
“They got married?”
The abbot frowned a little. “Would you mind?”
Would he mind? To his own surprise, he slowly shook his head.
“No, I honestly don’t. I never expected Luke to marry in Vegas, though. I know he had this fantasy about a wedding at the Snyder pond, so Vegas is quite a leap from that. But I’m not surprised by the step itself. Luke always wanted a family of his own and now he has that. A marriage is a logical step for them, I guess.”
Noah sounded calm. He felt calm, too.
“But what’s the deal with the kidnapping? Who’s been kidnapped?”
The abbot opened the laptop again, to check the name.
“Oh no,” Noah paled. Not one of the kids!
“You know her?”
“I do,” Noah had to take a deep breath. “She’s Luke’s little sister.”
“That’s sad,” the abbot watched Noah’s response. “So in a way she was your sister for a while too.”
“She was,” Noah lowered his head. “As you know I grew up without siblings and Luke’s brothers and sisters showed me what I’d missed. They have this implicit solidarity. In whatever crisis life puts them, they are always there for each other.”
“Did you keep in touch after you broke up with Luke?”
Noah shrugged. “Not really.” He remembered some specific situations and shook his head. “I didn’t handle that very well. I tried to interrogate them, basically. About Luke and Reid. Man, I was so messed up.”
“You were lost,” the abbot smiled. He did that a lot, lately.
“Yeah. This family had taken me in and I took it for granted. I wish I could tell them I’m sorry.”
“Who’s stopping you?”
“Luke’s grandmother,” Noah shrugged again. “She made it very clear never to contact the family ever again.”
“I see,” the abbot played with a pen. “I assume she had her reasons.”
“I’ve told you what I did. So yes, she has her reasons.”
Again the abbot smiled.
“Maybe she’ll change her mind one day.”
“Lucinda Walsh?” Noah rolled his eyes. “I don’t think so.” He looked out of the window for a moment, his thoughts in Vegas.
“I hope she’s okay,” he murmured. “Natalie, I mean. I can only imagine how devastated the whole family is.”
His concern was obviously genuine and made the abbot nod. They had made some great progress.
“You’ve come a long way, Noah,” the older man concluded.
“I know. I’m starting to recognize myself again,” Noah grinned. “It’s scary to discover how you can lose sight of yourself.”
“It is,” the abbot agreed. “But at least now you understand what made you go astray.”
“True. You’ve given me some important tools to work with.”
“I’m glad,” the abbot nodded, “because that’s all it takes. To be aware of your intentions. That’s our compass.”
Noah decided to test the water.
“And what if that compass points outside this monastery?”
“Then you can go. And yes, I think that moment is close. But don’t rush it. Focusing on leaving is focusing on the end result. You’re here for a reason. You were lost. Do you even know where to go, when you’re stepping outside?”
Noah nodded. “I’m gonna give my dream another try. I feel I gave up way too soon. I got discouraged by all the frustrated actors and directors in LA. Their stories…it’s like you said…every situation can be inspirational or destructive. It’s not the situation that decides that, it’s the way I handle that situation that decides that. So I let their stories be destructive, but now I’m ready to turn them into inspiration. They showed me what to watch out for. This business can destroy you, if you take it personal.”
Noah’s eyes started to glimmer and it made the abbot open a drawer and pull out a mirror. When Noah saw his own reflection, he smiled.
“This is what passion looks like, Noah,” the abbot said. “Hold that image as a guide line. Hold this feeling as your standard. You won’t feel like this every second of the day. That’s not what it’s about. Just know that passion is in you. You don’t have to go and search for it. It’s here. And if you want to experience it, act from it. Focus on inspiration. Focus on doing what you love to do, without worrying about what others might think.”
Noah felt a pleasant tingling in his chest. Yes, he knew what he loved. And he was good at it too. Somehow he’d let others distract him from what was really important. His life had turned into a power struggle, where he needed to prove himself. As a man, as a film maker, as a lover, as a friend. He knew he messed up on all fronts, but he’d also learned that holding onto the past, would only pollute his future.
“Thank you. For everything,” Noah pointed at the closed laptop. “It’s good to know Luke is happy and I’ll use it as an inspiration. I know that kind of love is out there for me too. Not sure about the gender, but that’s irrelevant.”
“Ah,” the abbot grinned, “so you have been listening.”
They both laughed.
“You’ve changed my life,” Noah said, suddenly all serious.
“No Noah. You did.” The man tapped on his laptop, “And to prevent any misunderstandings…I know the article showed a picture of Reid and Luke, but they were not the ones getting married. One Holden and Molly did. Do you know them?”
“Really? Holden and Molly?” Noah chuckled. “I kinda feel relieved.”
When he saw the look in the abbot’s eyes, Noah hurried to continue. “I’m glad Luke didn’t settle for a Vegas wedding after all, I mean. I hope he’ll get his dream wedding one day. I truly do.”
“Even knowing you won’t be a part of it?”
That question made Noah frown for a moment.
“I know you’re right, but it’s weird to think about it. Somehow Luke still feels like my best friend and the thought of him getting married without me present… it makes me sad. Makes me realize how much I’ve ruined.” Noah sighed. “If only I had you in my life earlier…”
“I’m in your life now,” the abbot smiled. “And the timing is always perfect. Remember that. If I’d been in your life earlier, you wouldn’t have experienced what you’ve experienced. And you probably think you would have been better off, but I disagree. You needed this experience as building blocks. If you would never be able to fall down, you’d never know what it feels like to stand up.”
Big Thanks To Lorraine, for brushing up my grammar