Over there in the distance there was that guy again walking just beyond the spot where the trees end. You know, next to old cabin which has been falling apart ever since anyone can remember. When my father was alive he had told me on several occasions about seeing what I was seeing at that exact moment, except that time and reality had been changed ever so slightly. As if I were somehow expected not to notice the change, which I knew would happen anyway.
Category: Short fiction
His claims that he was getting closer and closer to the truth were wearing on me more quickly that I had expected. When I compared his situation with the past, it did not seem to me that he had gotten any nearer to the supposed goal he was pursuing. In fact, compared with that very same period long ago, one could honestly say that he had actually distanced himself sufficiently in the completely opposite direction. Hard to believe but true. Blinded by these claims of getting closer and closer, he had unknowingly made an unintentional about-face and was headed in the wrong way. He had missed his objective by a mile, skirted off of it, and flung himself away without even realizing it. Like a truck driver rumbling all his tonnage over a poor passerby without even noticing the slight bump in the road which indicated quite subtly the crushed bones and flattened skull. I felt uncomfortable in this awkward situation, for it was up to me to set him straight or else. As a friend and close companion, my duty spoke to me and now was the time. What made it even more difficult was that by approaching him honestly with this uncalled for predicament, I was risking our longterm relationship in a way that made me hesitate yet another day. The days would pass and then I would feel more and more pressured to speak. But for now, a balanced and honest silence was the better path to take.
Alright so this guy got up and came right over to where I was sitting, right where I am sitting now, this place here.
He looked like he was pretty spaced out, but the truth of the matter was that he was not.
At first he just kind of stared at me and said nothing, but then again I knew that he was thinking about one thing or another, like always.
That was when I recognized his cap, you know, the one that looked all the time like it was about to fall off but never did.
This guy raised his hand, he opened up his hand so that I could see his palm as clearly as could be, although it was kind of getting dark.
This is your future, he told me.
--- My future? ---
Yes, this is your future. Whether you believe it or not.
He moved his hand just a little bit closer, but not quite close enough that I could examine the palm very well.
--- Cough, sigh and whatever. ---
He paused and then went on. If you are not careful, he continued, this is what can happen to it. Your future.
The guy with the cap that looked like it was glued to his forehead closed his hand into a tight fist.
--- My future? ---
Too bad he died the other day.
Let's just say that he could not stop shaking his head back and forth when he heard the news. Again, the same old news. He took to the corner and sat down on the nearest chair, somewhat precluded by the shadow that was not there. They must have told him that a thousand times by now, so it was certainly nothing new. Even though they kept on insisting, he knew they were wrong and that there was a better way.
You see, if it is such a vital part of his personality, one of the core aspects of development, a stage he still has to go through, then why should they expect him to have to get rid of it? Before it even happened? As if ripping out some vital organ because it was not functioning properly could ever be the cure to all his problems. Shame on them for thinking that. Shame on them trying to make him think that also.
Yet every single time he went back they said that he would seriously have to consider removing it completely from his psyche. Rip it out, so to say. Strange how much they insisted, almost as if they were sincerely afraid of the consequences. The so-called consequences to him, to his surrounding, to the things that were and were not there, whatever.
He knew better than that, but he also knew that they would never change their minds. Professionals, well educated and stubborn. Thinking that they knew it better. So he had a plan, and it was a very ingenious scheme, he had to admit even to himself. Not that he liked to brag. Chuckling quietly to himself, he thought out this plan one more time. It would be the very last time. The final reckoning, just like some film that was about to be released for the very first time, a premier. Sitting there on his chair in the corner, he knew that it was high time for action.
And this is what he had in mind. You see, since he could not extricate this core nucleus of his being and survive, it would be necessary to repackage it into another form. The essence would remain the same, but the outer shell would be changed in order for the concealment to work. He compared it to taking a small and invaluable gift, putting it in a differently shaped box, and then to convince them even more, re-wrapping all of it in a completely new and improved wrapping paper. A repackaged deal, what a discount! Fantastic! Forget about the ribbon, that would only give it all away in the end.
So that is exactly what he did. In the end.
That afternoon when they found him lying outside on the ground right in front of the river flowing by, he looked very, very peaceful. Oh dear, what had happened now? Was it our fault? They tried to wake him up, but at first he remained motionless, nothing happened. Finally, he opened his eyes and smiled up at them. Just a bunch of shadows surrounding him and asking all these questions. Questions, questions and even more questions. Never any answers.
He got up and brushed the dust and blades of grass from his pants. He ran his fingers through his hair and readjusted his cap which had slipped ever so slightly over his left ear curling it down. Then he went on and on about how it had been extricated. Yes it had. How it had disappeared with ease, so surprisingly fast. He felt better, and they could see that also. They had never seen him smile like this before. He's cured, he must be cured!
Little did they know that the form, the thing, the core of his inner being, the glob of hardened clay, that corner of the shadow over in the far distance, was still there. In the same place, in the same dimension of time, but it had taken on a new and pleasing form which concealed itself quite nicely. Concealed and yet ever present, if they looked.
They also felt happy for him as he walked away in the distance. They were relieved they would not have to continue repeating the same thing to him over and over again. Save some money, a fine discount indeed!
The man thought some more, turned the corner and went his merry way. No longer would he have to try and save this part of him from being taken away.
The true reason that he had entered the church in the first place was not very clear to him, only that in the end he had chosen to turn right rather than left which is what he had always done. Until this moment in his life at least.
Inside it was rather dark and smelled somewhat of stagnant water which had been dripping on the stone slabs below him for ages and even longer. The slabs were in fact markings of fine folks of days past with an inscription about this and that and some numerals etched in at the very center above the very same cross of death. There was not a single person in the whole place, although if he listened very very carefully he could discern distant steps from another day or a hidden whisper over there around the corner or something else which at the moment he could not quite make out.
Some beams of sunlight shone in through the variegated shards of glass, and there was this shadow of a flying creature which glinted from left to right with an amazing sense of grace that was unfamiliar to him. At least not until this moment in his life. There it went never to be seen again.
Because there was this slight heaviness pressing down on his shoulders, he took a seat at the very front which in his mind had been reserved for him since the day he was born. There was indeed a sense of urgency to it all and he could do nothing less the follow this feeling. In order to get there he had to cross the center aisle which meant that if he were not to anger that fire-breathing god over there behind the altar he would have to kneel and cross himself. No way that they are going to make me do that he mumbled to himself, but he did it anyway just in case.
Time passed by, perhaps an hour or even more, and it started to get dark.
After sitting there for just under two hours, just thinking and looking around and meditating a little, he knew that it was time to go. But he also knew that he would never ever be returning to this place again, at least not until this kind of moment occurred in his life once more, just once more. Virtually impossible but still ever so slightly possible nonetheless. The time would be different and he would not be exactly the same, but surely he could do something about it if he really wanted to.
He stood up and spun around slowly on his right heal. Someone could throw an awful spear at him from behind and it would pierce his chest from the back through his heart and out the front of his sternum, blood splattered all over the place. He walked backwards for fear of being struck down if he were not careful enough all the way to the rear until his back scraped against the wooden door which was not only meant to keep people out but to keep everyone inside as well.
The big iron ring was cold to the touch and he pulled it open and continued outside.
Back to the same corner where earlier he had turned right he decided to turn left again as always. The sun was starting to shine and the glint off of the church windows caught his attention as he walked by this time on the other side. And when he finally got to where he was going, though he knew perfectly well that that could never really happen not in the strictest sense of well-being which each and everyone of us is familiar with, he rubbed his forehead with the back of his hand.
The same hand which now smelled like rusty metal from the door ring he had touched so nervously about thirty minutes before. Sweat and rust and ancient metal which in time had all melted together.
After some thought followed by a few fleeting random memories of dreams, he decided that yes it could be possible again much earlier than allowed. Say in a year or slightly more, but definitely not longer than that. Let's make it ten months just for the heck of it, he thought to himself. And then after that say nine months, and then eight and then so on and so on. Until there was no more time inbetween, no more time left to do what he was supposed to do, a sliver and then nothing at all, in a last burst of awareness that he knew would be coming sooner than he had hoped and expected.
Better start preparing myself now, he thought to himself, and then just for good measure wrote it down on a piece of paper.
Better start preparing myself, but not just yet.
When it was time to wake up again, he realized that almost everything around him had changed. Almost everything. The differences between the moment of going to sleep and the moment of awakening were barely discernible but they were there nonetheless. Subtle changes to the this and the that shifting and moving in a different time frame. Ascending and descending at the same time. Another dimension to explore. The long thin wire was still there for some reason, and the flow of electricity through it hummed in the distance. He could hear it very clearly. If he concentrated hard enough he could actually feel the slight heat as it flowed along. Something sliding and emanating and pulling him along further. They had told him earlier with a very convincing look that this was impossible, but he knew that this was not and could not be true. Even if their tones of voice then became louder and more threatening. Now if he could just do something about that wire then life would be so much easier. Wouldn't it? He knew that the wire had to remain in place lodged deep and unseen by anyone except himself. All he had to do was roll over pretending to himself that some day it would go away. That is what he did just before he stood up and walked over to the window. And what an amazing view it was that waited for him over there. Thanks to the wire that is. Thanks to the way he was thinking.
He regretted not having known about it earlier for it would have saved him much trouble and energy, making his life much easier than it had been. However, not until he had become older could he have known about it at all.
Not unless his mother had happened to have seen it, while giving him a bath as a baby, registering this unique object in her head, and remembering it for later to tell him when he was old enough to understand. Not what one could call a coincidence that the average mother would even notice. Nothing in comparison to the miracle child splashing water and giggling with untouched happiness. But this had never happened and unfortunately it was never meant to happen. His mother was not interested in seemingly trivial things like spots or beauty marks or other blemishes on his pristine body.
Strange how things turn out that way.
You see, his discovery was totally random and took place early one morning in the bathroom after having taken his daily shower. Seventy-four years and getting younger, he would tell everyone with a comical though somewhat cynical smirk on his face. He could have never seen it unless he had had the significant hair loss, the balding scalp to which until now he had never paid that much attention. As he bent down to apply the shaving cream to his face, the mark came to life in the random and unique way the light-rays from the row of lamps above fell upon the top of his scalp, scattered and reflected.
What is that?
Upon closer inspection and with the help of a second smaller mirror he could inspect it more closely. And what did he see? It was a small brown mole perfectly round and perfectly positioned at the top of his head. What was it doing there? And to think of the miracle of having this message from God positioned at the exact topmost point of his head pointing upwards and a perfectly round disc with a radius equal to one.
Upwards to heaven and a direct connection.
He decided to inspect the reality of the situation more closely, taking measurements, writing facts and values and correlations down on paper. And these were his conclusions. Yes, if he stood up straight, God's mole lay proudly at the topmost curvature, the very top, perpendicular and proud. In fact, placing a flat surface at the exact tangent of this point on the spherical surface resulted in a so-called vector.
An extension of his mind.
This vector pointed straight up, everywhere he walked, every day of his life, and it was a miracle no less. Straight up to heaven, his one and only connection, a channel through which to communicate, allowing the thoughts to enter and the resulting thoughts to emanate upwards again after they had been collected, processed and transformed.
A couple days after this wonderful discovery, the old man was getting used to the infinite possibilities that had been opened up to him, the new medium, the long-drawn thread of awareness strung tightly between the here and the now. At first he had to concentrate with all his energy, in order to aim and direct, as if this were necessary when it was not. He had four years to go, but he would make the best of it. Too bad he had found this out so late in his life, but that was the way it was meant to be. Might as well make the best of things now. See what he could get out of it these last few years, maybe even accelerate the path and go on more quickly.
This was indeed a gift from God, a unique and heavenly vector.
There are monkeys all over the place, and they are making a bunch of noise. Quite the party-makers they are. Have a look yourself and tell me what you think. Isn't it ironic how it is we who are behind the bars but do not realize it? The very first time that you told me about it, I refused to believe it. An emphatic no with my head shaking back and forth. The monkeys stopped for a second and watched me, imitating me with the same motion of their heads and a cackling sound to match. Just didn't make sense at all, and that was the period of my life when making sense of it all was the name of the game. A long period of denial (those monkeys are in the cage not us), followed by anger (those dirty bastard monkeys), followed by slow acceptance (yes but I guess it could possibly be true), and at last complete surrender (those monkeys are such beautiful creatures). You see, we have been torturing those innocent creatures for much too long and we must be taught a lesson. That is why you and I now find ourselves behind the bars. The law of retribution, no one will escape. Yes we are inside the cage, time to observe and learn from inferior beings with more soul-power than we can ever imagine. The bars are hard as steel and cold and there is nothing to do about it. Just sit back and wait for the next meal. You know, they are having a heck of a time, swinging and jumping and flying through the air never once colliding but instead slicing through upside-down water. Let's call it a day for now, sink back to where it is comfortable. Tomorrow is yet another day to watch all of the monkeys again and learn from them. Hopefully they will stop multiplying as quickly and stop growing before it is too late. What was it that you mentioned to me the other day? It was a deja vu within a deja vu. Yes, so you can remember the exact words? Alright, tell me them again and I shall gladly respond as spontaneously as I can. Go ahead and tell me. Pause. Pause and listen. Deja vu all over again.
This time when she woke up, she was not quite sure where she was, where she had been, nor from where she was coming. There is that moment of acclimation which gives the sleeper just enough time to come back, to reiterate, to reshuffle the confusion and try to make sense of it all. Most of the pieces fall together, but some do not. When her thoughts crystallized and finally became clear, she realized that she had been away again. It had happened for the third time that day, this last week with an increased frequency that was worrying her. Faster and faster like a blur appearing, that is what it seemed like. A little bit like dying a little again, and then at the very last minute being allowed to come back again. She found it confusing and did not dare tell anyone else about it. Just look at where she was at the moment! The last time she had confided this secret information, they just laughed and laughed and finally locked her up. At least they "tried" to lock her up. Surely it is a crazy world in which we live, but it was never meant to be like this, she thought and could not understand. The truth of the matter was that these excursions into the unknown did not happen during her sleep, that is not at night while she was lying in bed in deep slumber. No, they occurred completely randomly during the day, and only when it was light. Not even shadows were allowed. At the breakfast table, walking to school, running on the playground, sitting in front of the television, away from the shadows of the trees, not behind the lamp where there was no light. Whatever, so this is how it happened, she would think. Could not put it into words. Her physical body would just continue like an automated being while her mind went off elsewhere, some other doorway unseen but off to the side. The split was painless, like two clouds of nothingness blowing apart by a gentle breeze which forked. Time branched and she went this way while her body went that way. Out of the body to who knows where. This was not the usual day-dreaming episodes which are so typical of a young child of her age, bored in the classroom or just fantasizing games. It was something more serious, something much more magnificent than she could possibly explain. An amazing event, perhaps even a miracle. Often during the first few moments after the gentle split, there was a soft flash of electricity or the sound of static, like dry paper crackling. These were the warning signs, signals which she knew and she was always prepared to accept. Acceptance was the key, pure acceptance and surrender. Off she went, first to the side, then up high and then whisked away for good. Timelessness caught in the air, frozen ice cubes left behind on the table next to her chair. The chair creaked as that excess weight was lifted and the body stayed seated there. During the initial flight, she was always fully conscious, but when it was all over there was no recall at all. Just the feeling, an acute awareness of what had happened, but clearer than any physical thought could re-enact. At least not in the logical way where things make sense, and that is what got her locked up in the first place. They would never understand. And that was where she was now, the locked place of the now. She has been away again, so they were in the end unable to lock her up. Not even locked up in her body. Time crackled and then the flash and then the cycle continued. This time she decided that she would not come back. Not time to die but to live on and on. Not bad for an eight year old girl they would have to admit was right.
For some strange reason, the whirls and whorls below his bare feet were driving him completely crazy. Not as if he were forced to look at them and agree, because if he really wanted to, he could easily look the other way. No problem really or at least one might assume and hope. However, when he attempted to raise his head, turn his eyes and focus on some other inanimate object over in the far corner, some invisible attractive force pulled his view back down and "made" him look at the many whirls and whorls. Again and again, and they were moving he was sure. Mesmerized he saw movement whereas he knew that there was no movement at all. No way that that was possible but it was. And yet the intertwining shapes and patterns and convoluted curves were exactly the reason for his catatonic fascination. Let us just say that he would rather look at them than not at all, it had become an addiction of the mind. There was no inbetween, just extremes to be dealt with, a prison cell to get used to and make more comfortable than it was meant to be. The perseverance and dedication required would take nearly a whole lifetime, but in the end it would be more than worth it. He had been at it for some time, and it seemed like he was getting closer to the end, closer and closer as the time passed him by so swiftly. The hidden messages were meant to be unraveled, the mystery exposed, the answer acquired, and by gosh he would find a way to accomplish this undeserved miracle one way or the other. He was the chosen one. He knew it and I knew it but no one else did nor even cared. Look at all the other people in the room doing nothing, and to think that they too had the very same floor beneath their feet. Though not bare like his. I tapped him again on the right shoulder, this time a little harder than before. In order to wake him from his dream world. He did not budge or seem to notice or seem to care. So I did what I had to do. I purposely stood in front of him in order to obscure his view and hopefully jar him awake from this magnetic quality which had entrapped him. The prison cell which had to get used to. For a few seconds it seemed not to help, but at the exact moment when I was ready to give up all hope completely and leave him until the following day, he sighed ever so slightly while raising his head. "Alright, what is it this time?" he asked me with a robot-like aggravation and slow movements to match. I tried to explain it to him all over again, by now about the hundredth time, but he just did not ever seem to get it. "What do you mean exactly?" he asked. By now I had all but given up every tidbit of hope, but the fact that he had even ventured to pose this simple-mannered question was enough to make me think twice. Make a double-take. The people in the room noticed this and started to stare which gave me an uncomfortable feeling like they were a bunch of soulless fools waiting to pounce on us. And they were. I asked him if this time around he indeed really was interested to know and if he wanted me to show him the way, the one and only way. Not salvation, but a grand escape nonetheless. He spoke ever so softly, as if he were afraid that some passerby might happen to overhear our secret conversation, those other people in the room "You know how I feel about it." To be honest I didn't, but I nodded in affirmation just in case. "You do?!" Of course I did. This made him quiet again, and the silence lasted for some time longer. Perhaps five or ten or maybe even fifteen minutes. At the point when his vision became blurred and the mumbling sounds began, I stepped out of the way. It was time once more to allow the whirls and whorls to take over his life again. I would see him again in a couple of days and give it another try.
There were these two guys sitting in the back seat lost in esoteric discussion about this or that. Whether or not reality was really there or if it even mattered that much. Hard to say. The driver had his two hands firmly gripped on the steering wheel at ten to two. His hair was flying in the wind because the side window was rolled down. Wide open to all the noise and congestion and other myriad vibrations. The automobile hit a bump, but the conversation in the back continued undisturbed. The next turn was pretty sharp and the wheels screeched and the dust went flying, but the two pseudo-philosophers in the back seat just continued to chat and babble and say a million things while at the same time not saying that much really. Whether or not reality was really there and whether it mattered that much was the tone of voice which mimicked the vibrations outside. The driver turned left. He did not see it, but then again it was too late anyway. Abruptly in all of the excitement there was silence, after the huge crash of course. You see, the poor dog escaped unscathed with only a slight limp, but the large oak tree caught the philosophical discussion and the weary driver in its grip, splitting the car sideways and hurling the minds and bodies every which way. It did not matter any more whether or not what they were talking about was important or not. Strange how things can happen so unexpectedly this way or that. Reality was there just waiting for it all to happen.
She has had many previous lives, more than the average person, which is quite unusual for someone with her background and personality.
The facts did not match. The reality of the situation was not there. There must be an obvious reason for this, the so-called scientific investigator thought, but did not know what, did not have the slightest clue. He scribbled a couple words down in the little notebook he carried with him everywhere. Put it back in his shirt pocket for later reference. He would show it to her when he felt she was ready. Something to do with funneling and then collecting hidden energy to be directed towards a noble cause. The future towards which things moved. Something like that. However, she was focused on one of the most recent previous lives. Well, she was not quite sure if it was the most recent one or not, but that was not important for reasons all her own.
These were the words which stuck in the mind if one listened carefully. Old house. Dark. Mom. Waves, high waves crashing. Show or not to show. Never. Hurt, terrified, and fighting. Stupid, not stupid. Let's go.
The scene opens up somewhere in the Northern hemisphere, windy climate, dark winters. Warm house from within, happy family, activities and love. It is not she who is terrified and/or hurt, but those around her who she observes and for whom she feels much empathy. She is old and gray. She is some kind of community helper, a seer or maybe even a spiritual healer, someone important but not seen. This woman is a strong disbeliever in the current religious attitudes which she finds oppressive, impossible, not right, unnatural. Near to the water, perhaps even an ocean with waves upon a rocky shoreline. Rocks that can be climbed on scrambled across if one is willing to take the risk, of being swept out to sea by an unexpected wave crashing down. Or it could be that these victims had let it happen to them, on purpose. Sometimes storms, seagulls which scream, poor souls falling in the boiling waters of white foam. Farewell and see you in the next lifetime. The time frame would be 1100 AD give or take a hundred years, wouldn't it? Celtic? That stone figure over there seems to imply this.
She is a grandmother and had achieved much for a woman of that period. She is well respected by almost everyone in the community, but she still has too many hidden grievances. These nearly break her but not quite. Cuts and bruises that need to heal first. The dried remains of blood which has coagulated many years before. She regrets not having had the time nor the energy nor even the courage to do what she would have liked to have done. This was a shame, but needed and inspired all the same. Silence is better than nothing.
"How quickly the splinter of one's lifetime passes by and then it is almost too late, almost."
If that splinter falls into the water it will be swept away, that is for sure. If it becomes wedged somewhere within a crack or an elongated opening, then it will stay there on the rugged rocks for a long time, a very long time. Even the rocks have become wet with time and effort. In the long run, the splinter will become dislodged, somehow and some time. She knows it and the scientist knows it also. According to the complicated laws of the universe which can only be explained by esoteric and complicated mathematical formulae chalked endlessly on the blackboards which are longer than the horizon, this is so. This is so.
She believes in the afterlife and the ability to redeem, maybe even come back. Why anyone in their right mind would want to do that is beyond her and does not make sense. But it will come as it may, just accept it. The scientist who is checking this all out with his expensive metallic machinery is not quite sure yet what she has come back to finish, to redeem, but he has a strong inner feeling an intuition that it has alot to do with helping others. Gadgets galore to test his hypothesis. Oscilloscopes beep and produce ragged greenish lines vibrating. Nothing to do with the reality of the situation, but it can help nonetheless. That is what he has been taught. Lots and lots of energy and respect from others which she could easily use to her advantage, for the good of humanity. If only she could rekindle that energy she has collected during the most recent previous lives. It is all inside there somewhere.
One more thing. The so-called scientist has something interesting to say. An abrupt question to pose that may reveal some crook or cranny deep within. He says: "Have you ever looked at yourself in front of the mirror holding up a smaller mirror in front of you? There is an endless corridor of repeated reflections disappearing into the distance. You know what that is? It is infinity, but in reverse. This can be compared to the many previous lives you have had, all leading up to this very moment in time."
He takes the scribbled note out of his shirt pocket and hands it to her. She looks up as if she had been expecting this for a long time now. She reads the words which have been scribbled down with a nervous hand. High waves crashing down.
As it turned out, it was the wrong way to go. He should have known that well in advance, but he had not heeded to the warning signs way back there a couple of miles ago. Or was it ten, twenty, perhaps one hundred or more miles ago? Rather than turning back at this point, the more obvious thing to do was just sit down, think things out, and then when it started to get dark lie down and sleep. As if that could be possible at a time like this. There were a number of options, some better than others, but there was no option one could view as a clear winner above the rest. Soon enough he fell asleep after it became darker, and that night he had a dream, a very realistic dream. They had taken control of his brain stem, more specifically the area known as the medulla oblongata. You see there a number of natural processes which are controlled here. Breathing, the heart rate, swallowing, the startle response, sweating, blood pressure, digestion and bodily temperature. Things like that. Intertwined and elongated neurons which affect the level of alertness, the ability to sleep and the sense of balance. A very important part of the inner brain to say the least. For some unknown reason, they had implanted this alien object just below the auditory and visual reflex centers. When viewed on the x-ray it was a thin, metallic sliver of various colors. This was confusing to him to no end, but because he was sleeping they would not allow him to wake up when it was time to continue further. Actually the brain stem consists of the mid-brain, the pons, as well as the medulla which are all located deep in the posterior part of the brain. So who were they trying to kid anyway? Upon waking and when allowed, it was time to go. No more reason to think things out nor retrace the steps which had already been taken the day before. Just shake it off and continue onwards.
The very first time she saw one was when she was only three years old. In her memory it was still crystal clear as if it had happened just a few moments earlier. As she grew up, the visions became more regular until it became a daily occurrence. As the years passed by, they no longer came alone but appeared in groups, which became larger and larger. Until they were everywhere. First it was one ghost and now there were many. Of course, no one believed her, but she knew for sure that they were real. Real because their presence symbolized for her no lesser presence than all the other people around her. In fact, as she became older the ghosts actually became more real. More real than all of her friends and family put together. The so-called real people were no longer to be trusted. Their words no longer made any sense whatsoever. Sure the ghosts made sounds, and these sounds combined with her thoughts like different colors of paint coming together to produce the most amazing landscapes one could imagine. Other people tried to help her. They believed that she had been taken over by demons, that repressed childhood memories had swelled in her psyche to form massive psychoses, or that there was some slight chemical imbalance somewhere deep in her brain's gray matter. The ghosts just laughed, and she could only laugh with them. They knew better than these one dimensional people who were living one dimension too little in order to understand fully what the real benefits were in believing it all. People had faith in God without having seen one iota of truth and still they believed and prepared themselves for death. She had actually seen and touched and talked with the ghosts, so for her they were logically more real than the unimaginable sayings of all the church goers in her vicinity combined. They said she was a bad person, an evil spirit. She figured that if being bad meant she would have to be surrounded by all these ghosts the rest of her life then she would rather remain bad. Ghosts come and go. God is everywhere but no one has ever seen him. He could be a she for all they knew. Near the end of her life, she started to see fewer and fewer ghosts. No more groups greeted her every morning as the numbers slowly diminished. Finally there was a pair of them for a couple of weeks, and then only one. A single solitary mumbling voice whose presence became like gossamer disappearing in the wind. Her time had come and she knew it. She was prepared to let this ghost whisper the last words into her ear as she lay waiting. The time had come for her to become a ghost herself. Time finally to start where she was always meant to begin things.
Why was that bug bothering him all the time like that? Just buzzing around his head without stopping. He tried to swat the bugger a couple of times, but this fine creature was smarter than you might think. The insect's time scale was accelerated so that one second of human time was approximately ten seconds of bug time. As the hand came down close, the bug just waited for the last possible instant. Purposely to make fun of this person even more. Just a little more. As the shadow came over him, he sprung to the right side. And then to the left. Over there to the window and back again. The man was getting desperate because for some unknown reason this simple creature had taken over his life. Nothing could be done now until the bug had been taken care of. That is, either obliterated to kingdom come or with sly movements coerced out the window that had been opened just a small crack. For about ten minutes, the noise had disappeared, and it seemed that the bug had gone its happy way for good. But when the man finally sighed with relief it was back again. On purpose just to bother him even more. Alright he thought that he had had enough of this game and it was time to do something serious. Very serious, if that were possible. In any way within the stretches of the imagination. First he had to think up something clever, more clever than clever, the cleverest thing he had ever thought of in his whole life. And then he had it, he knew exactly what was to be done. A daunting challenge, but still (barely) possible nonetheless. He had seen his dog do it a couple of times, and with success. Snap, crackle and pop. So he waited and waited, until just the right moment. It was time, wait and wait, slowly open his jaws wide and wider, now! With a swift snapping motion he caught the aggravating visitor right between the top and the bottom rows of his teeth. Quite similar to those slow motion films one often sees on shows like national geographic where the patient frog hurls his elongated tongue way out there to snag the insect in a wink of the eye. Except that it is in slow motion, a different time frame. You see, otherwise the frog's tongue is too fast to see. But for the man there was no elongated tongue, just a quick snapping motion of his jaw and then a crunch. Time elapsed showmanship, that's for sure. And he had done it also, just like the frog but even better he had to admit. Isn't the human mind an amazingly creative organ if used properly? Of course, not everyone is capable of this amazing feat, he knew. Next comes the complete obliteration, as promised. One gulp and the little creature was no more. Feeling pretty proud of himself, he decided to go to bed early that evening. Tomorrow would lead to new adventures, and he needed the rest.
There's that guy over there again. For awhile he has been looking better, but this week he seems to have fallen into a slight dip again. So I approach him and pat him on his right shoulder. And? Well, alright I guess, at least for now. You see, the last time he climbed over the fence it took them almost a whole week to find him and bring him back. Bring him back to the place where he really did not belong. They should have been more respectful when they dragged him back. Yes, I could understand perfectly well. Dipolar syndrome, they kept saying. I removed my hand from his shoulder and started talking. Talking just about anything, it did not really matter. When they brought me back, they didn't have to do that. Going up? I agreed with him, but there was no real way to comfort him anymore. Except through words, trying to explain what is real and what is not. You see, that has been his problem for a long time, a very long time. I am losing touch with the boundaries and how to define them, he says looking directly in my eyes but not really looking in them. Well, it is not that important anyway, I answer. Going down? You know that. Yes, he did but did not at the same time. That was the dilemma really. There was something in his hand, a piece of paper which he had wadded up and made all sweaty. Obviously something had been penned on the now crumpled note as the blue ink was or had been dripping due to body warmth or other natural causes. Something important I was sure. Is there something you want to show me? No, not now. Maybe another day in the not so distant future. I will have to wait then until I see that guy again before I find out more.
"They should stop overdoing it like this. I mean really, this is finally getting completely out of hand! Just look around and you will see what I mean..."I looked around with a half-serious gesture and then sighed. This same discussion had been repeated at least a hundred times in the six months. But this was my job, to get him fixed, put the pieces back together, get him back on the street where he belonged. Hopefully retaining my sanity in the process and not sacrificing too much of my own individuality.
"Take yesterday afternoon for example. Walk past the tree and there one is. Open the door and there is another one. Pay for the groceries and it is in the change. Look at those birds, of course. Now even home is not safe any more. Mirrors all over the place..."I just let this person continue.
"Messages from God, they really do speak to me. But not through some masterful spiritual transformation, no. They have to do it through these crazy contraptions. Jeez..." My patience had been used up long ago, and I had learned that listening was often enough to ease the struggle. Repeat and then nod, pull it out of him and let him see it in the mirror, one of the mirrors he always referred to. Hopefully.
"Just look at this. Another one of those microscopic video cameras..." I followed his finger which was pointing at a distant spider dangling from an invisible thread up in the corner of the ceiling. Bouncing up and down.
"Very sophisticated, truly amazing! They go to such extremes only to displease me. For some fabricated sins that I have never committed, never ever..." Once in awhile he would get into the variegated concepts of so-called committed sins and then get distracted. Time for atonement, it is never too late.
"Why is that bird looking at me that way? I cannot stand it..." No bird for miles around, not in this God forsaken territory, the mind of mirrors. Not even the almighty thunder-birds, no other birds here, no way.
"Come over here and look in my mouth..." I slid my chair over to his right side and gazed into the side of his mouth which he had pried open with his thumb and forefinger. Just puffed up gums and crooked yellowish teeth. There was a speck or a pinpoint or something curious.
"Now put your ear close by and tell me what you hear..." I did as he asked, waited thirty seconds and heard nothing. Just as I had expected, already had seen in the mirrors.
"No like this..." And then he motioned a twisting flip of his right hand as if he were turning up the volume of some invisible knob in the air. That is when I heard it, the sound, and it was a human voice coming from very far away. He noticed that I had noticed and then came the grin of understanding. Both of us at the same time.
"Now didn't I tell you before? You got to believe the meek, you must. I am here for a reason..." It was a voice, almost singing, and there was some musical beat causing a very gentle throb as if echoing this person's very heartbeat. A twang of a guitar string. Some voiceless throbbing that was meant to be understood somehow, Sirens of the sea.
"The heart will echo the mind and we will understand it someday." Then the voice stopped and the music died away. I wrote down what he had said because I thought it very appropriate for the new day ahead of me. Hitting a emotional chord within me, twang.
"Same time tomorrow?" I nodded and slid my chair back to its original spot in the bare room. The hour was over with and it was time for me to depart. As I opened the door for my daily exit, I saw a metallic glint from the corner of my eye. Right over there where the spider was hanging. Better go now.
Where was my mirror?
What really bugs me is when other people keep putting thoughts into my head. It is bad enough when they do it accidentally or because of an inadvertent twist of their own thoughts, but what I especially hate is when people do it purposely to get back at me. Can you believe it? I wonder what gets into the other person's mind that makes him or her want to do this. Not only is it a rude undertaking but it is also an invasion of privacy. Normally I can deal with accidental thoughts and nudge them away from the normal flow of consciousness. No problem. This is because there is no harm done and the people who send me these waves are most of the time not fully aware of what they are doing. Weak vibrations which dissolve into nothingness. However, thoughts purposely wedged tightly between my own are very difficult to extract, similar to attempting to yank out a wisdom tooth of the mind. You can pull and tug and yank all you want but the thoughts will simply not budge. When the thoughts of others start telling you what to do, then it becomes worrisome, like I am losing control or something. What kind of receiver is lodged in my head which causes me to receive these bothersome signals? Let's say I am sitting somewhere with a group of people. They say one thing but think another and then their thoughts mingle with mine. Is this an attempt at manipulation, coercion, selfishness or something just to be ignored? A thought not my own pops up and then I turn my head to look to the left side of me. I know exactly who sent that one. Or standing in front of a group of people, the same thing. On the one hand this is purely imagination and on the other hand not at all. Most people just let it happen, so I will have to do the same. Open up, allow the energies of others to flow in, inspect the new ideas and reinvigorate my own thought processes. This makes things happen, that's for sure.
I saw this dog in the window today, and for the life of me it looked so very real that I could not believe it. The dog stood perfectly motionless with its head raised slightly and very still as if it were contemplating some mysterious object up in the sky in a combination human dog-like kind of way. Upon closer inspection, I could see the detail of the fur and each individual hair, the veins on the inner-side of the floppy ear, the tongue hanging out with spittle and the tail wavering ever so slightly as if it were ready to wag at any moment. This dog sure looks real, I kept thinking and wondering. I had to shake my head and squeeze my eyes shut for a second, just to make sure that this were really happening to me. When I opened my eyes again, the dog's head had moved downwards, no longer gazing at that imaginary object but now gazing directly at me. As if it were saying "Okay Mr. whoever you are, how dare you come too close to my window. Watch out." I did not let that attitude disturb me, though I have to admit that I felt relieved that there was a thick soundproof pane of glass separating this beast from its potential prey which was me. The tail wagged but I still could not believe it, could not believe how very real this dog appeared. When the dog started barking at me, my reflexes caused me to start, not so much from the fear of being attacked and bitten as the shock my senses of reality took in attempting to believe that this was afterall not real at all. No, don't let this dog fool me now. As I stepped backwards, my left heel caught the edge of the sidewalk, and snagged off balance I nearly fell. This inadvertent lurch on my part enraged the canine beast even more. He started pawing the thick glass madly, and I could clearly hear the sound of his claws scraping the inside. Scratches appeared. Then web-like cracks, and then bigger cracks, criss-crossing all over the place, until a single triangular glass shard was dislodged and fell to the ground with a tingling sensation. Sounded just like an expensive crystal long-stemmed wine glass hitting the linoleum floor once, bouncing high with a somersault, and then smashing for good on the ground. I was not going to wait to see what would happen next. I made a one hundred eighty degree angle turn in one swift blurred motion, and I tried to walk away as nonchalantly as I could. As I continued on my way home, I was still struck by the realism I had just experienced, how perfectly real it had all seemed to me, at least to my senses. But I knew better. This had been no more real than a film on the television, a song on the radio, some kid smiling at me from over there, a leaf from a tree dangling and then falling, or whatever. The only things really real could not be seen on the outside, but rather they floated in circles and curlicues around the inside of my head. Could have fooled me. This made me feel relieved and gave me courage to continue the rest of the day until I could go to sleep again in preparation of the next unreal adventure in my life.
I figured out that it was Friday again when I saw him turning around the corner and approaching the building.
Sitting in my room behind the window on the third floor, I at first did not recognize who he was because of the pseudo-dream world in which I was living. No one visited me anymore, because I was old and could not speak for some time now.
When he knocked on the door I could not answer, but nonetheless I was very excited about this weekly visit. Such a fine young man around the same age I was when I first started thinking seriously about life and what it was all about.
That damn stroke had leveled me.
"Good morning." He said in his usual friendly voice. He thought I was deafer than I really was, but I did not mind him raising his voice. Made me feel like I was being extra cared for.
"And a fine morning to you too," I thought to myself, inwardly but out loud.
"We must go for a walk immediately, such a fine day for a stroll."
Being confined all week to this room was not what one would call a most pleasant way to bide one's time, even if my mind at least was as sharp as the mind of this fine young man. Body lagging behind.
That damn stroke had leveled me. Out of the blue.
He spun me around in the swivel chair in which I was sitting, grunting ever so slightly as he lifted me into the big bad metal awkward wheelchair which I hated but knew was a necessary evil. "Here we go..."
We always started out our strolls along the water, and in the beginning we just thought together in silence, as if there was some kind of mental awareness that needed to be lubricated and applied to the right places. Spiritual awakening and acclimation of awarenesses.
Whenever we reached the woods and I could hear the birds chirping in the distance, that is when the conversation picked up. At least on his side. He always asked me the same question at this point. Never expecting an answer.
"Let's see now," he wondered out loud. "We can turn left or we can turn right or we can just go straight ahead. Which will it be?" he asked me.
I thought to myself, "let it be to the left this time around."
"Okay," he echoed my thoughts out loud, "you get it your way again and it will be left this time around. Next time it is I who decides, okay?"
It truly amazed me how in sync our thoughts were, and I found it ironic that since I could not really speak to him and tell him about it that he would never ever know it. He was reading my thoughts none the less.
The sun was shining nicely and it produced the most amazing splicing of light beams through the branches of the trees above, like a Dutch landscape painting from the eighteen hundreds or so.
"Reminds me of..." the nice young man hesitated. I decided to help him out in my mind, as in my youth I had studied the Dutch masters and knew them by heart. "Frequented Forest Road," I thought out loud as best I could but without being able to move my lips.
"Yes of course, it reminds me of Jan Brueghel!" He seemed so pleased about his so-called original idea, though he would never know that it was not that original at all. Proud was this fine young man.
I was especially surprised that he had remembered the name in the original old Dutch, spelling it correctly with an "h" whereas it was more common in the educational institutions nowadays to use the incorrect "Bruegel" spelling without the letter.
He went on. "There is this painting I really like called the Forest Road or something like that. Wait, it's on the tip of my tongue." He licked his lips with the tip of his tongue with a smacking sound and a deep breath.
"Frequented Forest Road," that is what it was. Our minds mingled and intersected and we were looking at the same painting in the same segment of nature at the same moment of spliced timed. Almost.
I really liked that fine young man, even though to this day I never learned his name nor what his occupation was nor any of the more personal things like if he was married or had any children. I supposed he did, and the truth of the matter was that I knew more about him than he probably ever would know about himself. Even in a lifetime.
Too bad I never saw him again. No one ever told me why he disappeared from my life. No one in that big white building with echoes even cared if I cared. They thought I was just an old senile nuisance not caring about anything. Little did they know.
As the Fridays now pass by swiftly without the fine young man, I know that eventually my time will also come. Just like his. And when that time comes, I will welcome it with open arms, gesturing that way at least with my mind and thoughts and that kind of thing. Only then will I know for sure who that fine young man really was. Only then will I finally have the chance to speak with him myself in real-life words and sentences that make noises out loud, and I will ask him in my own courteous way. I will speak loudly as if he is deaf.
It will be a fine reunion, the three of us together at last.
There was this pinpoint of light circling overhead. I had seen it before, but not as clearly as now. This surprised me. Put me in an awe-inspiring mood. Buzzing around and around like a lost mosquito but much farther away. Ever present with a wonderful backdrop called the night sky network with so many stars just coming to life. Invisible breeze in the ensuing darkness causing the molecules in the air to move back and forth and bounce against anything that got in the way. That is why I was surprised when that pinpoint of light split into two, two pinpoints of light the exact same size. Followed slightly longer than a half second later by the distant snapping sound just like that. The original flight pattern continued onwards at a causal rate, perfectly straight and then the trajectory sliced with the clean knife of a sound. The long thin line becoming two long thin lines separating as time passed. The speed was not exceptional, yet constant and undaunted by all the other stars shimmering which just barely did not quite get in the way. Time to turn around and come back again. Start all over again. Please tell me, what could such a pinpoint of light circling overhead actually mean? Two pinpoints of light by npw that is. Turn around and come back again.
He forgot again where he was. Again. For the life of him, he could not figure out what those things were doing over there. And in front of him, to the side right and left, just beyond his line of sight. Next to his face, just floating. Distant and close by. And then just as quickly as it had disappeared it came back to him again. That was a close one, what a relief. These uneasy moments of not knowing were becoming more frequent, and the time in-between shorter and shorter making the waits less and less bearable. Almost. What had once been an occasional lapse every week or so was now rattling by in frequency at an ever increasing rate. Here at one moment, gone at another, and then back again. Strange but true. Could it be or not? Just then when he was attempting to formalize this deep philosophical question he lost it again. Lost it altogether again. Gone. Ten minutes later. And then, fine again and then life returns to normal. No use wondering and worrying just continue life as if nothing were happening. The next lapse in the flow of time will come so do not try and push it.
There was that guy standing over there again. I decided to approach him with caution and crossed the street in order to get a closer look. When I walked passed him, my left shoulder brushed the plastic shopping bag which he was carrying, and inside there was something heavy with sharp edges. I continued on my way until I reached the corner, stopped in my tracks, paused for about ten seconds, and turned around. I could see that guy in the distance with his back turned to me. He had started to cross the street, and when he almost reached the same spot from which I had first spotted him, he too paused. It seemed as if he was thinking about something, aware that something unusual was happening, perhaps even that he was being watched. However, as far as I was concerned, that guy had changed very little since the last time, meaning that he was not in the least capable of entertaining those kinds of thoughts. His ideas of reality were strained to the extreme, very similar to what I had been through on several occasions. The interested twist to this story was that while that guy was more experienced and wise than I, he was perhaps not even half my age. I was the older and wiser person, not he. That is when that guy shook his head violently and then dove to the ground. He lay flat and motionless and not a soul even noticed. For the rest of the world he did not exist, no longer existed, except to me, for me and about me. What was there to do? Not much really, except to retrace my steps the way I had come. Back to the point where my shoulder had abruptly made contact with the plastic shopping bag, making this all happen in the first place. I looked left, then right and then left again before I re-crossed the street in the other direction. I made it back to the starting point, but that guy was not there. I had seen him lying motionless, but when I got close enough he had been totally absorbed by the sidewalk as if by some sort of cynical and illusionary form of quicksand. Gone for good, but still inside of me. While that guy has supposedly disappeared again, I knew where he was. He would be appearing again someday in the future, who knows when exactly, but he would definitely show up again. And then we would have to repeat this whole ritual, go through similar motions and similar though patterns. Now he was inside of me again and it was my duty to protect his poor soul, fondling the energy inside and acquiring strength at the same time. That was the very least that could be expected of me. If I would lose concentration, forget about my task or even take it too lightly because of some good mood I was entertaining, that guy would appear to me again. As a warning to be careful again, to find him again, and bring him inside again where that guy really belonged. In the first place, the very first place.
There was that old guy again. This time he was standing next to me. I had never seen him before from so close and it was a little getting used to. So many wrinkles that his face sunk inwards, nose hairs splayed out of his nostrils like tentacles, greased down strands across his scalp, and worse of all was that smell. He smelled like sweat. He smelled like sweat and leather and alcohol all put together. But he was shaven, clean-shaven, and he was wearing some sweet-smelling aftershave that almost, but not quite, came through the mixture of all the other smells. It was the thick curtain through which his head peered out between the slit just opening. I has seen him often walking past my house, clear on over the opposite side of the street, hunched down looking at the ground, weaving back and forth, his long arms swaying and elongated, almost touching the ground like a gibbon ape. He was always mumbling, about this and that, but because I had never been that close to him I could not make out the many words and complicated sentences. So there I was standing right next to him. Rather, he was standing right next to me. I turned my head and noticed that he was looking straight into my face. Only this time we was muttering again, and unlike the past I could hear his many words very clearly. It was no longer distant mumbling sounds, but actual consonants spaced cleanly with the smoothest vowels one could ever imagine.
"They are everywhere you know, all around, and you can see them but cannot see them at the same time," he said to me.
"They?" I asked
"Yes, they who have come to let us know that we have done well, amazingly well."
"Have we then?"
"Listen!" He shouted so loud that it startled me, but I became silent. I stopped and started listening. The old man pointed over there, and his forefinger showed me exactly where that thing or person was standing. And it was coming closer to us.
"They say...they say that we have done well."
"What then? What have we done so well?" I asked.
"We have nearly made it but not quite. We will need their help, accept what they have to offer us, surrender to the new ways..." His eyes rolled back and he seemed to be hearing voices, a song, some kind of harmony. He nodded his head up and down to the imaginary beat. I said nothing, waiting for him to do something or other.
With that he bent down, picked up an imaginary strand between his fingers and showed it to me.
"See, this is the proof, the proof that it is really happening. You do see it don't you?"
I nodded my head, not because I was being polite but because all of a sudden I could see it. I saw it with my own eyes. It was not a strand of hair, but it was a small note. On the note were scribbled a number of sentences, in some foreign language which I did not understand.
"I see that you cannot read the ancient scriptures," he said, and continued in the same breath "then let me translate the message for you."
I waited and waited, but the old man did nothing. He just stood there, looking more intensely than ever at that spot between and just above my eyes. Then he was gone.
That episode occurred six months ago. Since then I have been doing the same thing. I saw myself in the mirror that day, the real me. The old man had not disappeared at all. He was I, and I am he, now. Each and every day I wander along the opposite side of the street, hunched down looking at the ground. I find people and things and non-things all over the place. I translate for them the secret message.
And you know what? We have almost made it. So far we have done all right, not bad at all for imperfect beings, sinful creatures, squandering and drowning in our own mud puddles we call reality. We are good, we are fine and we are getting better. Better and better and better.
Then be silent now, and let me translate the message for you.
There they were again off in the distance. A long row of trees swaying ever so slightly in harmony with the wind that was blowing them tossing them back and forth. A kind of synchronized inactivity with the leaves and branches and falling twigs, all of it singing. Purposely to grab my attention. Some kind of message and they were talking to me. A secret message that I had to untangle and figure out for myself. But how? Indeed there were a number of subtle hints in the way the twigs struck the ground or the leaves flapped their wings or the swaying took on a clearly mysterious and exotically serious motion. Why did they keep on sending me these secret messages? When I decided to keep on walking down the path to who knows where and left those swaying beings off in the distance where they belonged in the first place, that question kept on nagging me. Again and again and again. I was tired of these messages, these subtle melodies, these motions that I just missed and did not quite understand. Actually when I thought about it logically it did not make sense my overly concerned and worried attitude about such things that in the end were not that important at all. At least not that important to the rest of the world who could absolutely care less anyway. Only to me was it important, utterly important, more important than important, more important than finding the Holy Grail, discovering the true purpose of life, having eternal youth, finding a cure for cancer, ending of all wars, bringing peace on earth forever and ever, I thought. To me. Ironically, I knew for sure that in order to prevent a complete disaster, not to let down mankind and have them remember me as someone who failed, I had to decipher all of this. Do not want to fail miserably now do we? No. There was not much time left. Time left. Left at all. Twigs spelled backwards is sgiwt which sounds a lot like squid which lives in the ocean very deep where everything is dark and uncanny. And trees spelled backwards with the tee truncated away into oblivion results in seer who is a person with special gifts of the mind and can either predict the future or feel from within that something is not quite right. Right, "I am a seer" and have been that way since the moment I entered the light and took my first breath. Finally, leaves without the ess sounds like Eve who was the first female causing us to be the way we are now. The ultimate animus. I kept on walking farther and farther away, furthering myself the best I could from the swaying trees, thinking about all of this. Stream of consciousness, falling leaves, sticks and twigs. The wind and a kind of harmony. Sumina.
Seer of things to come. Be with me from now on. Collect the sticks and twigs and other things. Time to go on.
When I woke up, I found myself lying on the ground somewhere hidden in an endless grassy meadow. With the sun shining down on my face. Warm sunlight, a gentle spring breeze, way out in the middle of nowhere. Nowhere in particular. The grass was swaying in the light, and it had grown much higher since I had lain down there earlier. Earlier some time who knows when. A swaying green enclosure of thick blades, high, higher and higher. Blue sky and one fluff of white stringy threads of elongated cotton passing by. A cloud all alone over there. I stood up and brushed the dust from my pants. Way off in the distance there was this grassy knoll, sloping gently upwards until it met the horizon. A glare, a white speck, something interesting I had to see. Discover it for myself.
What could that be? I stretched my arms and legs, and I decided to make the long journey. Might as well start now, I thought. Now or never. About a kilometer or two or it could even be three, I estimated. Or so I thought. At a gentle and easy pace I made it up the grassy knoll, and the breeze blew across my face, a bit harder but still not too hard. The waft of a cloud had disappeared over to the east, and the afternoon sky was getting slightly darker, ever so slightly. Shadows forming, low and stretched to the side and in front of me. Where I was going.
I approached the white speck and it grew to a block, a slab of sun bleached stone. It appeared to be growing out of the top of the tall blades of grass. Growing upwards, barely emerging. Solid but moving at the same time. A slab of stone, rounded at the top, thicker at the bottom or so it seemed and just about that thick or maybe thicker or this thick.
What? There was this pit in front of it, recently dug out and all ready waiting to be filled again. While the soil was still moist and soft and curled over to the sides. Huh? It was a tombstone and it was waiting for someone. Who could that be? Wait a minute. I realized in an instant that that someone was me, me! Realized with a start, with a shock, a skip of a beat of the heart. I peered in closely at the recently dug out pit, and then at the bleached and scratched surface. There was something engraved in the stone, some words or a saying of some sort or other. And it said, it said, it said. I could not quite make it out, but I was certain what the message was. Something deep and meaningful, a celebration, that my life had been worth it all, that I had accomplished what I was born and set out to do. That I had gotten to know myself and the world around me better, true knowledge and intuition and feeling all combined within a perfect mix. The perfect liquid mix whatever that could be.
Worth it all, worth it all. The perfect liquid mix.
When I closed my eyes I then woke up again. This time in the very same spot where this adventure had first started two kilometers or so earlier. The grassy meadow, the cloud in the sky at the very same spot it had been at first, the soft breeze exactly as soft and gentle as it had been back then. But this time I knew. I knew better. When I stood up and brushed the dust for the second time from my pants, or was it really the first time again, I knew. I knew. There was still a long way to go, and there was enough time to think, to prepare myself and to figure out what those words were, what they would become, what they would be, my life encompassed on a sun bleached surface of stone. Just words, but nonetheless.
There was still a long ways to go, but there would be time. Time enough. Time enough before I reached the sun bleached surface again.