Chapter 1: Cabin
It happens between sunset and dawn, when the stars shine bright high in the sky and the wind caresses the tear off my cheek. One single drop, along with which the world falls into singularity. Gravity begins to push instead of pulling, and the moon’s crescent digs its claw into the clover fields, their green turning a fading blue.
There in the distance, limiting the horizon, I see the rising shape of a cabin. I cross the path towards the light in haste. I enter a world I am not originally part of. Behind the door lies a realm of secrets and mysteries I have yet to unravel. The further I venture the deeper I fall, and eventually the stars begin to fade from sight, leaving the moon to become my one and only solace.
In that very moment, the world entire is mine to hold within the palm of my hand. With my fingertips I caress the creation, sensing its ever-changing shape blossoming into a million lights, and I watch it fade into ashes like a cigarette I dispose of after yet another smoke.
In my fantasies, there are no such things as borders. Another world starts where mine ends. I cross my feet and sit by the coffee table to sip out of my mug. When the room is dimly lit and my senses find comfort in the company of the rain ravaging the outdoors.
I hear a sound when there is no sound. It leaves me tranquil. It eases and soothes me. I am part of it. It is part of me.
Dissociation is an adventure.
I awaken to a coldness against my lips and when I open my eyes there is but an ordinary ceiling welcoming me back from my dreams. Moments such as these leave a bittersweet taste at the tip of my tongue and I am met with the dullness of reality. They leave me with the desire to forever dwell in a world of my own creation, one where the infinite is at reach and with the extension of my bare hand I am to touch its mingling strings.
The past forgot me. I seldom reminisce events of a life I once led. Closing my eyes and picturing my childhood I see the ghost of images floating before me, but none strike a particular emotion. I did not choose to forget. I chose to be forgotten.
I live in the present, and in the present my feet are cold as I place them on the wooden floor and drag them across the room. The room in which I am found is unlike the cabin in my dreams. Horizon-less, picturesque-less. There is no depth, there is no abstractness. It’s monotonous, rigid, plain.
I sit by the window side. My mind seeks not to see the singular. It seeks to see the infinite, the passing of time. I am in the constant motion of existing within a continuously altering present. I crave it like one would crave a drug.
Faster, faster, faster. Before me the scenery merges into one. Like an enigmatic painting, the multifarious colours expand. A lightning, a flash. Oh, the grandiosity. Oh, the beauty. The bewilderment of a lifetime found in the malfunctioning of the mind. Let me be, let me dive in, let me flee. I am free. I am free!
In the distance, I hear the echoes of a voice imposing: ‘Focus!’ I descend back to reality, discouraged. I feel I exist less, less than when I was in the refuge of my cabin. The seashore, the golden sand, the lighthouse, they abandoned me. I feel the emptiness devouring me.
My expendable mind, moulded at last.
Chapter 2: Room
Far I have come, passing through the fortress of ecstasy into the realm. I falter once at reach, dismayed. Up above in the bluest of skies I seek the sun, my guide, to find that she, too, had abandoned me. I decay, my certitude collapsing like a million daggers falling down like rain. My soul has washed ashore, my heart at bay, and I belittle the force that brought me to suffer. Mine, the angry roar of the silent kind, serves as a reminder, a token for those who failed to caress a reality other than their own, those who, at the fortress’ door, sought to retrace their steps instead of pushing forward. The search for the soul ends when certainty prevails.
Uncertainty is the first room of my cabin.
Don’t set foot inside, I hear my own voice telling me, but I do. I do so many a time. That room opens itself to me in a warm invitation which I cannot deny. I did not create this room, it created itself. It made of the cabin its home. In my cabin of comfort the room of Uncertainty is not hidden or tucked aside in shame, it is left open in blatant display, right across from the entrance. View me, the room says, view the towering of my depth and the clustering of my core, for I am not your weakness, and neither am I your strength.
I explore the room like I explore the back of my hand, not to find what I might have lacked previous knowledge of, but for the sole sake of re-experiencing a familiar terrain, re-experiencing the self, reconnecting. In despair, I stumble upon an anomaly and nearly lose my balance. A familiar terrain is not supposed to alter, yet this one does. The rooms of my cabin alter with the alteration of time. And as I rise again I find I have descended into a narrow corridor, a space I have never seen before. Stairs upon stairs leading me down into nothingness, darkness, distancing me from the reality of the cabin into an alternate reality of a world existing under it.
Thump, thump, thump.
Heartbeats, presumably mine, echo through the dim black walls as I advance downwards, embracing the gravity that aches for my downfall. Thump, thump, thump, the heartbeats carry on. I find comfort in believing they are mine. Are they? Are they really mine?
The state of self-awareness is exhaustingly authentic. I fear authenticity, sincerity, genuineness. I fear Reality. I fear what I cannot undo. What is once committed, cannot be retracted. Once Reality is committed, it cannot be rejected, revoked or cancelled. It cannot become an Unreality. Reality prevails, it always does.
So I walk. I distance myself as I walk. I bring myself closer as I walk. In walking, I am both fleeing an idea and reaching a concept. In Reality, there is no such thing as walking.
Underneath, darkness is surrounding me. I can hardly perceive, yet I never fail to set the right foot on the right step as I descend. I have a sense of direction, for when you go down, there is not much choice but going down. There is a certitude, a sense of comfort and safety, of a reunion and a return.
Suddenly, I am pulled forward, compelled to fall into the eerie nothingness under me. I fall. I fall. I fall. The fall must not be resisted. It is an escape, a privilege, freedom. I fall, and I consensually embrace my falling. I welcome freedom with open arms like I welcome an old friend.
In this world, the concept of existence co-exists with that of spontaneity. I awake, therefore, elsewhere.
Chapter 3: Lilies
I revel in contemplating the flowers by the side of my bed. I have never cared to learn their names, but my mind is able of grasping the intensity of their fragrance and the peculiarity of their beauty. The room in which I am found is strikingly white. The brightness penetrates my every orifice, and I feel satiated by the light. There is a window in the room, but not on any of the walls. It is above my head, spreading over the ceiling, enhancing the visual of a thunderstorm, of the heavy raindrops clattering against the transparent surface and of the grumbling of thunder resulting from a far-away lightning strike. The clattering of the raindrops resonates within my heart, and the flashing of the lightning rises an exciting pulse. I feel regenerated, rejuvenated, reborn.
It soothes me to view the world above me like this. My mind is quiet, almost numb. I cannot but contemplate, observe, watch. I am a spectator, therefore I hold no power over the spectacle. It unfolds before my eyes, reminding me of my smallness, of my inferiority. I redeem, but no one hears my redemption. Like a tree that falls in the middle of a vacant forest, it is heard by none, and therefore the falling’s happening loses all meaning and sense.
Lilies. That was the name of the flowers. Now they materialize. Now they exist.
A lightning flashes before my eyes, above me. Although in my laying down, what’s above me is before me. In laying down, the sky’s grandiosity and the earth’s modesty are on even grounds, and I feel, for once, a sense of acceptance, of existence, and of belonging. In laying down, on my death bed, I, at last, feel that I matter.
A thundering roar splits the silence of the world in half, and the light goes out. The bright walls soften at once, discarding their superficial gleam. Now they appear so concrete to me, so close to grasp, so real. A door opens at once, the existence of which I completely forwent. Voices penetrate my head, echoing within, reverberating. My head is in pain. Quiet, quiet, quiet!
“Focus!” Roars one of the voices at me, causing my headache to worsen. “Get the walls!”
The walls. Walls. I see them, the gleam-less, shine-less, bland walls surrounding me. I feel imprisoned, like a caged bird disallowed to fly. I wish the white colour were not so penetrative, so invasive. The rain above me, or before me, amplifies, and I hear a high-pitched scream. The scream ends as soon as it began, and once my eyes befall the room around me, I see the walls no more.
I inhale, then exhale, then inhale again. With the flutter of a tired eyelid, I catch sight of a departing sunset. The pale orange of the sky and the soft green of the ocean embrace each other upon the horizon. The mountains on the east spread like the fading brush of an old painting. I take the sight in, like a deep breath. I inhale, then exhale, then inhale again. I lost view of my cabin, my cabin in the woods. Separating me from the ocean dream, a lighthouse arises. I perceive the end of my forthcoming beginning. A bitter sense of failure seizes me then.
Chapter 4: Lighthouse
The lighthouse is no refuge, of that I am certain. It shelters me from the weary weather but it is no shelter. It is a monument, a place, an anchor. The sight of it within this unfamiliarly familiar landscape brings into me a nostalgic air. It refreshes my senses and I can almost taste the sea at the tip of my tongue.
Yet like a boat sailing the waters of a calm sea, all that floats eventually washes ashore. The memory I once held shatters into a myriad of pieces, each reflection dissolving to uncover the reality present underneath. That reality is one with no lighthouse, no sea, and no mountains. It is but a picture in a frame. A picture of a lost memory. One which I now solely feel at the tip of my fingers, no longer within, lingering in all its frivolity.
This lighthouse of mine is a dream I deserted.
A sigh. Contempt. Decay. Disorientation. I am condemned to open my eyes to a white wall and a bland painting. I am here yet I am not. I am sealed to a rocking chair. I am old, I am young. I am happy, I am sorrowed. I am thankful, I am grieving. I am everywhere and I am nowhere. I am within and I am without. I am here, I am there. I am the sky and the moon. I am the ocean and the sun. I am the mountains and the trees. I am the wind floating in between. I am a far-away star. I am shining in all my gleam. I am flickering then I am not.
I am then I am not.
The blue sky turned a shimmering red, the blazing sun extinguished beyond the horizon, kissing me goodbye one last time before our eternal farewell. I admire its beauty. I admire the painting in the wall and the memory tied to each of its strokes, yet I never spoke of the boat within the frame, and neither shall I speak of the name engraved in the back of it.
I sink under, descending into the bottomless pit where my worries lay still. I am expandable. My existence is intangible, unlike the painting on the wall, the painting of the lighthouse and the sea. In me a lingering desire to become what I am not. A painting, a lighthouse: idiosyncratic. I follow a cascade into the hollowness underneath. I am headed to where I was before. Is this what Reality promises to be? I abide.
Under, under. I sink deeper and farther. Now I see, now I know. The face on the wall speaks to me in many a tongue. I understand each and every word. It’s like a whisper, humming in my ear and lulling me to sleep. It’s smiling, it’s glaring. It’s happy, it’s angry. It knows me, it knows what I did.
Chapter 5: Cascade to a Lesser Me
I suspend my cascade to address a matter left unattended, a matter that has been decided without my own consent at the start of this journey: This is not a story of mine. I deny not the existence of the self, but in my realm, there is no self, and therefore there is no I.
The story I tell of is not mine. It cannot be. For there is no I if there are no others, and where I am there are no others. Perhaps the others are real, and I am not. Perhaps no one is real. I sustain the thought. I seek the mirror that is not myself. I find none.
I once met another. Although that was at the time before I entered the realm. The memory I hold of this peculiar meeting fades gradually with time. For the less you think of a memory, the more it is prone to fade. I let it fade, I desire it to.
The meeting was bizarre. I felt myself waste away. The clash of thoughts frightened me. The ability to disagree, to dispute, to argue. It frightened me, then it delighted me. I argued many a theory, of how I came upon the realm, of how I happened to be within it, or how I previously ignored the existence of it, yet I have never felt such a violent desire to be on the right, to be just, correct, unmistaken. I felt I was becoming another me, a lesser me.
I am not who I am made to be. I make myself to be. I am, thus I will be. But then and there, through the exchange in which I delighted as much as I despaired, I felt the vile in me surface. The egotistical I came upon me. How terrifyingly exalting. I felt a strength in me, a thirst, a craving.
With the tired flicker of an eyelid I was expulsed inwards. I watched myself from the inside, I watched the Ego take over, I watched it become the I. I felt myself sink under. That was not me, yet it had to be me. Who was that? Who was I? And who was I supposed to be? The guidelines I long set for my own guiding were suddenly smudged. They were but blurred words on a wasted sheet of paper disintegrating before my eyes. They no longer mattered. I lost the battle, and now I had to start over again.
I started over. And ever since, there was no clash with the Ego. It no longer thrived, it remained dormant, the way it should be. I resigned the I along with it. For the sole reason I previously accommodated to it was for the sake of the other. Now there was no other, and therefore no I. At last, I am at peace.
This is not a story of mine. This is but a stream of thoughts of that who wilfully resigned their singularity. For there is no singular, and all is connected.
Chapter 6: Mother
I no longer hold the faith over the road which took me. The road I walk is now eternal, whether I stride out of it or religiously tail it. My existence is parallel to the existence of the road. We are both linear, we never cross. We co-exist, we tail and are tailed. We lead and are led. There is no master of the truth, the road isn’t my salvation, and neither am I its own.
The road down to the revelation of who I am and who I am to be exhilarates each and every fibre of my being. I am cascading under. I am embracing my descent. I am to be eternal as I merge along with the universe. I am becoming, at last. For long have I looked upon this reunion, this reconciliation. I am becoming. I am becoming.
“Focus!” shouted the vile voice at me. “Focus!”
I focus, I awake, and I lose my sanity.
Why do you feel the need to heal me? To save me? I am not broken, nor am in danger. Why won’t you let me be? Why? Why? Why?
“Focus,” The voice shouts again, “Focus, and you will be free, sane, and happy.”
I was happy. I was.
Until you awoke me.
Now I am nothing.
I drag in a sharp breath and open my eyes to the glass ceiling. Beside my bed sat a lady in a white gown. She held my hand, and whispered gentle words to me. I felt the blood flow in her veins, I heard her heartbeats thump rhythmically, I felt her liveliness, her hope and her sorrow.
“Who am I?” I ask her wilfully.
“You are safe.” She insists while brushing my hand accordingly.
Safety. Is that the state I am supposed to be in? Is that the state of my existence? I am safe, therefore I exist. No. This isn’t the truth. The truth lies in my dreams. In my cabin. Let me return. Let me return.
She touched my forehead in a gentle brush and I felt her overpower me. Her selfish desire to have me here, where she believed me to be safe, overthrows my desire to escape this place where I do not feel safe. She robbed me, she robbed me from who I am to be, she made me, while only I had been able to make me. She is pretending to save me, to help me, to free me, but underneath all she is just pretending. She is pretending to be my saviour, my god. She isn’t. Who is she?
“Who are you?”
“I am your mother.”
No she isn’t. I have no mother. I have no father. I have no sibling. I am expandable. I am-
I focus. I focus, and I lose my sanity in the process.
I lose myself.
I lose everything.
Chapter 7: Focus
To focus is to be aware. To focus is to employ all senses according to what your task demands. To focus is to correlate the body and the mind. To focus is to fulfil. To focus is to associate.
I, now, associate.
A reverie. That is the state in which I was found. Delirious. That is the word they used to describe my psyche. They broke down each and every one of my notions, tore them into pieces, threw them out of the window. My ideologies, my principles, my beliefs, they were not to their liking, and were therefore labelled wrongs. I now stand void upon a set of wrongs. I focused, and there were consequences.
Mother tales the story of how I came to be. The day of my physical birth. She took pride in bearing me. She reminisces memories of my childhood, or of the childhood of the person she once knew, for I am not in the past, and how can I be when I am in the present, the here and now? She reminisces of the day of the accident, of the blood on the pavement, of the car engine torn apart, of my body no longer human. She speaks of a clinical coma, of the years of help and support I’ve received from the community. Of the thousands of people praying for me, for my awakening. And I have awakened. I have until you made me focus. Now I’m forever dormant.
There were others under my window, at my door, in my room. Others and others and others, so many I have lost track of the notion of singularity. What do they want from me? What do they seek in me? Mother says upon my awakening I have become the miracle child: I have survived. I glance at the happy faces of the white-coated people in my room, then I look up at the glass ceiling above me. The sky is far, so far, and I am under, so under. Tears streamed down my face. The glow of existence within me flickered one last time, then it forever dimmed.
I forever dimmed.
Chapter 8: Prisoner
Walking is freedom. Freedom of the mind, freedom of the body. Walking towards or walking from, no destination involved, no goal, no end. Just walking.
I walked outside that morning after I ‘awoke’, under the spring blossoming trees and the joyful singing of the birds, under the blue painted sky and the benign wind caressing the clouds. I walked, and I could not contain the dreadfulness of moving. Why was I moving? I did not wish for that, I wished to walk, not move. Why is motion part of walking? Who made it so? How do I disentangle one from the other? I feel enraged, I feel stuck, I feel broken.
I screamed at the bottom of my lungs and cried tears I did not comprehend. I wiped my face and peered upon my hands. They were the hands of a child, no older than twelve. I was in the body of a child, but I was not a child. And if I was no child, who was I?
Bodies in motion approached me in haste, clothed in familiar white robes, the brightness of which triggered my anger. I never felt such anger before, not until their protruding hands lashed on me, grasped me, held me still. The act of imposed power, so distasteful, so human.
As I was forced into motion I recognized how the floating of the free mind and its smooth transition within space was a prohibited performance in this world. Then I thought, if that was no longer a possibility, what had I left?
I was imprisoned in the body of a child, a body I once occupied prior to my transcendence into the realm, prior to the freedom of the mind and the soul, prior to my awakening.
Now I had fallen back.
I fell into slumber, I cascaded into the wrong place. Now I am forced into a physical form, into a physical world where boundaries are its foundation, and power is an unquestioned, overlooked anomaly. The desire to achieve a union within one’s self is no longer recognized, in here, the very notion of freedom is butchered to fit into the cavities of those who exert their power, and those upon which that power is exerted. A world built upon the notion of the jungle, the survival of the fittest, the animalistic desires of territorialism, conquest and fear. A prison, is where I descended into, a prison of the body and of the soul, and I am but a prisoner.
Chapter 9: Beauty
Time flew by and the notion of it degraded me. The very existence of the second, the minute and the hour humiliated me. I felt the power of Time, and I felt myself its slave.
I occasionally peered outside of the rectangular barred bathroom window into the busy streets, crowded with people, people walking, people running, people driving, people breathing. Each one of them racing against time, to an unknown end. I watched and watched, as the trees turned white with snow and green with leaves, and I watched. Only later did I recognize I was assuming a role in that closed room, out of which I was no longer allowed. I was assuming a role of power, power of watching. I paid the thought no attention, and carried on dwelling in my watching for times to come.
The rain had reduced its precipitation, now rarely ever coming to visit my window with its soothing droplets knocking on the glass. Mother visited me religiously, and one day brought news of my release.
“Release from what?” I asked.
“From here, of course!” She joyfully informed. “You’re finally free! Free to come back home.”
I can hardly describe it, the feeling those words of hers brought into my being. A thrill ran down my spine, an exalting rush the kind of which I have never experienced since my cascade. Of course, the release my mother spoke of was far from what I had envisioned back in that tiny room with its four bright walls and glass ceiling. I expected the release of the mind, body and soul, whilst my mother spoke of the body alone.
She demanded I packed my things, and I still wonder what she meant. The notion of property was still unfamiliar to me at the time. Yet that innocent feeling I had experienced from the door of the room to the door of her house was of a pure beauty I shall never again encounter. The heavy horror of my first experience of disappointment, however, I, to this day, still endure.
I feel cursed.
I feel I have lost my purpose. I do not matter where I am. Everything else does, but me.
I look at my hands and I recognize them as mine. They were larger now, bigger. I am older. I have finally admitted my eternal loss to Time.
On occasional nights I still dream of the realm, of the lighthouse and of the cabin. I even dream of the boat, the boat I never wished to reminisce the existence of. The boat which brought the Other to me. The Other that shattered my selflessness into pieces, that caused my fall, that brought me to where I am today.
I wonder how I am able to remember details of a life forlorn. I am no longer part of the larger scale of things. I am excluded, banned, exiled. I am degraded. I am human.
My first experienced emotion is anger. Anger seized me at the reminiscence of the boat rocking back and forth above the ocean’s serene water. I was perched upon the lighthouse, seated above the world, waiting for the sun to kiss the horizon goodbye and for the stars to grace me with their presence. I was waiting for an extension into the sky, an endless invitation to float higher than I was previously allowed. I ached for further freedom, for the existence of it reminded us we were not free. We never were. We were merely disillusioned.
Under me a voice broke the serenity of my world. It picked the painting off the wall and tore the frame apart. It made me feel vulnerable, minuscule, for this was my first experience crossing paths with another other than myself in this vast, wondrous realm.
The Other spoke another tongue, a tongue I was quick to learn. I spoke of the sky, they spoke of the earth. I spoke of the ocean, they spoke of the mountains. I spoke of the moon, they spoke of the stars.
I spoke of freedom and they spoke of a curse.
They were unwanted. They were expulsed. They were forced into the realm against their own will. A thunder roared. The sky above us split into half and I was bewildered. It was time, time to fly above and beyond. Time to seep into another universe, another cascade, another frame. Time to exist elsewhere.
Except when I jumped into the nothingness, they followed.
What a wonderful world. Oh, how grandiose! The void stretches into infinity. The stars gleamed without hope, for no hope was bound to their existence. They were as free as freedom gets. I felt free, too, at the time. I felt part of existence. I felt I existed within it, within myself. A waterfall of meteorites showered the sky in which I belonged. Darkness battled Light. I was as feeble as a feather, floating in between, a fragment, a reminder of what I once was. This world accepted me. I co-existed within it, but it accepted the Other too and I forgot they existed.
The world shined bright around the Other. They were the flaw in the cosmos. A never-ending gulf that would ripple into the dimensions beyond. They were the crack in my existence, the reason that will lead to my final fall. They were celebrated. I was cast aside.
I became expandable.
Thus, I swore revenge.