The Deva’s response wouldn’t leave my head. I realized the urgency of my situation, and that I might be this way, whatever it was, for a long time. As soon as I arrived home, I walked around to all of the nearby gardens to make sure and introduce myself. It became a daily habit for me to carry water to the plants and make sure they were thriving. They may be my only source of food very soon.
At the present time, I had no fear for hunger or want, but I did worry about the loneliness that never seemed to stop aching deep within me. “How can you not remember?” I asked myself, as if on loop, until the words took on a life and color of their own. A mind of their own. A friend of sorts, the melody that guided the phrase around all my thoughts soon became my pet. I named it in a language I couldn’t speak and let it infiltrate the depths of my soul.
Weeks later, I was looking through some old papers that I had written as a child. I had processed the grief enough to begin the path to answers, and I figured the first step would be the archive I had of my own mind.
I found some stories, some scant references to a similar loneliness from when I was 12. I remember these as simple feelings of intense isolation, and not as some sort of actual account, but I couldn’t remove anything from the list of possibilities. I separated those papers out from the rest and started pawing through my computer. My digital archives were much easier to access, and the electricity was still working perfectly, so I’d had no issues retrieving my files.
Some writings from 2012 all seemed to detail some type of cosmic change, at the time a veiled and satirical reference to the Mayan prophecies. But upon further reading, a pale hypothesis started to form in my mind. Indeed, it was one I had been playing with for the past few months, but hadn’t really allowed into my rational mind. There seemed fewer and fewer options now, so I opened the floodgates and let the thoughts consume me.
The thoughts unfolded into a sparse narrative. The story floated across, partially formed already, and I watched it like a film I was just barely interested in.
Fade from white. A past version of myself living in Knoxville, TN drives across a dark skyline, listening to the radio. The sad sounds of Joshua Bell, famed violinist, wash over me, and the twinkling skyline behind me fades out as a synesthetic art piece scrolls over my vision. I suppose I truly did feel alone at that moment, but I can’t remember where I was driving, or why.
When I tried to flesh out this memory, I realized there was nothing else there. I never lived in Knoxville, I stayed in Waco after college. True, I’d thought of visiting once when my close friends moved there after I graduated, but I never made the trip. I quickly got a job on Baylor’s campus working with the entrepreneurship department.
Still, it lingered like a memory deep within me. I could almost visualize myself, looking down to catch a hint of the color blue, and seeing some thin, dorm like college walls around me. It was incredibly difficult to put together in my head, by the story kept unfolding in front of me whether or not I was ready to accept it.
Two years of time condensed into a 30 minute movie that scrolled in front of me. Trials of me living in a city I’ve never been in, working for a company I’ve never worked for, meeting people I’ve never met. And all of it – all of it looked and felt so real. It was me there I was seeing – that I couldn’t refute. But were these memories? And if so, of what?
I decided it was time to consult a friend, again. I’d spent the last few weeks mostly keeping to myself and the gardens, but I knew just who I wanted to talk to.
I drove across Austin to the little garden where I had first met Aza. Approaching tentatively, I accidentally crunched a leaf underfoot and startled myself much to the tree’s delight. She laughed at me (as she so often did) and I started the conversation by foregoing the niceties.
“Aza, what is happening to me. Am I in a coma or trapped in some sort of dream?” She chuckled again. “You may be creating your own narrative, but I’m afraid this is very real.” I hated her response, her cryptic wording, and spat back to her. “This isn’t a game.”
She sternly remarked, “Who said that games weren’t serious? Many games can be played with the reward being life and the failure being death. I assure you, I may think this is funny, but I am not playing with you.”
I resisted the urge to stomp off in frustration. I needed clear answers! I calmed down enough to ask, “Is there something I can do to fix this? Aza, I think I’m dying or something. Please find any answers you can.”
She looked at me, the ethereal way birch trees do, and sighed. “What do you think dreams are?”
The venomous anger rose up within me again, and I felt Snake, my spirit guide, slowly start to coil up my right arm. I relaxed a bit at her presence. But only a bit.
“Dreams are random firings of my neuronal pathways trying to make sense of a chaotic world. Some people theorize that they are the brain’s way of finding the most efficient path of memory, of skill, and of thinking in general.”
Aza waited for me. When it was clear I was finished with my explanation, she started up again.
“Yes, my dear, but what do you think dreams are?”
At first, my anger roiled within me again, but it quickly abated as I understood the dual meaning behind her words. Think. Dreams. Are.
She was trying to help me understand that my being, my thoughts, and my dreams were all just results of … something. It seemed hazy to me. I asked her where I was. She responded, before excusing herself, “B4”.
I thought I’d heard her say “before” but something in the way she said it made me see it synesthetically. Blue B, pale pink 4 with a tinge of green. It was a coordinate of sorts, but to what, I had no clue.
Stay Tuned for Part 4!
Photo Credits: Unblinking Eye Of a Birch by QQ Li
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