I woke up a couple times wishing reality isn’t quite the way it is.
I need to move on. But how? And what does that mean, actually?
I woke up a couple times wishing reality isn’t quite the way it is.
I need to move on. But how? And what does that mean, actually?
11:08. 20th Thursday, 2017. The sun has finally crossed the horizon to light the other side of the Earth. The asian part of humanity. Asia. That reminds me of last september when i went to Tokyo. Weirdest, in a good way, experience of my life so far. Lonelyness at its finest. No knowledge of the language. Barely scratched the surface of the culture. No bearing none what so ever, and above all, no guide to show me around. Internet was a great help. Although, i got lost a couple of times. I was free, kind of.
Back to my appartment. My thoughts vanished. I stared blanckly at the table settled in front of me. The camera caught my attention. Photography. I want to keep on trying to catch fragments of the world as i see it. Well, i’m not there yet. Again, need to pratice. Then the big TV at the end of the room gets my focus, along with the technology surrounding it. On the right, there’s a small jewelry box in shape of my motherland. My mother’s land. Madagascar. Been there as well, last year. Saw the differences what i recall and what it became. Came across insensitive humans and the other half of my DNA. A different kind of loneliness. Oppression and frustation were predominant at that time. Although, emptiness was king. I felt nothing. I moved like a ghost of the child version of myself. Administration pissed me off. Family members pissed me off. They all acted like nothing was happening. Smiles, laughters and social conversations felt inappropriate. Yet, i couldn’t do anything about it. I couldn’t control them. Insensitive.
I tear up more easily than before. It’s annoying. The pain is annoying. As i lean my head back, my eyes land on comics and illustrations displayed on the wall. I look around at everything i’ve drawn so far. The meaning behind each of them gradually became deeper. Darker. My only catharsis. I need those ideas out of my head. I’m tired of being… incomplete. My chest hurts. I can’t stand this feeling. Tears again. Fuck you, Death.
The pain disappeared but the discomfort remained. The young man was lying on a bed, his thoughts running around in his head. An OR… Operation Room. Surgeons were operating on… me. But when? When did i ever get surgery? I didn’t look different. Not younger. Not older. He remembered the moment he zoned out: he wasn’t in contact with anybody. Only wind brushed his skin. So where did that come from? As he raised more questions, his eyes blinked slower and slower to finally closed themselves. The darkness obtruded, silence suppressed noises and whispers, and calm traveled through his body.
A rhythmic sound from afar woke his conscious. As the sound came closer and louder. Simo slitghly opened his eyes, enough for him to scan his surroundings. It was night time still. Blinds were shut but a weak light from outside helped him guess. He let his head fall on the left, saw an empty couch against a white wall, then turned to the right: a window gave to a hallway that few people used. The door was ajar. He looked closer to himself and spotted the origin of the sound. His head came back to its initial position and he felt himself slipping away. Darkness reigned again. All parasitic noises disappeared, except for the recurring bip that rang louder and louder each time. His body felt relaxed: it felt as if gravity had no effect and yet, the bed underneath was very present. A sudden brust of electricity struck him. His body jumped up and down and was pulled from left to right. He tried to open his eyes but in vain. Simo felt his limbs dashing against a barrier surrounding the bed. His body wasn’t responding anymore. The noise intensified. Its rhythm fastened. An eternity seemed to have passed when footsteps rushed into the room. A voice shouted orders, a liquid ran through his vein and hands held him down. Everyone became quiet for a second while the product took effect. Simo’s wild body settled down. The noise became steady. Immediatly, his chest was exposed to the atmosphere, then warm hands applied a regular pressure on him. Less than a minute later, something cold disbursed a wave of electricity to his heart, animating his body for a quick instant. The perpetual bip broke the silence in the room. ‘Charge at 300!…Clear!’. Another shock. Simo’s mind was fully awake. But his corpse wasn’t reacting. On the third attempt, something happened.
Simo’s ventricules felt the electricity: the provoked contraction led to another one. The stagnant blood flowed again, air filled his lungs and his brain showed activity. Simo heard his own breathing: it was fast. He opened his eyes then sat down and gazed around. The room was unfamiliar but he recognized it. He looked down to his right arm: no trace of a needle. Sound of waves slowed the pace of his heart, dispelling his disorientation. Once he gathered himself, Simo stood up and scanned the room. Walls and floor became one – Again – extending to infinity. A tone caught his attention. He looked to his right and saw the hospital room full of surgeons and nurses busy around the bed. He stared at the scene. At the corner of the room, he noticed someone in tears. When a knock on a door made him turn around: Megan. Simo was lost: ‘What’s… going on?’.
‘Yo!’ A known voice resonated. ‘Zeke…?’ The latter appeared in front of him, a smile on his face. ‘You must be confused by all of this.’ He paused as he pointed to the two scenes displaid around them. ‘What is this? Where am i? What’s happening to me? Why are you here?’ His voice was trembling. ‘Breathe. And listen.’ Ezekhiel paused again. ‘See this place… like a bridge. The bridge where dream and reality collide. A peacefully place to make your decision.’ Simo frowned. ‘Which reality do you want to live in?’ Incomprehension could be read on his face: ‘What do you mean which reality? There’s only one reality…right?’ – ‘Right.’ He smiled. ‘Which one is yours: the one where you’re in a hospital bed or the one where you’re at a beach house?’ Simo stayed in silent. ‘You need to choose.’ They made eye contact. ‘I don’t… I don’t understand…’ He took a moment to think. ‘How… Why are you here?’ Simo asked. That smile again.
– ‘I’m not really your friend, Ezekhiel. I am more, like, your support system. I’m here for you. To help you make the right decision.’
– ‘So, there is a wrong decision… What happens if i make the wrong choice?’
– ‘You don’t have much time. You can’t stay here too long, too often. Your body won’t handle it.’ Ezekhiel started to fade away along with the different pictures.
– ‘Wait. What? Then help me!’ Simo yelled. Right before he completely vanished, Simo heard:
– ‘All you need is to wake up!’
Simo opened his eyes. His heart was pounding fast. Drops of sweat wetted his forehead. He was out of breathe, his vision blurry. ‘Wake up! Simo!’ He turned to his left and saw Ezekhiel. In a blink of an eye, Megan approached his bed. She stared at him for a second, put the back of her hand on his forehead and did the same on hers. ‘You have a slight fever.’ she said. As she stepped away, she noticed fear in Simo’s look. ‘Are you ok?… Can you tell me where we are right now?’ The latter analyzed his location. He recognized the place but couldn’t put words to it. ‘Don’t worry. You’re in a safe place. Do you know who i am?’ He nodded: ‘Megan.’ She smiled, relieved. ‘Where’s Zeke?’ he asked. ‘He must be around, somewhere.’ Simo stood out of his bed and walked to the door. He grabbed the handle, jolted it before opening then disappearing behind it.
To be continued
The following night, Simo put down in a notebook every memory he encountered, as detailed as he could. When he finished, he stared at his Moleskine for a moment, a blank face on. Slowly, he came back to reality and leaned on his desk. The tip of his pen acted madly, a rhythm floated in the air. After a while, the silence of the night invaded his room. The pen froze. A drop of blood landed on his hand. He put the pen down, wiped his nose and laid on his bed, eyes locked on a stain on his roof. As seconds passed, darkness surrounded his field of vision. Light was sucked up each time he blinked, until he finally fell asleep.
Summer was coming. The sun decided to wake up earlier each day and stay up a little later each evening. Temperature increased fast, south breezes relieved the atmosphere from its heaviness. The dress code in and out of the streets changed: more skin and less tissues. Ezekhiel showed up at the doorstep of Simo’s house. ‘Good morning, young man. You’re here. And he’s not ready. First floor, you know the way.’ The paternel said. When Ezekhiel entered in Simo’s room, the latter was still in bed. ‘What are you doing?’ He sat down: ‘What are you doing here?’ he whispered. A long sighed resonated in the room. Ezekhiel spotted his bag, grabbed it and left: ‘You have five minutes to meet me downstairs. I have your notebook. If you don’t show up, a special someone will read.’ A heavy silence settled for a second then noises of rush emanated from the door. ‘My notebook. Where are we going?’ Simo asked as he hopped in the car. ‘Somewhere peaceful. But first, a need to pick up somethings.’ Ezekhiel checked his left side, put his signal on and left. They drove for fifteen minutes through Toai City before making a stop in front of a ten-floor-building, where two girls were waiting bags and luggages at their feet. ‘By ‘something’, you meant two human beings, in a female gender? Including that special someone…’ Simo said as he turned to the driver. The latter got out, greeted quickly Thea and Megan, and loaded their bags in the trunk. They took place at the backseat and he drove away from the city. The road trip happened in an awkward mood. The girls talked in whispers to each other while Ezekhiel watched every move Simo made. ‘What?’ The latter asked. ‘Since when do you have a car?’ A voice came from the back. ‘Euhm since i have my driver license… two days ago.’ – ‘Alright, i feel safe.’ Thea let go in a sigh.
Once arrived, the first thing they did was getting food. They went to the closest restaurant. It was small, intimate: lights were dimmed and music was barely audible. Then they headed to the house they rented, unpacked and took a walk alongside the ocean surrounding them. Thea pulled back Ezekhiel, slowing their pace: ‘So, what is this all about?’ The latter gathered his thoughts: ‘Do you remember the white dwarf that landed in Toai? Well, Simo, right here, touched it.’ Thea looked surprised. ‘So, since then, he can, sort of, see anyone’s memory just by touching them.’ He paused. ‘For the last few weeks, i noticed some things: he starts to be forgetful, misplace things, lose track of time and space…’ – ‘Alzheimer?’ She interrupted. ‘That’s what i thought too, but i haven’t enough symtpoms to tell. That’s why i organized this trip… And for other reasons.’ They turned around as they reached the end of the beach and walked back to the ephemere home. ‘And then? What are you going to do? What’s your plan? And why not telling his parents?’ Ezekhiel turned to her. They stared at each other for a moment, then: ‘He needs to accept his situation. So that we can help him.’ – ‘How?’ He got lost in his thoughts once again. As he was about to explain his plan, in front of him, Simo froze. He caught up to him and faced him: his friend’s nose was bleeding and his eyes were blank. ‘Hé! Simo! What’s wr…’
The young man was trapped in his own body. His hearing slowly faded away and his vision stuck on the scenery in front of him. Without notice, the sand below his feet turned into a white concrete matter. Away, in the background, he could see a cold room filled with strange instruments. People were alarmed and moving fast. Drops of blood smeared on the floor. Simo walked closer. The men and women surrounded a table where someone laid. His face was covered by a towel, leaving his body in the sight of all. That part was cut in two then teared apart. As the image engraved in his mind, Simo started to feel a discomfort. He stared at the hands coming in and out of the corpse, inserting tools and towels, and blood sucked out. Before he vomited, he chose to acknoledge the identity of the patient. He approached the bust and looked at the sleeping face. As soon as he laid eyes on it, a violent pain bursted from his stomach. He reached out for it and felt a warm liquid staining his shirt. He looked down and realized it was blood. He panicked, fell on the floor and agonised.
‘SIMO!!’ The voice woke him up. He returned to the beach where wind blew in the rhythm of waves crashing on land. As he realized it, he slowed his heartbeat down, gathered himself up and smiled: ‘I’m good.’. The group went back to the rented house. On the way, Simo shut himself up, afraid of what he has seen. He tried to convince himself that it was nothing. When they arrived, unable to calm down, he pulled his best friend into a room and explained what happened to him. ‘Maybe it’s just my imagination…’ he ended. ‘But?’ Ezekhiel insisted. ‘It felt… real. I, i don’t know. I don’t know what’s going on with me…? Maybe it’s the white dwarf. Maybe i’m losing my mind. I don’t know but it’s getting crazier and scarier… What do you think it is?’ Ezekhiel took his time to answer. He tried not to disturb him more than he already is. ‘I don’t think your mind created something like that out of nowhere.’ – ‘So it’s the white dwarf. But what does that mean?’ Ezekhiel shook his head. He didn’t want to push too far: ‘I don’t know.’
To be continued
Few weeks went on. ‘How do you feel?’ Ezekhiel asked as they were heading towards a basketball field. Simo looked at him a small smile on his face, then walked away. ‘Still have an headache?’ He nodded. ‘Do you think it’s related to the white dwarf?’ He looked at his friend without saying a word. When, suddenly, Simo was brought to a coffee shop. Lights were dimmed, the room was full of students, discussions floated in the air, accompanied by a familiar song in the background. Simo scanned the place. In front of him were two girls he recognized: his good friend, Megan, and Ezekhiel’s complicated ex-girlfriend, Thea. He stepped closer to hear what they were saying. ‘Hey, listen! That’s Weathered by Jack Garratt!’ Her friend looked up and listened carefully then shook her head and raised her shoulders before scrolling back through her phone. Simo had the same reflex: he looked up to a speaker and focused on his audition. …My weathered soul, and memories reclusive, elusive, help me take ’em out… His fingers synchronised with the drums. As soon as he smiled, the music faded away along with the coffee shop. Ezekhiel appeared in front of him and a breeze found its way in his coat. ‘Oh, I’m sorry.’ A female voice resonated behind him. He turned around and Megan was standing there. They shared a looked. ‘Hi!’ she said with enthousiasm. ‘…Hi’ Simo replied. A silent settled. ‘Euhm, what are you doing… here?’ He asked. Megan gazed around, stopped a second on someone on her left then continued her scanning. Simo picked up on that pause and gave a look in the same direction: Thea was buying some drinks. ‘Oh! I see.’ – ‘Hé, Megan! How are you doing?’ Ezekhiel interrupted. ‘You know, i’m a basketball fan.’ The latter was skeptical. He looked at Simo who looked at him. ‘What?’ He shook his head. ‘You’re going to be late.’ Ezekhiel hurried up and disappeared in the crowd.
– ‘So; why are you here?’ Simo started the conversation as they walked towards to center of the agitation.
– ‘Thea… wanted to come. So, she forced me to go along. So, what happened at the party?’
– ‘The party?’
– ‘Thea’s birthday. You saved someone… Euh… Josh, right?’
– ‘Oh! That.’
– ‘That? Don’t act so cool. What you did was incredible! Reanimating someone like that! How did you know? You reacted so fast!’
– ‘I… it was just luck. I saw him wondering around the pool. I just didn’t really think about what i was doing.’
– ‘That’s what makes it incredible. What happened after that, you know?’ She glanced at him: his behaviour was strange.
– ‘Yeah, he stayed a few days at my place then moved out to New York with his grand-parents.’
– ‘His grand-parents? What happened to his parents?’ Simo hesitated.
– ‘His mother passed few years ago and his father was beating him ever since.’ He paused. ‘Now, he’s in jail, i think… I should ask my dad.’
– ‘Wow… Sounds like a movie.’
– ‘I know.’
– ‘But he’s fine, now?’
– ‘Yeah. He’s safe, now.’
– ‘What’s going on with you?’ Simo looked at her. ‘You’re dodging everyone. I mean, we’re in the middle of a crowd, i know, but you’re too careful.’
– ‘Oh. My shoulder hurts. That’s also why i’m not playing today.’ He glanced at her and saw her worry face. ‘And i have an headache.’
– ‘Not in a great shape.’ He shook his head.
They arrived at the side court. Each team occupied the field, passing the ball amongst players. The focus grew as the countdown kept on going. The anticipation spread through the spectators that gathered around. Megan kept watch on her friend from the corner of her eyes. The latter examined every player then called Ezekhiel. They exchanged few words in a whisper, pointed to some of his opponents before the coach called his team. ‘What did you tell him?’ Thea asked. Simo jumped of surprise: ‘Oh! I didn’t expect you to… be here… Nothing special. Just tips…’ At the same moment, a group of guys made their way to the first row, pushing Thea against him.
In a matter of second, Simo traveled through time: darkness replaced sunlight, people emptied the place, leaving two teenagers alone in the middle of the field. The leftovers of the previous day’s heat was interrupted by a breeze, making shadows dance on the ground. Branches cracked releasing few leaves. The teenagers listened to the sweet sound of elements crashing into each other. They were just sitting there, staring at the stars. ‘Well?’ started Ezekhiel. ‘I lov…’
Day light covered the park. Simo and Thea looked at each other, as they came back to the present. ‘You’re alright?’ He asked as he saw confusion and a bit of fear in her eyes. ‘Be careful, man. There are people around.’ His interlocutor didn’t care enough to turn around. ‘Let it go, Simo. The game is about to begin.’ Thea said. She gave him an insistant look before he calmed down and moved his attention to the referee. The latter blew the whistle. The game began. Ezekhiel jumped higher than his opponent, taped the ball behind him and ran forward. His teammate quickly crossed the middle of the field, threw the ball to the basket, penetrating the defense. Ezekhiel caught the ball, made a step then a fadeaway underneath a defender’s arm. A whistle. ‘2 points for The Pandas.’ The scorer looked at the audience and made a head sign to one person. Simo responded the same way with an aura of proudness surrounding him. He felt eyes starring at him: ‘I taught him that.’ Megan let a laugh slipped. His attention turned away from the players and focused on a the sky. His look was blank. Did you know that hummingbirds were able to fly backwards. He blinked to come back from his absence. He turned his head and looked for the origin of the voice. But everyone’s eyes were glued to the court. The first quarter went fast, led by The Pandas by six points. ‘Did you hear that?’ He asked to Megan. She looked at him, her eyebrows frowned: ‘…No…’ Instantly, he held his head. Dizziness got to him once again. ‘Simo?’ Simo!? The latter stood still for a minute. Then he looked up: his face was peaceful. The pain disappeared as fast as it resurfaced. ‘You’re ok?’ Thea asked. ‘Ha… Yeah, i’m fine.’ He crossed eyes with Megan. She looked concerned: ‘Your nose. You’re bleeding.’ He located the blood, apologized and left the young women by themselves.
He locked himself in the public restroom of the park. He stared at the mirror, toilet paper on his face. The bleeding wouldn’t stop. What’s happening? Is this related to … A strong pain traveled through his brain. Blood flowed profusely. What’s going on? What can i do?…
– ‘Hé! Simo! Open the door! Simo! Simo!! Simo!!!’
– ‘Wait… I need a minute…’ Simo whispered.
Suddenly, he found himself catapulted in a strange place: roof and floor became one. A strong light enlightened the room. There was no shadow. No wall. Now and then, shooting stars appeared around him. Simo looked around him: he flew and yet, was stable on his feet. As he noticed that his pain was gone, he heard a voice from afar:
– He’s in cardiac arrest! Get the defibrillator. Page Dr. Carl!!
– What’s happening to him?
– Parker! Take them out of the room!
To be continued
The next morning, Simo woke up alone in his room. Sunlight encompassed him. A strong pain immerged from his eyes. He tried to sit but, as soon as he lifted his head, he started to lose balance. He leaned on his arm but the world kept on spinning around him. The pain migrated to his frontal lobe. A desire to vomit grew in him. The floor below disappeared. His heart beated faster, he was out of breathe and his vision became blurry. Panic got to him. Numbness invaded his body. Mechanically, he moved his fingers and realized there was a solid matter underneath. He focused on that, kept on moving his hand to regain sensation of his body and took deep breaths that slowed his heartbeat. He regained his composure.
‘Simo! Wake up! Josh’s father is here.’ The latter jumped: his pupils dilated, his muscles tightened, his mind lost in between two worlds. Time stood still. Then Simo took a deep inspiration: he forgot to breathe. His sight cleared. He was confused; the floor and the roof were in place. Simo felt the warmth of the sun on his skin and could hear birds cooing outside of the walls. He gazed around and recognized the harmony of his room. Although, what he experienced seemed to be a dream or an hallucination, his headache was very present and it spread to his temporal lobe. ‘What?’ Simo located the origin of his ache. When he looked at Ezekhiel, his eyes burnt. ‘What? Who’s here?’ He said as he stood up. ‘Josh’s father is at your doorstep. Let’s go! Your father is waiting for you to… I don’t know, do something.’ Ezekhiel announced. Five minutes later, Simo joined his parents at the door. ‘Where’s my son?’ Josh’s father. He had no response. ‘Tell me where he is?… JOSH! COME OUT!’ He started to lose his patience. ‘Calm down, sir.’ Simo’s father stepped up. ‘JOSH! You, little scum! You better make him step out or…’ – ‘Or else what?’ Simo interrupted.
The latter stared straight the abusive man in the eyes. Unafraid.
– ‘What are you going to do? Beat me up? Then what? Drag your son out of my house to yours then beat him up a little bit more? I don’t where i’m going with this but i have a question: where’s your wife?’ Simo realized he touched a sensible subject. The man’s face changed. Simo glanced at his right. ‘I’m sorry. I thought wrong: i thought you killed her but from your expression, it seems like you didn’t. I’m guessing you started to drink after her death, then. Trying to forget, grieving, i understand… I saw the pictures on your walls, when we broke in your house. You looked happy: you, Josh and your wife. She didn’t look – how can i say this – like, dangerous. No, that’s not the word…’
– ‘Violent.’ His father helped.
– ‘Violent! That’s it! She didn’t seem violent. None what so ever.’
– ‘Your point being.’ His father tried to shorten his son’s speech.
– ‘My point is that what you’re doing right now, who you’re becoming, right now, isn’t the person she fell in love with. I don’t think that she would have been happy seeing you beating her son like that.’
As Simo voiced his thoughts, Josh’s father felt the anger grow bigger in him to a point where he couldn’t control himself anymore. He walked towards the young man and punched him in the nose. Simo fell on the ground. Josh’s father attempted to hit him more but Simo’s father intervened. Simo’s mother called the police. Ezekhiel ran to Simo to make sure he was alright. And Josh stood there: overwhelmed. The police arrived, five minutes later, breaking the fight bewteen the fathers. Two officers handcuffed both of them and brought them to the police station to clarify the situation in a neutral space. Another asked Simo, his mother and his friends some questions then notified them that a social worker will come within the hour. ‘Here: put some ice on your nose.’ Ezekhiel handed a towel filled with ice cubes. They sat in cercle in the kitchen waiting for the bell to ring. A silence settled.
‘What now?’ Josh’s voice resonated in the air for the first time since he left his house. Simo looked at him. The latter had fear in his eyes. Then Simo turned his head to Ezekhiel hoping he will have an idea. But he remained silent. ‘Wait for the social services to come and we’ll figure it out then.’ Simo’s mother said. Her son took a minute to think. He stared at the table, his hand pressing the towel on his nose. ‘Do you have any family other than your father? Like an aunt or uncle.’ he asked. ‘Grandparents.’ Josh said. ‘My mom’s parents live in New York.’ Simo looked up. He grabbe his phone and handed it to Josh. The latter entered a phone number then handed it back to its owner. ‘Do you talk to them often?’ Simo asked while the tone rang. Josh shook his head. ‘When was the last time you saw them?’ Josh raised four fingers in the air. ‘Months?’ He shook his head again.
– ‘Are they ni…. Hi! Good morning! Am i speacking to Josh Scarrey’s grand-parents?… Hello, sir! I’m sorry to call you this early on Sunday. I am a friend of Josh’s and euhm, there’s a bit of a situation that you might solve with us… Ha? So he was violent even before your daughter died?… Oh. Alright, i see… Yes… He’s fine. He’s next to me right now… I’ll let you talk to him in a minute, he’s eating… Yes, i was wondering, well, we were wondering if it was possible for you to become his foster parents or guardians. To give him a safe place to live until he can fly with his own wings…’
– ‘What are you saying?’ Ezekhiel commented. Simo stepped away.
– ‘Do you know what that implies, right?… I mean, financially, could you handle it?… Oh! Perfect!… Mmh, mmh… Ok, cool! Well, for now, i can’t do much. Since i’m just a kid, still. But a socail worker is going to come to my house to talk to Josh about his situation. We’ll explain to her/him and talk about you… Euh, yes, my mother is here: she’ll do the talking… And after, that, Josh will wall you back to let you in the know. And that would be it… Ok… I let you talk to him.’
On that note, Simo gave his phone to Josh who left the room for more privacy. Simo reported the conversation to his mother and Ezekhiel. An hour later, a woman appeared at their door step. She requisitionned the living room to speak to Josh. Simo’s mother insisted in being next to him throughout the process.
Simo and Ezekhiel were locked out of the conversation. Simo glanced in their directions some time to times but his headache intensified. ‘Are you alright?’ Ezekhiel noticed the discomfort his friend was experiencing. The latter nodded. He massed his skull to ease his pain. It didn’t seem to work: ‘I’m going to lie down for a moment.’ As he walked through the hallway, he met the social worker. She stopped and scanned him, a smile on her face. ‘Hi!’ she introduced herself. Simo turned around. They starred at each other for ten seconds then the social worker realized her strange attitude. ‘You must be Simo. Josh’s friend. The one who convinced him to walk away from his abusive father. Josh yarned me.’ she said as they shook hands. ‘Euh, yeah. I mean, yes.’ Simo replied. She used her right hand.
They teleported to another house, the social worker rejuvenated by twenty years. The room they were in was dark: blinds were shut and lights were off. She looked up to Simo, fear in her eyes. Suddenly, a slammed door made her jump. A man rushed towards her, a belt in his hand. As he came closer, he prepared his arm behind his back. The little girl made a step backward, her hands as only shield. The man was close enough. He swang his arm. The belt followed the movement.
Before the belt touched its target, Simo came back in his own house. The social worker’s face was blank: her eyes were wide open, her heart skipped a beat, a chill went through her spine. Suddenly, her facial expression turned into worry. ‘Your nose… is bleeding. Are you alright?’ Ezekhiel joined them, intrigued by their sudden immobilization. The social worker offered him a tissue but the latter seemed to have frozen. His vision became blurry again then returned to normal. ‘Are you alright?’ Simo looked up: ‘Mmh? Yeah, i’m fine. Sorry.’ The social worker smiled to him. She said goodbye and left.
The three teenagers gathered in Simo’s room. Discussions were flowing like they were old friends. Josh was silent most of the time but a smile appeared on his face. Fear slowly vanished from his mind: he felt safe. When the conversation faded, he asked: ‘How did you know about me?’ Simo took a moment to think: ‘Euhm…’ – ‘You have bruises. When he rescued you at the party, yesterday.’ Ezekhiel responded. Josh was lost in his thoughts. He stood up and enclosed himself in the bathroom. Ezekhiel scanned his friend.
– ‘What’s going on?’ he asked.
– ‘Yesterday, we went to a party…?’ A silence passed.
– ‘Is that a question? Or an affirmation?’ Simo thought.
– ‘A question.’ Another silence.
– ‘Thea’s birthday… You don’t remember?’
– ‘Apparently not.’
– ‘Where do you think we met Josh?’ Simo remained silent. ‘You don’t remember.’
Ezekhiel’s tone was grave. He looked at Simo who seemed worried as well. Am i losing the small control i have on this thing? Simo thought. Josh came back in the room and noticed a familiar look on his saviors’ faces: both of them were scared.
To Be Continued.
The Messenger | This is a long one | If you have a chance to say one last thing to someone you lost: what would you say?
The lasts scenes were something i personnally lived. Seeing an empty appartment – once again – but this time, the goodbye was slightly different. More like a ‘real farewell’. The kind i didn’t expect to say or feel before i would be very old. Or never, actually. But it happened.
This will also be – hopefully – my lasts drawings about it. I’m moving forward. I can’t stay still forever.
I waited five minutes before the only door at the end of the hallway opened. A man appeared behind it. A dark suit on with a white shirt and a red tie. I thought it was a bit too dress up for a psychologist. But whatever. I stood up as he greeted me then suggested i enter in his office. The room was pretty large, allowing a desk surrounded by three chairs, a couch and a library to coexist. It was quiet. The closed door isolated us from any sound coming from the outside world. A bubble. Safe and dangerous at the same time. He offered me a seat on the couch, right away. I waited for him to sit first then mimicked him. I sat at the edge, far away from him. I look at him: he had a notebook he already wrote on. When he was done, he looked up to me, gave me a smile then waited. After a long minute, anxiety grew in me.
– ‘What are we supposed to talk about?’ i asked.
– ‘I don’t know. What do you want to talk about?’ he replied.
– ‘Euhm, i don’t know.’
– ‘I see that you keep on looking around. What’s on your mind?’ The remark surprised me. I thought i was subtile. I shook me head and raised my shoulders as an answer. ‘You must be thinking of something.’ he insisted.
I hated those kind of questions: what do you think about? Do you trust me? Well, before you asked me that, i did trust you. Now, i think you’re suspicious. So, no, i don’t. When the psychologist said i must be thinking about something, my mind went blank: i stayed quiet. He looked at his watch. I checked the clock on the wall. Seven minutes has passed.
– ‘So we just let the hour pass in silence?’ I slightly nodded. ‘Why did you came here for, then?’ He asked.
– ‘I was asked to. My brother… asked me to.’
– ‘And you always do what he ask you to do?’
– ‘Not always.’
– ‘Why did you choose to do this?’ I thought about it: i was about to say that i didn’t know, but, obviously, it would end the conversation short.
– ‘I don’t know.’ I said it anyway. ‘By curiosity… I guess’ He wrote it down.
– ‘Just out of curiosity? Do you know why he asked you to come to therapy?’
– ‘Euhm, i guess because he’s going to therapy himself. Maybe he wants me to experience the same thing. So that i can undersand.’
– ‘Understand what?’
– ‘Why he’s going to therapy.’
– ‘And do you understand it?’
– ‘I do.’
– ‘Sounds like you didn’t need this to get it.’ I smiled. ‘And why do you think he’s going to therapy?’ I took a minute.’Do you think you need it too?’ I remained silent. ‘How are you doing?’
– ‘I’m good.’ Another question that i hated.
– ‘That doesn’t sound like an honest answer.’
– ‘It didn’t sound like an honest question.’
– ‘Do you think i’m a dishonest person?’
– ‘No. I just think it’s… not a sincere question.’
– ‘Why do you think that?’ I sighed. ‘Tell me.’
– ‘Usually, when people ask that question, they don’t really want to know how the other person is doing. All they want to hear is ‘yes, i’m doing well’. Whether they are a good person or an asshole.’
– ‘What makes you think that?’
– ‘Just…Observation.’ My lips were sealed. He let go of a smile.
– ‘What if i’m really interested in knowing your state? What would be your answer?’
– ‘I’m good.’
– ‘Same answer. Why?’
– ‘Because i am.’
– ‘You don’t open up to people much, do you?’ I looked at him straight in the eyes.’Why is that?’
– ‘No special reason.’ He smiled again. He let a moment pass.
– ‘Tell me: why now?’ I didn’t understand. ‘I’ve been following your brother for few weeks, now. He told me about you, a few times. He told me he asked you many times to come before. So why now? What changed your mind?’
– ‘…It’s her birthday, soon.’ i whispered.
– ‘Your mother’s?’ I nodded. ‘When is it?’
– ‘And you felt like you needed to talk to someone? How do you feel about it?’ A ghost passed by. ‘What are you going to do that day?’
– ‘I don’t know. Probably nothing.’
– ‘Are you going to meet with your brother?’
– ‘Probably not. I don’t feel like being around people…’
– ‘You feel better on your own?’ I shyly smiled, my look was stuck on the carpet. ‘What are you doing when you’re alone?’
– ‘I stay busy: watching shows, videos, drawing, listening to music…’
– ‘Drawing? What kind of drawing?’
– ‘Euhm, whatever comes to my mind.’
– ‘What was your last drawing?’
– ‘A photography that was taken when i was smaller. I think.’
– ‘You think?’
– ‘I’m not sure that picture truly exists or it’s just a memory i made for myself.’
– ‘You don’t have it?’ I shook my head. ‘What was it?’
– ‘It’s my mom and i in front of our old house. She’s, sort of, leaning on me.’
– ‘So you recreated it?’ I nodded. ‘You think about her often?’
– ‘Every day. Every time i do something, i think about calling her, telling her everything.. But i can’t. Not anymore.’ I paused. Then a laugh slipped as tears blurred my sight.
– ‘What’s funny?’
– ‘Euhm, i…now that she’s gone, i want to talk to her. But, before…I didn’t have anything to tell her. That’s just… that’s just… fucking dumb…I’m an…hyprocrite.’
– ‘Why do you think that?’
– ‘I don’t feel like i have the right to… feel this way.’
– ‘You mean being sad?’ I nodded. ‘You know it’s human. You just lost someone you loved.’ As i satyed quiet, he continued: ‘Why do you feel like you don’t have the rights to be sad?’
– ‘I’ve never… I haven’t shown her my affection. I was cold and mean to her… I rejected her.’ A tear dropped on my hands.
– ‘It’s not your fault, if she’s…’ The psychologist’s sentence faded away.
Dumb sentence. I closed my eyes when that thought immerged in my mind. I took few seconds to recollect myself. Then when i opened them, i found myself at my desk, a dozen of files to work on for the day. Noises from the background gently arrived to my ears: people talking, laughing, greeting each other, sounds of printers, computers starting, keybord being smashed by cafeinated fingers. Suddenly, a closer voice pulled me out of that confusing state between reality and dream: ‘Are you ok?’ I looked at my left and saw my co-worker’s concerned face. I realized that my eyes were filled with salty liquid and my chicks were wet. My heart was pounding and my throat closed on itself. I opened my mouth to answer but words couldn’t get through. I stood up, apologized rudly and walked as fast and as discretly as possible to the bathroom.
As soon as i locked myself, i broke down. Fucking imagination…
Bright. Yellow. And blinding. The sun was high in the sky when Simo opened his eyes. He sat down and looked ahead of him. The impact of the white dwarf created a crater in the middle of the park. The dirt has settled down on the ground, covering the green grass. Simo felt a pain coming from his brain. A strong ache. As he tried to control his misery, he heard a branch crack. He scanned the area when someone suddenly grabbed him by the collar then dragged him behind a tree and covered his mouth. They stood still for few seconds when a group of armed men, dressed all in black, invaded the field. ‘All clear.’ each one of them yelled to their partners. Simo felt less pressure around his chest. He turned his head to take a look at who kidnapped him. ‘Zeke…’ he whispered. The latter ordered him to stay quiet. They both glanced behind them: men in orange arrived carrying heavy cases. They started to analyze the object while the men in black secured the place with barriers. Ezekhiel poked Simo on the shoulder then showed him the way. As silently as they could be, they ran away on the opposite direction from the tumult.
Once they were out of any possible reach, they slowed down and mingled with the crowd. ‘What was that?’ Simo asked. Ezekhiel looked back, making sure they weren’t followed. ‘I don’t know. I just found you lying there. What happened?’ Simo tried to recollect his memories but they were fuzzy. ‘I touched it then…’ – ‘You blacked out.’ Ezekhiel finished. Simo nodded. As they made their way in the crowd, Simo was shaken by a passer-by. For a split second, something changed: his left foot sinked into sand before concrete reappeared. He slowed his pace before stopping. His headache amplified and the world spinned around him. His vision became blurry then darker and darker. ‘You’re alright?’ Ezekhiel asked. No respond. Simo lost balance all of a sudden then blacked out. The next thing he knew, he woke up in a room he recognized. Next to him, his friend was sitting in a chair, watching his computer with a particular attention. ‘Mmh, what happened?’ Simo mumbled. Ezekhiel raised his head then turned to his bed. He pointed a glass of water on the nightstand: ‘You fainted.’ As Simo drank few sip, he laid his eyes on the screen. Ezekhiel was watching the news about the white dwarf: journalists discovered its landing point and has surrounded the scientists that were studying the area. ‘It appeared, from the footage we received from one of our reporter on site, that the dead star created a relatively large crater in the middle of Kiho Park. But it seems that there is no object at the bottom of it. Scientists are actually analyzing and researching for the white dwarf….’ Ezekhiel gazed at Simo to have some explainations. The latter noticed a look on him. Thoughts and images of the lasts events ran into his mind. ‘It disappeared…?’ He finally said. His friend nodded. ‘You didn’t see anything when you found me?’ A silence passed, letting Ezekhiel time to think. ‘Mmmh, no. I don’t think there was anything.’ he replied. ‘What happened?’ Simo took a deep breathe and narrated his evening. ‘And what happened before you fainted today?’ Simo thought: ‘I bumped into a woman then… walked on a beach for a second.’ – ‘A…beach…But… we’re in land.’ Ezekhiel said. Simo agreed. He stood up then started to pace, trying to understand what was going on. He let his eyes travel on the room’s walls, his mind went empty until he realized he wasn’t in his room but in Ezekhiel’s: ‘Wait. How did you know i was in Kiho Park?’ The latter stood up and charged his computer: ‘You’re parents called me this morning asking if you were here… I told them you were still sleeping, then i figured you went to the park to see the star.’ – ‘Clever.’ Simo replied before yawning. ‘Well, thanks. I can’t think of anything right now.’ They both understood that it was time for them to go separate ways. As they were starting their handshake, Simo felt strange. The wallpapers faded, leaving room for trees. The bed and all furnitures disappeared, green grass replaced the floor and a gentle wind blew. Simo recognized the place. Kiho Park. He scanned around him and saw Ezekhiel running towards someone sitting on the grass. He grabbed him then dragged him behind a tree right before a swat team got closer to Simo. The latter looked at his feet: he was standing in the crater. He looked for the space stone but there was no trace of it. Zeke was telling the truth. On that thought, he found himself back in his friend’s bedroom. ‘You’re alright?’ He gazed around, trying to find his bearings. ‘What? What happened?’ Ezekhiel insisted. Simo felt lost, he didn’t understand and couldn’t explain it. As he stood still, Ezekhiel poked him on his shoulder sending Simo deeper into paralysis. After a long ten seconds, the latter regained consciousness and looked at his friend with wide eyes. Ezekhiel reached for the shoulder one more time to bring him back to reality, thinking he went on auto-pilot mode again, but Simo dodged him. Ezekhiel felt a bit confuse. He saw a light in his friend’s eyes. ‘I..I think… that when someone touch me…I’m teleported…In the past.’
To be continued
7 billions. We are 7 billions souls on this big piece of rock. When you think about it. When you think about yourself amongst those 7 billions people, you are small. You are no one. Until you meet those that make you important. Those who prioritize you. Those who love you. Truly.
Amongs those several millions minds, I only had two members of this community that are by my side. At all cost. They are my priorities, my world, my anchors. My everything. Without them and because of them, I became who I am today.
I haven’t always been this way. Others would describe me as an introvert. Shy. A man of few words. But my friends know who I am. And why I became who I am now. A certain event appeared in my biography. Sad event where randomness, gun, panic, fear, misunderstanding, bullet and blood meet. That event changed me. I’m not afraid of admitting it: the loss is unbearable. It all went from white to black in one night. Since that moment, I shut myself in. My world stopped moving. My mind went into a deep coma. My body entered an automatic mode. The 6,999,999,997 other human beings kept on moving. Most of them don’t know. It feels unfair and inconsiderate of them to live their lives like nothing happened. But they don’t know. So it’s hard to blame them. On the other hand, few of them know. A very few. They also keep on living normally, but every time they are around me, they have that weird energy where they need to show their compassion, their understanding of my feelings. When it’s unnecessary. In the end, no matter who I am around with, I will never be true to them. I created a fake smile, a fake state of happiness so that I won’t see those pity eyes anymore. As time goes by, the fake became true but fragile. Every now and then, it cracks to fall apart. I try to keep myself together. Thinking that I have to. I need to.
After a while, I fing myself laughing. With my heart. Some random objects, sentences or behaviours remind me memories. Memories that used to be painful are now nostalgic. I understand now what the feeling of missing someone means.
The world keeps on gravitating around the sun. Days keep on passing. Then weeks turn into months. Soon I will experience holidays without them. Soon I will overcome this feeling. Soon I will feel undepressed. I’m fighting this darkness inside of me every single day, at every single hour, minute and every single second. I don’t want to become a negative person. I don’t want to project a negative energy into this world. There’s already enough of that. I need light back in my life. And I feel like I can’t have it from anyone else. No one has experienced what i’m living now. Even those who lost a member of their family. I will never understand their loss because I don’t know their relationship with the lost ones. I don’t know how much important they were to each other. I will never understand their loss. And they will never understand mine. So instead of waiting for someone to enlighten my mind, I decided to do it myself. Slowly but surely, brightness will overcome darkness. Slowly but surely, I will be better.
Mike had a determined look on his face as he said those last words. A silent followed. Then a female voice came from his right: ‘Thank you for sharing, Mike.’ The latter nodded as everyone repeated shyly those words. Few minutes later, after someone else spoke, the meeting ended. Everyone stood up: some of them took a cup of coffee to slowly get back to reality, others helped putting the chairs away and cleaning the room. As for Mike, he immediately left without a word. The fragile state of happiness seemed to have been shattered. He went straight to his appartment, ignoring few of his neighboors. As he locked his door, tears came up. His heart beat faster and faster, skipping a beat every now and then. He could barely breathe. He managed to put himself together for a split second then fell down on his knees.
An urge of rage and anger needed to come out. He stayed still for a moment, tears flowing on his chicks. His body let itself fall on the side, defeated by grief. Slowly, tears became rare, thoughts left his mind and his muscles relaxed. He fell asleep.