Edge of Eternity

I dreamed… Flowing through the aether, lost, unsure, and then… I found myself standing at the end of a corridor, and there before me sat a wizened old woman in a wide-brimmed straw hat. Wearing shabby, and worn clothes. She was smoking a long stem pipe, watching me from underneath the brim. I stood there for a moment or maybe it was an eternity, time holds little meaning here. Finally, she took one last puff and set down her pipe. “Welcome to the end of the universe.” She said in a level but a raspy voice. In my confusion, all I could say is “What?” She looked up at me pale milky eyes filling her aged face. Or maybe it is the beginning of it…” She pointed and I glanced behind me and there was everything, all that existed splayed out in my vision a myriad of galaxies, suns, and planets. I perceived them all within that moment. It seemed to stretch my very being to a point of insanity. The old woman coughed lightly and my focus snapped back to her. “Would you like some tea?” She asked.

“Who are you? where am I?” I asked. Smiling as she poured the tea, she replied “I told you, you’re at the end of the Universe.” She patted the area next to her “Now sit and have some tea with me, I so rarely have visitors.” Confused, I sat at and looking about realized if I didn’t stare into the void, that I was in some sort of hallway that ran through it… maybe that ran through everything. There was a sense of timelessness, of calm. I was handed a cup of steaming liquid and looking into it all I could see was stars. Realizing she never answered the first question I asked again “Who are you?”  She did not respond, simply sipped her tea. I cleared my throat and asked again “Who are you?” and added, “Why am I here?”

She raised her milky gaze to meet my own, “You are here because you need to be.” Confusion flooded over me again. “I’m asleep, right? This is all a dream…?” I partially gazed back over my shoulder into the cosmos and back again not wanting to lose myself to it. “I don’t understand…” I said. She smiled and said, “Drink, it will help.” I looked in the cup wondering if the stars were a refection or if the glass was full of them. He took a sip and everything disappeared.

He was a child playing in the living room, everything seemed blurry and then suddenly came into focus and he knew who he was. Getting up he walked to the kitchen where his mom was doing the dishes and asked. “Momma I’m thirsty?” his mother pulled a glass from the dish rack and poured him some juice. He grabbed it greedily from his mom as she protested. As she tried to put the lid on the sippy cup. “NOOO!” he cried and as his mom looked on worried because he had a habit of drinking from the wrong side, he took a sip the right way. He understood now, and he knew that he understood now.

Reality warped and he sat with his sister quietly playing in the early evening hours. Dad came home and he and his sister laughed as they took turns riding on his feet. And then stood over the big vent their nightgowns billowing out around them. A shift again… his older brother had him handcuffed to the bed, and was beating him with a belt. Shifting… as he was leaving his home town the only life he knew traveling by plane to the south, stepping off the plane to a degree and level of humidity he never would have believed possible. A shift… laying underneath the merry-go-round his friend’s sister kissing him.

It was overwhelming but nonstop the tirade of images. Leaving the base and his friends going to a private school. Being an outsider, a Northerner. His only friend leaving a note in his mailbox saying they could be friends around the neighborhood but not at school. Shifting… The girl on the swim team who liked him, his sister instigating, the closet. The months following. Shifting… He was leaving again, his life uprooted traveling northward, but not to home. To a part of the north where he wouldn’t feel he belonged. Shift… his brother sick, seemingly all the time. A shift… “Are you ok?” He asks timidly through the bathroom door, as his brother has been in there vomiting. “GO THE FUCK AWAY!” the response. Shifting… he sat at the wake, his bothers picture the only thing on display. His brother’s friends, so many friends surrounding them, standing room only. A single tear escapes even though he fights it. The whole room devolves into tears. Shifting… a year later the tears finally flow, horrible and unfettered at his friend’s house surrounded by a bunch of people who do not understand and never will.

He wants it to stop… but time flows through him. He watches the other boys leading the kid away who had gotten onto the ledge. Watches as they all go out of sight, and then he steps up onto it. He stares at the ground desiring an end, desiring peace. The snow falls, fat flakes. A muted hiss fills the air, the beauty of the moment saves him, maybe he saves himself. Shifting… He moves again, but of his own choice. He follows his parents leaving behind the north. Going to a place in which he starts to find himself. Shifting… the years have not been great, but they have not been the worst. As he drives home from a friend’s house, he has an epiphany “I am content.” He says out loud to himself. And as if the universe hears, he watches a shooting star come down, red and angry in the shape of a claw. He is shaken, afraid of the omen.

Shifting… He keeps hearing people talking as though through a wall, he can’t shake it. Then one day they aren’t behind a wall anymore. Disembodied voices, images forming in his vision, sensations he cannot explain away. Shifting… the dreams start. Are they dreams? What are they? A beautiful woman who says he must choose, a daemon in woman form who wants his to submit. Are they the same? Shift… He has learned to cope with it all, but the depression has begun to haunt him again. He is good, but he is also not. He feels lost, he feels alone… He finds himself sitting in front of the sage, and an empty glass in hand. “Why?” he asks setting down the cup. She sat quietly for a moment or maybe an eternity finally answering. “You seek the end; this is the end. But to know the end you must remember the beginning.”

He sat lost in contemplation “Is this really the end? And who are you?” he asked finally. “I am who you needed to meet.” She starts “And this is an end but it’s also a beginning.” Her gaze moves past him, and he follows looking again into the Void. Suddenly he was hurtling through it. Past galaxies, suns, and planets. He flew past them seeing them all, it became a blur. He rebounds and wakes up in bed. It was light outside. The day half over, the memory fading of something important, something he wanted to hold onto, but it is just out of his grasp. It all seemed so important a moment ago. He gets up and gets dressed, going about his life. Feeling a little clearer than he had in a while, and wanting to try harder.

@TheRavingsofa Madman

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