What is the distance between dreaming and awakening? If time means different things in different dimensions, then does it take a second or a thousand years on the bridge? Does one action take a lifetime and are lifetimes lived within the batting of an eyelid? These are pages from Shaden’s journal, one that could never see the light of day.
long time ago…”
Those voices. I hear them, but I don’t really want to know what they are. The sameness of my existence has ripped the last shred of curiosity from my being. Every morning, I clear plates and clean tables at a restaurant with a dirty rag over my right shoulder. They call me a a ‘boy’. The term persists even though I am older than my own father.
“…my boy i...”
I have such a hard time remembering too – how far can a man like that get? I don’t remember much about my childhood or parents; the only memories I have come from a time when the world was underwater. Everything gets hazy and I have to re-surface before I run out of breath. I remember learning to walk, recognizing faces, and even sitting at one of the very same tables I cleaned up recurrently everyday. The haze seems to lift momentarily as my mind roams towards that memory, but there is an invisible bridge preventing it from taking shape. Then the air thickens and it all begins again: the table, the cloth, the swipe.
“…I know you are not…”
The voices are louder today, even my resigned mind senses that. My heart is thudding in my chest and I gasp. All at once or after a wait of a lifetime, I cross the bridge between realities: the incoherence metamorphoses into phrases, then sentences. Suddenly there is no restaurant, no table and no rag over my shoulder. As universes overlap, the fog lifts, bringing everything to light. My dulled mind understands my helplessness all along, why I lived the same day over and over again. I finally recall my last ‘real’ memory before that blinding light, that last moment when the ‘boy’ looked at me and smiled, those two seconds when I slipped off of ma’s lap and hit my head, entering into a coma that became my new life. But father had had enough, and I was unplugged now, gasping my last gasps.
He said, “My boy, I know you can hear me from heaven. I know you moved on from this shell the day you entered the hospital. Ma insisted that we keep it breathing, but you ceased being the Shaden I knew a long time ago. Now that she’s gone, I’m going to do what I should have done a long time back. I feel no guilt for I know you are not alive in there. God bless your soul.”
The last words I ever heard were, “Pull the plug.”