Look, you’re going to have to be patient with me. As far as I can tell you’re well out of your reality, territory, places that you know.
I am too but like to think I can handle it. You’re lost and alone. This is me holding out a hand to take yours. I think I can trace enough of you to lead you home. People make shapes around them and leave those shapes as a trail.
Oh yes, ‘hand’ may mean nothing to you. Tentacle, pseudopodia, wiggly things usually, things that communicate contact, assurance, offer companionship, safety and knuckles. Just try to make sense of everything I’m trying to communicate. We only have words where I come from and they’re completely useless in this place. Hey, you reacted! Something about words being useless? Well, they’re pretty pointless here. Up, down, true, false, life, death, Tuesday, gynaecology: it’s all gibberish. OK, this is good. Somehow we’re communicating around things making no sense. It’s a start.
Wait, let me … don’t know what you’re doing but it is definitely a form of communication. I’m used to speech, art, physical contact and demands for payment … and no response.
You don’t need to grip so hard. I should be gripping you. If I’m right you’ve wandered well into strange territory and it’s going to be hell getting you back because … distractions … that’s why. You see something that looks vaguely familiar, but isn’t, and zoom off only to be disappointed. I’ll end up feeling a failure.
Actually, I have no idea what you want and only default to assuming you’re lost. If we’re lucky you’re dreaming or on drugs or running out of oxygen or whatever chemical you need to think straight. I’ve found your trail; it’s easy to trace the path back to the you you’ve temporarily abandoned.
Right, it’s your hand and mine, some exchange of emotion. You were alone and a bit afraid but now you’re drawing on my familiarity with this place whatever it is. You’re getting confidence from my complete lack of fuck.
You like that attitude, huh? Good for you; I scare the pants off me. I’m either bored or petrified all the time; what sort of a life – or death – is that? I started this lark in my imagination and a bridge grew between it and dreams. Pretty soon I learned that everything I thought was real … wasn’t. Well it was but wasn’t too. I called it the edge of reality and began to see that actual reality, as it were, lay on the side I’d never seen and I’d been living in a shitload of inculcated beliefs and doctrines.
One definition of existence is to be infinitely ignorant and constantly dazed by how much you’ve believed merely because other people told you to.
Grief … I think if I’m to communicate at all I’m going to have to ditch words; I can feel you struggling. Words are a hangover from being human and a bad habit here. It shouldn’t be difficult to drop them; communicating the sense of anything is art and I’m supposed to be OK at that. Hmm, I think I am but that’s never any guarantee. I have been known to harbour breathtaking overestimations of my own competence.
Hey, I got that. You want to stick with me for a while! Good … though I don’t know why I said that. I mean do you actually like my company or just want to eat me later?
I think you understand humour. Do you understand this? In case you’re wondering, this is me imagining I’m being human in a pool at night and pushing off to do backstroke, that ripple round my neck and shoulders. The sensation of cool and … unknown! I’m imagining this is a lot of deep water and hoping you don’t have ideas about imagining electric sharks or jellyfish who use bad language. Don’t be mean.
OK, through your senses? Yes, that’s what I’m seeing … maybe. I think you see me as a swirl of breeze as someone passes. I smell of freshly baked bread. Got it! To you I am the smell of freshly baked bread being wafted as someone… This is interesting … amazing. You don’t actually know about humans and … and they don’t know about you, except as incidental: something on the very periphery of their world. You never knew they were alive. Where is this you’re seeing … smelling … me? Of course, you don’t do words so no names. I reckon it’s some ancient Avanti city where they really know about sunshine and baking.
Right, I’m imagining you as a human, an Indian princess or escaped slave: a rebel! – all flashing eyes and tulwar. Just don’t be exhausting. I like being with you. Are you actually rescuing me?
I don’t want to worry you but you know we were holding hands, or whatever…? Something’s happened and we appear to be joined. Permanently? Why? Is there any point to these questions?
Hang on … repetition … shapes and echoes of shapes: just enough to alert me. I’ve become good at spotting patterns – and there are layers upon layers in this. I think … hmm … where I came from were two sexes, loads if you take in the whole animal kingdom and can wait for bearded biologists to explain things whilst being insanely boring and dribbling in their beer. Two, or as many sexes as required, come together and make a partly random mixture of each other called offspring. Are we bringing two universes or realities together in some Darwinian creation? Don’t answer that if you have a beard. But … I quite like the idea of motion and other sensory data being conscious. I mean motion … any form of change has to be conscious or there’s no point in… Oh boy, we humans have been a bit slow … and egocentric.
So why are you and I joined? Are we … oh: we’re a basic unit, a binary unit or, in common speech, an argument.
Right, we’re going to create a new reality compatible with both our experiences? Why not? I didn’t have any major plans – apart from drifting through the æther while bumping into another reality who blows my mind by accidentally pointing out what a complete ignoramus I am. I suppose I should regard these moments as a resounding success.
Thank you for all that.
I’d better warn you; I’ll end up caring too much, bleeding and burning myself right out. That’s definitely a pattern of mine. It’s not that I’m … look, you just end up caring don’t you? and the words start to have meaning and before you know it you’re alive and it all begins anew. So caring equals life but kills you in the end.
Here we go: all again.
Nice to meet you.
©Gary Bonn, 2020