One last conversation

Photo by Fabian Struwe on Unsplash

I kept walking.

The desert reached the horizon caressing the sky there where my longing for freshness ended. I never would have thought I’d go this far just to be so willing to give up. Any sign, and my determination, weak as each step sinking in the sand, would crumble taking me to the land of eternal dreams.

My hair flowed with the light breeze. Then I heard it. A whisper with the form of my name. I stopped, immobile. I looked around but only saw endless mountains of brown and beige. Nothing else.

I kept going. My steps were slow, but constant. Then I heard the whisper, again. This time it was behind me and I turned around as fast as I could. A silhouette was floating like a mirage just a few meters from me. It looked like nothing, but his voice was as clear as mine. It talked again:

“It is dangerous for you to be so far from anywhere, don’t you think?”

I was shocked: “Wait… Are you real? Everything was real until now, or that I thought. Now I’m not so sure.”

“Well, it depends on what you mean by ‘real’. This conversation is real. Does it matter if it’s only for you and me?”

I was looking at him, but couldn’t quite focus. It was as if my eyes tried to grasp the figure the same way you try to catch a living fish right out of the river. “I think I’ve been here for too long. I’m starting to doubt everything. But my hands are real, I feel the pain.”

“Why have you come here?”

“I don’t know. Truth is I don’t know where we are…I am. I think I’m lost. But I know where I want to go. Wait… What do you mean I’m ‘far from anywhere’? Somehow I got here, right?” I looked back to the endless ocean of sand mountains. “Maybe I should keep going”, I thought.

“There is no place you can get from here. I am the only way out.”

I felt the surprise on my face. It could hear my thoughts… it felt like a dream. “The only way out… What the hell does it mean?” I had to keep walking. But the path that had led me there did not promise to change in ten more moons. I wouldn’t last that long.

“Which direction should I take?”

“You have not understood me. I am the only way out. No walk can get you out of here. Have you not noticed yet? You are still in the same spot as when you arrived.”

What was it talking about!? I had been walking for days, watching the sun and the moon dance as the only distraction while the pain in my bones weight like a hundred years of punishment. For sure I had walked.

“I’ve been walking for days. They slow down each time, but this pain resonates in the past nights like a memory that does not leave me alone.”

“Well, look around you. Isn’t everything the same as yesterday? The same sun and the same moon accompany your days. If everything looks the same every day, what makes you think that you will get out of here?”

“No matter how far the limits of this nightmare are, the further I walk, the closer I will be to those pleasures that I have already forgotten.”

“I’m not asking you to believe me. You had a choice; going your way. Now you have two. I offer you an alternative and you will have to decide. Every second you listen to me is one less step you will take. But I repeat: I am the only way out.”

I didn’t know what to do. What if I just stood there and it turned out to be a mirage of my mind lost by heat and exhaustion? But it seemed so real in its defiance of the laws of my world…

“Where am I? …are we? If there is no way out by going forward, what is this place? My burned feet would have sworn we were in the desert.”

The reality that enveloped me was starting to fade away. “I don’t know where I am.” The dunes in the distance had begun to melt under the scorching sun. My feet were completely submerged in color-changing sand.

“Well, it’s a desert now. But it is not a desert. It is nothing in particular but it can be everything.”

I had always thought that when madness makes you its prey it’s better to let it seduce you. “I hope to be friends with my madness, it seems it has come to meet me.”

“Will you help me get out of here?”

“Yes, but this conversation is the only thing I can give you.”

I didn’t think any conversation could get me out of that hell. Truth be told, I wasn’t sure there was any way out. The silhouette was right about one thing: If it’s real to me, then it is. But, what is it?

“Who are you?”

“I am the creator of this place.”

What was it saying? That place was created by the silhouette? My head hurt so much. The landscape was almost unrecognizable. How did I end up there? I couldn’t remember. My mind lost its beginning there where the desert occupied my memory. It was as if I had always been there. The voice kept talking.

“I was not the only creator. You created it with me.”

Everything had stopped making sense in the last minutes? Hours? How long had I been there, talking with that voice? Drops of my skin ended their thirst as they touched the rainbow that was now the ground. The sun and the moon shone together in the sky. What was that place…

From the other end of the room in the most impeccable silence, beautiful, bright eyes gazed at me. Her tears reflected the world, broken around her, as they fell to the ground and spread into hundreds of tiny bits of reality. On a bed of white sheets, my hair flowed with the breeze of the beautiful day outside. Unaware that one more day was escaping time. And it would be the last.

Half engineer, half neuroscientist. Interested in humanities | The Startup, Towards Data Science, The Ascent, Mind Cafe | alber.romgar@gmail.com

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