Friday, May 4, 2012

Hug Your Children

You live your life as you think it is. You move within the world and your environment as you believe them to be. You interact with space, objects, and people as though they are givens.

You wake up to an alarm clock. You go about your day and your routine. There are coffeeshops, cars, tap water, mountains, televisions, conversations. There is work and currency. There are emotions and needs. Human connections deepen and attachments form.

Sadness comes and goes, but this is life. This is your life. This is what you know to be true because there is no alternative. There are no other worlds, at least not ones you can choose to reside in. Hours pass.

You buy a pack of bubblegum at a convenience store. You kiss someone you love on the cheek. You admire the clothing of someone you pass. You experience music and heat and pain.

You understand intuitively what it means to be a person. It's not something you have to think about. You move how you move. Your time is your own. You read a newspaper. You pick up dry cleaning. You crack your knuckles. You straighten your hair.

Then, it all changes. It's not as if you wake up one day and everything is different. There is no night of sleep to ease the transition. One instant, everything is as it's always been. The next: you are alone, in a desert that expands farther than the eye can see. It's not even accurate to call it a desert because it has no beginning or end. There is no other landscape waiting on the other side, some untold number of miles away. This is all there is now. There is nothing else.

There is only sand.

You don't understand what has happened to you. You are utterly alone. You gasp for air but you've forgotten how to breathe. You're not in any danger of dying even as the hot sand rushes into your throat. You won't ever die because you won't ever leave this new, terrible place.

Every time you think you experience a familiar sensation -- something textural or visual or auditory -- it disappears like a mirage before you can even grasp what you were feeling. You've lost the ability to form sounds. The concept of language floats away and you just want to release a guttural grunt, but only silence comes.

Everything you knew and trusted isn't gone, it was never there in the first place. And the harder you try to remember the way things were -- just seconds ago -- the quicker the memories blanch. Now, suddenly, you don't know if you've been in this new place for moments or eons, or if there's even any difference. You just know that there's no going back.

Everything about being a human fades: the feel of your own body, the understanding of your own desires, and the knowledge of your own existence. There's only desert now, only sand and discomfort and fear. Were you ever even alive? You feel like there's something right in front of your face, and if you could only figure out what it is, and how to move your arms and grab it, that everything would make sense. But you're paralyzed and mummified and completely helpless.

You have to keep reminding yourself over and over...

This is sand.

This is sand. 

Because that's all you have left.