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He stared out from behind his eyes wide shut. In front of him, displayed like countless myriad millions television screens laid one next to each other, were the lives of everyone he’d ever lived — partially, completely, not at all or fully.
He focused on one where he was little Jane being picked up and twirled by her dad. In ecstasy, Jane laughed in joy and giggled in fear as she twirled higher and faster. These are the moments she would remember with elation for the rest of her life, years after her father died in a tragic motorbike accident that could have been avoided — years after Jane has her own kids, twirling them with the same gusto every opportunity she’d had.
Focusing again, James was Ira being raped by four men in a back alley. The pain, anguish, fear and feel of the knife built anxiety and pain, paranoia and shame for a lifetime — never to be forgiven, forgotten, and never to be repaired.
He was the rapists, exacting dominance. Both the shameful and the shameless.
He was the onlooker, too scared to intervene. Coward. Dastardly.
He was the doctor, the father, the stillborn.
James’ eyes shifted and saw 100s more ‘screens,’ 100s more entries into the days, moments, lifetimes of people around the world — billions of people he was doomed to relive the lives of, over and over, backwards and forwards throughout time and back again.
There was no escape.
He is God, having only ever wanted to sacrifice immortality and — as is the only Godly pursuit — die and be forgotten.
He is Jane.
He is Ira.
He will wake up tomorrow and be Josh for a day.
A moment, Alex.
An infinity, Gods long dead and forgotten by history. Contrived and devised, planned and propagated by people — propagated to subjugate, control, extract money and exact dominance — immortal by design, infinite in the eyes of those who can’t plausibly conceive infinity.
Eyes wide shut.
Countless more animals, rocks, alien worlds — dissociation is a scary, scary thing. One loses one’s senses and knowledge of one’s self, one loses one’s memories and sense of humanity. As a rock on Mars, what do we remember of the Holocaust? What do we remember of Christianity? What do we remember of James? As a rock on Neptune, what do we remember of the rock on Mars?
Being God, how could he refute God?
He’d long since felt the panic leave his body. He’d long since laid there, catatonic, wishing for a sanity he remembered in his childhood. Drifting in and out of consciousness, drifting in and out of the conscience of others. He was all of his ex lovers, he was every side of every argument he’d ever had. He was the ultra-rich. He was the ultra-poor. He was puppy, squid, house. Woman, house, fish, bee. Acceleration, deceleration. Up, down.
As his mind entered the all-familiar mantra of dichotomies, a part of him wondered if he were stuck like this — forever lost between perceptions and realities, forever without a name, legacy, or history. A part of him chimed in that this is what happens every time, and like the Beatles said the sun will come out tomorrow.. There will always be another day, another dawn, another lapse of time where he was he and he wasn’t Jane, Ira, or God. These two parts argued — there were other voices that chimed in — the voices argued, and took bets amongst themselves about whether or not this was the last time, the final straw that broke that camel’s back and landed him forever lost. The voices took bets whether or not he would commit suicide today, tomorrow, die by arrow or die by plane engines falling from the sky — the voices argued…
The dichotomies grew louder to keep them from taking over. To keep them at bay: ocean, sky. Arrow, wound. Nothingness, everything. Quantum. Three states. On, off, both and neither. 1, 0,…
Catatonic. Not moving. Not interacting. Fearing the next day, fearing the chances the voices won and saw him off himself with a bottle of bleach. Fearing God’s revenge. Fearing Ira’s rapists. Fearing Jane’s dad’s drunk driver hit-and-run. Panic sets in…
The heart feels on fire, the heart feels as though it’ll give out. The breathing speeds up. The thoughts continue, and the feedback cycle sets in — faster heart, faster breathing, more psychosis, faster heart, faster breathing.. In the past, James had called emergency services fearing the physical symptoms. Now, having learned how his body tricks his mind tricks his body — a tango nobody wants to endure — he endures it. He sits through it. Looking out from eyes wide shut, he’s aware of the room around him behind closed eyes. Open eyes? He can’t tell anymore. They’re shutting and opening, he can see through them when shut. He is infinite. He is God.
He wouldn’t wish this fate on his worst enemies.
He is patient zero.
He wants to start support groups. He wants to help. He wants to educate, lift stigma, teach, and help others find a peace within themselves they can’t find on their own. He wants to be a voice for those without a voice.
He’s destroyed — inwardly, outwardly — he lays there each night on the brink of madness and puts on a smile each day for friends and family. He turns to drugs and alcohol to turn down the mantra, turn down the voices, and takes his medication knowing that The Man’s pharmaceutical agenda is to keep his voice from being heard. He’s dangerous. He threatens the status quo.
He’s not alone.
Squelched by the drugs — prescribed and not — he’s silenced by a system that didn’t give him a chance. The trade is a fair one — lose your autonomy for a series of time that goes by without hallucinations or delusions. Keep yourself in the ‘real’ reality, take these pills, we’ve supplied loads of cocaine on the street to keep you in check.
He is your cousin, your son, your friend, your lover.
As much as he’s everyone, everyone is him.