Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Smell of Burnt Almonds

He squirmed in the hard, gray chair. Everything in this office was hard and gray. The walls, the chairs, the shelf. Even the woman sitting across from him.

“It’s about this thing that happened.” He looked at his right hand, explored it with this left hand like it was an unknown object. “When I was a kid.”

He looked up at her. She was sitting, watching. He looked back down at his hands.

“The world kind of—” He pulled on his middle finger. The knuckle popped, a loud crack.  “It kind of split open I guess.”

She was still just looking at him. Her face was thin and drawn, but her eyes were enormous.  She looked like one of those aliens from a movie.

“And it was like I could see the whole meaning of the universe. Not see it. I mean, I was it.”

He wished she would ask a question or something.

“I guess my whole life, I’ve been trying to see that again.”

That was it. He was done. He looked up, but she still wasn’t saying anything. Just watching him with the giant eyes. Maybe this hadn’t been a good idea. His friend had told him about the psychic, about how she could heal anything broken in your energy field. It had seemed worth a try. He had been feeling desperate lately, like if he didn’t get this fixed, he was going to have to go somewhere, leave his family, get out. Wander.

“So that’s what I want you to help me with,” he said.  

The woman—Linda was her name but it didn’t seem to fit—frowned, closed her eyes. Ran her bony fingers over her forehead. Then she opened her eyes again, pointed them at him.

“It’s not the vision that matters,” she said. “It’s the truth you understood from the vision. That’s what you’re trying to get back to.”

“Yes,” he said. “That’s right. How do I get back to it?”

“The truth is the truth of what you are. The truth that this world is an illusion of your perceptions. The truth that there is no you.”

She waved her hand across the room. The gray hand, gliding over the gray backdrop, gray on gray on gray. The air was gray, too. The air was the color gray. He could see the air, the space that separated him from her, and it wasn’t space at all. It was full, it was matter, it was gray. Her hand was on his wrist, but it wasn’t her hand and it wasn’t his wrist. They were both part of the gray air, their hands, their arms, their organs, their minds. It was a soup, an undefined soup of matter and energy that extended past their bodies and out of the room and out to the far edges of the universe.

Then something moved and she was back in her chair, and he was back in his. He couldn’t see the air anymore. Just a void between him and the gray walls and the gray chairs and the gray shelf. A void between him and the woman with the big eyes sitting across from him.

“That was it,” he said. Exactly it. That was the thing he was looking for. There so completely for a moment, then so completely gone. “So you can help me. Please, can you help me find it?”

She shook her head. Strands of hair floated like gray straw.

“No one can help you find that,” she said.

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