I was blank, like a fenced-off portion of an untouched field of snow. Only my face could be seen amidst my body of snow, and that was just a cut-out from a photograph I remember looking like. Perhaps I cut my face out of the first picture of me that I could find and stuck it, in haste before the final thaw, on the patch of snow that I had identified as me. And somehow I felt that was important to do, to identify myself from the others, while at the same time knowing it wasn’t important at all.
I can always tell myself from the others who assume forms, who come with conditions, and with whom I interact in ways I can only imagine after the interaction has happened. I can tell myself from the particular way that I’m always searching for one set of circumstances that can be ridden out to multiple good endings, like waves can be ridden out to joyous, laughing ends with beach fires launching red-hot, popping embers to the heavens, and showing no sign of dying, for we are ones who can feed the fire and fill the cups with drink until we desire the party to end, and to end happily so that we can do it all again, just this way.
Over and over like a mirror held to another mirror at just the right angle to reflect an infinite tunnel of mirrors, I looked until I found the one. He told me, “I particularly like the way your skin and hair are configured around your bones and brains,” and I smiled, said to him, “Likewise.” So I lay by his side for what they call ever. I lay there thinking I would die if anything happened to him, if either one of us changed our angles or dropped our mirrors altogether. I remember praying infinite secret prayers to a god I thought had the power to freeze this feeling in both of us and protect us from injury and old age and death. But we would always wake to playing a kneejerk game of ego against ego, a game designed to destroy the idea of permanence by proving over and over there was no such thing.
As a blank portion of snow I can laugh now, but then I was not amused. Then, I railed against there being no control of our waking lives and even in our dream lives we could but watch what happens. Only one life is more mundane and the other more fantastic, fantastic because it has no constraints like gravity—which is the same as the ego with its constant wants and worries—holding us down, back and away, at an infinite arm’s length, from what we desire. Only in the fantastic can anything happen, anything at all, and what we desire can be anything at all and not always what we thought it was. Then, I chose the fantastic over the mundane, because I thought they were not one and the same.
And then one time, in the pre-waking fantastic hours, I could see that the things that seem solid to the look and feel of life are, in the end, inconsequential in the realm in which I thought them consequential. To my amazement, nothing was graspable with the hands, because neither my hands, or those things that I wanted to grasp, were solid things that could connect with one another physically, as we know the term, and so I swiped at color-shaped air and missed and tried and tried again and missed.
I thought then, “If I’m to get along here, I’m going to have to change my thinking,” and I moved toward the essence of words that formed ungraspable ideas. At first I did it out of anger and then for survival, and then, although out of my body where it could be said to be too late, I did it naturally, as if I’d always moved this way. I did it as just another idea with mass, rolling with other ideas with varying masses, through and along the fabric of infinite space.
“I will remember this and apply it to my remaining time on earth,” I said. I was certain that the profundity of all that I’d seen had affected me in such a way that I would carry its great force of weight into the waking world. But of course I did not. I awoke with the same empty-handed yearning-yet-knowing that I wake with every day. I woke with the same delicious melancholy, my truest, most constant companion that casts a suspicious eye on graspable things until I drop again into the infinite space of night and search for the graspable things of the day and see how that is conveniently not possible because it’s not necessary.
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