The Spiraling Cornucopia of Pale Lavender is a 10-part series of fiction. Below is part 4. To read the introduction of the project, click here.
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[SEQ. VI] 1I open my eyes and I’m underwater, inside of a narrow tube and I can’t lift my arms. 2A creature has been placed over my mouth and my first thought is that it looks like a starfish and its “arms” have suckered to my face but it does not hurt and I realize that this thing is giving me oxygen and allowing me to breathe as we exist in some kind of symbiotic relationship in this water or liquid and I wonder what it is taking away from me. How am I paying it? 3Small creatures or blurs or people move outside of the tub and I can see them observing me but I can’t speak or motion for them. 4I blink my eyes and one of them points at me. It reaches up and opens its chest and pulls out a small trinket that looks like a slug and the creature places it on the counter and the water in the tank begins to drain and when it does, I feel myself poop but I do not feel any shame in the act. 5When the water is gone I see that there never was any glass and that the water was more like a jelly that was somehow held perfectly still, presenting its expected form. 6The jelly is spread out on the floor but it immediately begins to coagulate and then it pulls towards itself as though drawn by internal magnets. It gathers itself up to one another and then slides and slithers back to its cage. 7Is the liquid sentient? 8The starfish drops from my mouth and pulls a long proboscis from my throat, longer than I would have assumed. I feel it pulling up through my stomach and intestines. 9The thing licks it’s lips and says, “Thank you,” before dropping to the ground and scurrying towards the gelatin, it’s abdomen plump with my bacterial stew. 10It crawls into the cage with the gelatin and then crawls inside the gelatin and goes to sleep. It will live off of my secretions in hibernation until next it is needed. 11The creatures are greys of some kind but they’re not from outer space and they’re still watching me and now I’m back here and I just stare at them and they stare at me and I am so very sad because I can no longer sense what they’re saying. 12I have lost all form of communication with them. 13Something has been pulled away from me and I can’t remember anything or how to speak to them but I’m certain something is missing. 14I want to feel their thoughts and I want them to tell me that it’s going to be okay but they don’t [SEQ. VI2] 1and then I am lying in a bed, staring at the ceiling and a woman is standing over me and she is my wife and all of my memories come rushing back to me and I say, “Please don’t ever allow me to wake up again. It’s too painful to remember who I am. My journeys are eternal” [SEQ. VI2] 15instead they just stare at me and is it pity that I see in their eyes or is that just my imagination? 16Instead I speak out loud and say, “Where am I?” which is such an elementary question and I’m embarrassed that I have to ask it because I know that I should know and instead of answering the greys take a step back because the raw quality of my voice hurts them. 17One of them lifts up a finger and makes a motion through the air that opens up a small doorway in the air itself and we step through it, displacing ourselves. 18In the other room I see another man, a human man, who is Caucasian, what we would call European with gray hair and blue eyes. He has on a sweater and wears a kind smile that draws me in. 19The other greys are gone and there is no doorway and I say “Who are you?” and he says, “You don’t remember me?” And I say, “Am I crazy?” and he says, “What do you mean?” 20And I say, “Is this real?” And he says, all of this audibly, of course, out loud, which is why I think the greys left – because the sounds somehow hurt them or at least made them uncomfortable. 21He says, “What do you mean by real?” And I say, “Is the place I was at real – the land with the scarecrow and the fishermen? Or was it a kind of hypnosis? Did I experience it in the Dream Tank?” Dream Tank. Where did those words come from? 22I continue, “Was the rock a drug? Was the ship real? What is ultimate reality and what is false and where am I right now in all of this?” 23And the doctor says that everything is real. 24“All realities, even fake ones, are real. 25Aren’t we all processing things? Aren’t we all reacting to stimuli? 26If you are afraid of a ghost in the dark and you feel fear, isn’t that fear real even if the ghost is not?” 27And I think he is right but it seems like he’s avoiding handing over the information. Information that he has. Knowledge that he won’t share with me. 28I ask him how long I’ve been here and he tells me a few hours and I say, “In this room?” And he shrugs and says “Parts of it.” 29I go to his bookshelf but don’t recognize any of the titles. They look like they might be written in Danish or Dutch. I reach out to pick one up but the doctor says, “Please don’t do that,” but I do it anyways and inside I find that all of the pages are blank and I say, “Who are you?” and he says, 30“There are no answers in my name,” 31and then he says, “Who are you?” but he does not inflect his voice as though he is repeating a question. He doesn’t inflect at all. His voice is void of nuance. 32He’s trying to copycat me or all of us. Humans. 33He’s not like me. 34I turn inside of myself, reach inside of myself, looking for my letter but my letter has been stolen from me by the abyss and I find only hints of something that used to be there. Dust. There are warm feelings but I can’t attach them to an action or a memory. Just an empty room with a concrete bench. 35He tells me that he gave me something very important and I lost it and that I lost it stupidly and carelessly and now, he tells me, he has to talk to me in this primitive series of grunts and moans like a common animal 36and then he reaches up and he peels off his face like boiled skin from a tomato and underneath I see that he is a grey with sharp teeth. 37Like roasted kale, he eats the face and I hear it crunching between his teeth like tacks. 38He says, “Life is delicious,” 39and then he tells me that I’m doing it wrong. 40I’m viewing life from the wrong perspective. 41Here, look, he emotes to me and I turn to look at the painting on the wall when his emotions brush past me. Has he gifted me back with the communication? Can I feel him? 42“Look at the painting and tell me what you see.” And I tell him that I see a field with a light tower and I see two deer but I wonder if there are deer wherever this light tower exists and the grey sends to me: “What do you think of this painting? Tell me what you see,” and I begin to explain the image. 43There is a lake in the background, white water heads, a little bend on the horizon. The water disappears in the distance. 44In an eternal sunset. 45The cattle in the foreground walk off frame. Cattle? Deer? I’m not sure. Could it be both? 46He says “What do you see,” and I tell him again and then he says, “But what else do you see? Look beyond your own eyes. Stare at it with the artist’s own heart. When he painted it, what was he thinking about? As he painted the black strokes in the now dried paint, what was he thinking about? Was his mind set on the brush strokes or were they set on something else at hand? Was his heart in it at all? See it with those eyes. Feel the letters and the tools and bring them to me to feel and I can feel the breeze and I don’t see anything change at all but suddenly everything surrounds me and I can see into the amazing beautiful because that is ours and it belongs to nobody except us and I am insanely aware of the fact. 47“Tell me what you see in the painting,” and I tell him that I see a lighthouse and he says, “Yes. That is what your eyes see. But what else?” And I say that it makes me feel calm and he says, “Yes. It does. But why?” and I try to look deeper into the painting and 48I look at the eyes of the cows, which are black and bleak and I say, “The cows seem sad. They are surrounded by beauty and freedom but they look so hopeless.” The doctor nods his head and says, “That’s very interesting. I’ve always felt as though they looked calm because they had everything.” 49And I say, “If you have everything and need nothing, you no longer require goals.” 50The doctor says, “And?” I think and then say, 51“And if you don’t have goals, you don’t have a path.” 52“And if you don’t have a path?” “Then you are hopeless.” 53“So do you believe that being hopeless and being fully content, which most believe to be polar opposites, can actually co-exist in the same moment?” 54The question is not meant for me to answer aloud but to wonder at. 55He asks me what else I see and I tell him that I want to know what is in the lighthouse and he asks me why I care and I tell him that I don’t care but that I am curious. “You want to know what is in the light house simply for the sake of knowing what is in the lighthouse?” “Well, yes,” but I immediately feel inferior for requesting it. What is the purpose of my curiosity? 56“What if there were nothing inside?” “Then at least I would know.” “You would know what?” “I would know that there is nothing.” 57“And what if I told you that god resided in the lighthouse? What would you do with that information?” “I would go to the lighthouse.” “How? It is just a painting.” 58My eyes begin to sting. The air is very dry. I blink a lot. 59The doctor asks if I am okay and I tell him that I am fine. 60“I cannot go into the painting.” “No, that much is obvious. It is just the perception of colors and shapes on a canvas. So how do you find out what is in the lighthouse?” 61I take several steps towards the painting and I squint, trying to look inside. 62“The mouse hole is closed to humans,” the doctor says and then laughs. 63“I cannot know what is in the lighthouse. 64I can never see God. 65I can never know God. 66I can never know if He exists. Is that what you are suggesting?” and the doctor says, “No. You can know. You just have to stop looking at things like a human being. You’re so short sighted and your perception of the world around you is so limited. 67Often times I wonder what it must be like to see the universe through such flat eyes. 68Tell me, what color would you say my shirt is?” “Red.” “I really don’t mean to be rude – it truly isn’t my intent – but I must say that your view of things is fascinating. I wish I could see life through your eyes for a singular human day. I bet it would give me quite an appreciation for my own problems.”