Cogito Ergo Sum (2/3)

His shoulders drooped and his legs bent slightly as he started to wander around the field of dandelions. Perhaps he was waiting for the next weird event to take place, but nothing happened, at least not for the space of half an hour. He wandered about until the soft of grass and dandelions turned into the hardness of a forest, a dark one seemingly full of the wildest things. What a contrast, thesis and antithesis. Imaginably emboldened by the harmless nature of his two previous encounters, he walked to beginning of where it looked like the wild things were, paused for a little, and then went in.

It was the definition of wild. Dangling vines, long and brown, hung from tall trees, which took all sunlight for themselves. Then there were the noises, odd and inconstant. A shrill here, a shriek there; close by a squeak, a low moan in the distance. Sometimes danger seemed really close; sometimes it sounded a far off. But Luke showed less signs of fear than at the commencement of this peculiar excursion and wandered on, going until he could no longer see the field of dandelions.

He was some way in when his eyes caught the motion of a white rabbit. Of course I’m meant to follow it. It was moving rather stealthily among the vines and thistles.  He started to follow, trying to match its movement.

But his age wouldn’t allow it. He had turned 42 last March – a 2016 of unfortunate events. He never noticed the wrinkles until that year. They seemed to evince themselves with each denouement of trauma. When he lost his campaign for president of his precinct, a wrinkle appeared. When it was made public news that he owed money to the IRS, another showed itself. When his best friend and wife died, two more were seen. Those annoying signs of withering seemed to bring with them a lack of liveliness. And, usually, if anything is needed for chasing rabbits, it’s vitality.

The rabbit would leave him behind as is expected. But it would wait for him to catch up. Usual strangeness! And it would stare in his direction until he came close, then it would be off again, racing to the next horizon of leaves and rocks. He followed, keeping quiet. He was always quiet when he was having a premonition – the more potent the premonition the more he kept silent and the more his face contorted, sometimes a pensive brow could be seen, sometimes a puckered mouth. He was donning both as he ran now. What on earth is next? Even before that, where am I?

His face stayed relatively the same way as he chased the fleeing and stopping rabbit, which seemed to love playing this game. He was ten minutes into the chase when he dashed around a tree that blocked his view of the rabbit and stopped suddenly. His face contorted even more. He saw her, his friend, his lover – the one to whom he belonged. She was wearing a white dress. Sure, why not? And she was smiling like the others. She was exactly how he remembered her, except for the white dress. She usually wore cream or purple. One of those must have been her favourite colour if ever there were any.

Where he stood now, she was about 20 meters from him. It’s where the rabbit had last stopped. She was holding the rabbit, stroking it gently, with those hands; those hands that she had promised would be there during the best and worst of times – those hands that were his friends through many dangers. And the tears they dried from his eyes could fill rivers. I miss you! I miss you so much!

He couldn’t stop the tears; they came down his face in streams, which bubbled up a fresh each time she took a step towards him. There must have been so many fleeting memories and questions going through his mind in that moment. Every dark thing she had turned to light and it showed in his tears and smile that their time together was well spent. How could he not cry on seeing her? His face was beginning to show signs of life again when thoughts of a different kind probably came to the forefront of his consciousness…Am I being toyed with again? Is this another problem I’ll be asked to solve? But she’s exactly how I remember her. His face began to contort again; his eyes took on an angry orientation, but his lips still smiled. She stepped off the tree bark she was standing on and moved towards him, her pendulum hips still swung back and forth. He stared at them and smiled a bit wider.

She came up to him, right up to him, held his hand and said “I’m just waiting for my chance to come.”

“Your immortal smile is burned in me. When I close my eyes, it’s all I see,” Luke replied.

“I see you remember the lyrics to our favourite song.”

Our?

“Tell me,” said Luke, “Are you real?”

“Kind of. Well, I’m closer to the real thing than the others.”

“Closer to the real thing? I’m putting theories together as to what’s taking place, but I’ve still got some work to do.”

“Do what you have to,” re-joined the lady in the white.

“You are just as pleasant as she was.”

“That’s because how you wanted to see her and how she actually was are very similar.”

“I see,” said Luke, made more pensive by this bit of information.

After she realized that he intended to go quiet, she turned as if she were going to walk away.

“Don’t go,” said Luke. Don’t leave me again.

“I’ll have to go sooner or later.”

“I know, please stay just a little while longer.”

“Why?”

“I have so many questions. Plus, I just like looking at you.”

“Well, my dear, I don’t know anything that you don’t and I am with you always, providing that you don’t get brain damaged.”

“Oh, so that’s it. I thought it was something like that.”

“Yes, you’ve guessed it.”

“So all of this isn’t real then?”

“Who’s to say what’s real and what’s not? I mean, how do you even know that you exist?”

Cogito ergo sum.”

“Decent answer.”

She made no reply for a few seconds. Is she at a loss for words? Am I at a loss for words?

She held up her head which was pointed downwards and continued with “yea, you think therefore someone or something has to be doing the thinking, but who confirms that you’re the one doing the thinking?”

“I do,” he said doubtfully.

“You confirm yourself?”

“I suppose.”

She only laughed. She turned again to walk away and this time he allowed her to. “Goodbye” must have been said at some point and “I’m always with you” must have been said in reply. After she was gone, he turned his eyes downwards. Could it be that I don’t exist? No! That would be silly – a special kind of madness. But…

He continued on in the forest with his eyes downcast and full of the comportment of a brooding thinker. The noises in the forest had died down, all was unusually still. And the trees that had claimed so much light were beginning to relent their hold. He didn’t seem to take note. He just kept on going with a tense and serious way about him. While he walked, though, the typical happened and he was drawn back into his room.

“Ah, the wonderer is back,” said Zarathustra who seemed to have kept the same posture and position since Luke’s departure.

“I know what’s up” said Luke.

“I see you’re putting that psychology degree to use, or is it the philosophy one?”

“None really, I just used basic reasoning.”

“You were always so modest.”

“…even in being modest.”

“But how are you going to figure out the rest?”

“Well, I’ll just have to retrace my steps and hope that when this stuff is out of my system, nothing too bad has taken place.”

“You really should stop hanging out with Paul.”

“I don’t think it was Paul. I think it was Dianna.”

“I can see her doing that.”

“Anyways, for what it’s worth, I’m sort of glad she did it, if it were her, that is. I have never been on this side of reality before, and man I’m a far way from home. I’ll question reality more deeply now.”

“You know the brain is just a processor of information and when it’s screwed up, all sorts of things can happen.”

“Yeah, I know, but knowing and experiencing are two different things.”

“True, they most certainly are.”

“So, how do I know that I exist? That’s my big question now.”

“Well, you think, therefore you are?”

“Yes, I remember what Descartes said about that in his meditations.”

“Of course, you did. I can’t tell you anything that you don’t already. I can, perhaps, tell you about things that you don’t remember though.”

“True, I can’t get over how real you look…Good God, the mind is powerful!”

“How right you are. I mean, I am.”

But Luke didn’t hear the last comment. It should’ve made him laugh. He was slipping into pensiveness again but Zarathustra kept on talking, so Luke was forced to keep talking.

Luke and Zarathustra were still deep in conversation when the red clock on the eastern wall of his room stuck 11:20, but this time he did notice. Perhaps, I’m coming around. He took his eye off the clock and turned them back to Zarathustra but he was gone and everything was back to normal. He looked around with that look on his face, the look you get when you’re very amused at nothing in particular.

He got up, his body was his. It’s all normal again – almost too normal. He went to the bathroom. He showered and brushed his teeth. However, His face showed that something was pestering him. He came back to bed with that same brooding comportment that he wore when he spoke to the look-alikes.

He twisted and turned but sleep wouldn’t come, so he gave up the fight about three hours after and got up, went outside and headed in the direction where the saints had been seen. It was a typical summer night in New York. People could still be seen buzzing about although it was about 3 a.m. – the city never sleeps after all. He was about a block away from where he had seen the saints standing, when a black cat ran across his path; he watched it cross the street with a faint smile then kept walking. He saw Taste of China, the Jive’s Boutique, and that Jamaican Restaurant – he paused and stared at each as if he were seeing them for the first time. Normal, so normal.

Part 1 http://eternalremedy.com/cogito-ergo-sum /

Part 3 http://eternalremedy.com/cogito-ergo-sum-part-3-of-3/

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