Progress on Sandy Cape: LOVE~Destiny~

I’m in a car. A limo, I guess, but not a stretch one. It’s not prom.

This time, it’s different.

In the past, I’ve always been trapped or isolated. Even though, in the end, I wasn’t actually trapped in that bar, and it was my own lack of thought that kept me there so long, I thought I was trapped, and so I was. But this time, I have free roam. I can go where I want, do what I want. There’s nothing strange or odd or unusual. For all I know, this is the world I left behind, and whatever series of crazy dreams I had been having is over and I’m back.

But I don’t think that’s the case. It can’t be.

I still have the journal. If that was a dream and this is reality, how can I still have the journal?

Besides, the people here aren’t full. They aren’t complete. I don’t mean in some poetic, “everybody’s searching for something,” mid-80s Annie Lennox lyrical sense. I mean, they’re missing something. They’re half-people. They’re like shadows.

So no, I think that the journey I began however long ago, the journey that introduced me to She, I think that continues.

It means I have to continue. I can’t be complacent, I can’t rest, I can’t relax. I must search for She.

I don’t… know where to search though.

As we drive through the night, the city lights whiz by, other cars, bikes, pedestrians. It’s autumn, and the sky is clear and the moon is nearly full. I can only catch peeks of it through the very tall buildings. Soon I’ll be able to see it well. We’re heading for the bay.

Every time before, I’ve not really had to search for She, not really. She was just sort of there. Oftentimes, the simple act of deciding to find She would make She manifest. It doesn’t work this time though. I’ve been everywhere. I’ve concentrated on a place She ought to be, hoping to create She in that place, but I’ve failed every time.

Just when I thought I understood the world, the rules changed.

Approaching the bridge now. The towers, white and nondescript in daytime, are illuminated in all the colours of the rainbow. I’ve crossed this bridge so many times since awakening here. Busses, taxis, transport trucks, monorails. It’s a good bridge. And I was right, I can see the moon perfectly here. I can see the spread of the city on the other side of the bay, and I wonder if tonight, there, She’s waiting.

When last I saw She, I had failed. I had disappointed. Perhaps… was it a test? And because I failed, I’m destined to never see She again? But that can’t be. Not after what we’ve been through. Not after all the things She’s told me. I remember, She said that She had been searching for company, to end loneliness, and that I was the one She had searched for. She said that She needed my strength. She said that the past was a burden that needed to be destroyed. She said to hold on to happiness for the times when there is none. She said I must communicate my dreams to another.

She said that belief in oneself would set one free.

Perceive the light cone.

Believe the photon.

“Driver,” I begin, trying to sound confident despite my trepidation, “Do you know where we are going?”

“Not yet.”

“I don’t understand.”

“You have not sensed the resonance. When you do, I will know, and I will take you there.”

“Pull over here, if you can.”

“Aye.”

Say what you see. Nothing is as complicated or as convoluted as it may seem at first glance.

“Driver, while we wait, can we talk? I’ve been having these dreams, you see…” I tell him all about my recent encounters. I show him the journal, and with only the occasional head nod or grunt, he flips through it as I tell him everything.

“That’s quite the tale you have there. But why tell me?”

“I need to find She. That is why I am in your car. I’ve told you so that maybe you can help me.”

He smirks. “You have sensed the resonance.” He turns back to the wheel and we drive away.

Half an hour or so later, I find myself in an elevator with the driver. This is an office building of some sort, and we’ve parked in the underground garage with it’s strange orange lighting. He’s not said anything since, just gestured. I can’t but follow, as this seems to be the way.

Perceive the light cone.

Believe the photon.

Sense the resonance.

The elevator dings for the 50th floor, and the driver nods that I should get out first. He steps out after me and as the doors close, he waves me down the hall to the right. At the seventh door, he stops. Knocks. Gestures that I should enter. I nod, and turn the knob.

Pushing the door slowly open, I find a small dressing room. There’s a sitting area with chairs and a low table. The lighting is low, amber, warm. At the far end is a door, probably to a washroom or a kitchenette or something. On one wall is a large mirror with a counter, for make-up and last minute costume checks, I guess. On the counter are six television monitors, small, dark. I hear the door click shut behind me. I am alone in this room.

At a loss, I remember She said that rewards come to those who patiently search. I have searched, and I shall be patient. I sit.

One of the televisions sputters to life. There’s no sound, just the image. It’s familiar. A desert, a tree, televisions in the tree. She.

Another monitor. The house with brightly coloured rooms and apples that fell from the ceiling. She.

The next monitor. The blue tank. The convertible. She.

Again. The bar. The yakitori cart. The broken washing machine. The desert. She.

It continues. The mountains. The lake. The spheres. She.

The final television lights up. The room. The trickling water. The angel. Her broken wings. The sadness. The disappointment. She.

As I gaze upon all these screens replaying the key moments in my journey, I feel tears welling up. Relief, in a way, that there is proof, somehow, of the things I’ve experienced. I’m not crazy. Happiness, a little bit, at seeing She, even as an image on a small screen. Exhaustion, I’ve been through this city so many times and, as always, the answer to the riddle was right in front of me. I blink a couple of times, then reach up to wipe the tears away, clear my vision.

And when I have done so, I am not alone. She is here. She sits at the counter, writing on a notepad. Every few moments she’ll stop and think for a moment, and then continue writing. There’s an air of quiet intensity about her, and so I leave her be. She is here and near Me, and for now that is fine.

At last, She nods, lays down her pencil, and, holding the notepad, turns to me. She smiles, and then She begins.

Until eternity, She sings, is a long time, and is something no one can promise. I wonder when I noticed that. If I promised you eternity, She sings, I’d be called a liar by all but the most naive. And You are not naive. The length of our time together, it may be different from how you imagine it.

If We just met and fell in love, She sings, it wouldn’t last, and We’d be at odds before long. Why must this be so difficult?

Without You, this cannot happen, She sings, the entire endeavour will be for nought. So I want You beside me. If you can grant me that modest request, I’ll be so happy, She sings. I smile, and I slowly nod. I wish we could speak in an everyday way — our words would still have deep meaning.

It’s good that We didn’t just meet and fall in love, She sings, because We’d hate each other forevermore.

Don’t turn your eyes from truth, She sings. Neither turn your eyes from reality, She sings. Prove that You are alive. Prove that You exist. She grasps my hand gently, stroking the back.

If We just met and fell in love, She sings, We’d never ever meet again.

I won’t forget. We’ll never forget.

She stops.

I smile, and reach for her, to hold her close. But there’s nothing there. She is gone.

The televisions are gone.

The mirror is gone.

Eyes wide, I stand and turn for the door. The driver, surely he can help. I bang on the door, “Hey, let me out! She’s gone!”

I turn back and the kitchenette and the sitting area is gone. I look towards the door, and it, too, has gone.

I am in a beige room.

Just when you think you understand something, everything changes. I collapse, head in my hands, and wait for my inevitable awakening in an unknown place.

Progress on Sandy Cape: Whatever

I awake to find myself in a small room. Along the wall is a counter with stools. The walls are white; the fittings, stainless steel. I’m on the floor in the corner. I’m cold, ever so cold.

In a sudden panic, I scrabble around feeling for my journal. It’s here, and I sigh with relief. To be honest, I don’t really need the journal anymore. I can remember. And I don’t write in the journal, but my experiences become written in there, somehow. Automatically. I don’t pretend to understand. I’m glad to have it nevertheless, in case I ever do forget again.

I’ve been so forgetful in the past, you see.

Forgetfulness can be a blessing. If we can forget the wrongs that have been done us, then we can forgive. Forgive and forget. But that suggests that forgiveness comes first. Forgetting comes first, the slight, the misdeed, the injustice grows softer, fainter with time. We forget. And only then can we forgive. In that way, forgetting can be good.

But forgetfulness can be a curse. A terrible black creeping thing, slowly stealing your very essence from the sanctity of your innermost self. And thus I am of two minds on forgetfulness.

But as I say, I am not so forgetful these days. I remember the spheres, and I suppose this must be the inside of one of them. Ah well, nothing to worry about. Strange though it is, it will all work out in the end. Well, I say work out; I mean that something will happen as opposed to nothing happening. That’s good enough.

As there are no doors, and no windows and the room is small enough that I can see all I’d be able to from this vantage point, I content myself with remaining on the floor in the corner. It’s chilly still, but waking up a bit has helped.

I lean back against the wall and close my eyes. What will today bring?

As I watch the shapes and patterns dancing on the backs of my eyelids, I try to empty my mind. Though I’ve not meditated since the red room, so long ago now, this seems like a perfect time and place to begin again. I focus on my breathing and I watch the dancing figures behind my eyes blend and meld and shift. Sometimes a familiar image will form, and I’ll note it and it will move off and shift and change again. I spend a while like this before it happens.

The shapes behind my eyes are suddenly very concrete. They do not dance and spin and whirl. They are not vague shadows suggesting known and unknown things. It is like I am watching a movie, or a vivid memory.

There is a city. It has been bombed heavily. Not a single building is left standing and in the ruins, the twisted wooden remains, the collapsed masonry and the tangled barbed wire, fires rage.

Picking her way through the city, innocent, eyes full of wonder, is a child like any other except for one thing.

She has wings.

Her white dress, her white hair, her pale skin and her luminous wings remain unsullied by the dirt and smoke in the air as she ducks and weaves and dodges. I wonder who she is.

Something has changed.

I open my eyes and there, sitting on a stool in the middle of the room is someone else with white hair and pale skin. It is the one I have been expecting.

It is She, and She has come.

Without warning, from the ceiling, flowing down the walls, comes a trickle of frigid water. It is slow, and though it collects on the floor, we are in no danger. Yet.

I stand and move to her but again, as in the early days, she looks through me. She does not see me. A pang of sadness squeezes my heart, but I withdraw to the wall and await what will happen. With every blink, I realize the girl in the bombed out city is still behind my eyes, still picking her way through the apocalyptic landscape. This is not coincidence. There is a connection.

I’m jolted back to this room. She sings.

Though it’s been a long time, She sings, soon we will freeze and stop.

How long have we been thinking, She sings, and how should we continue our conversation. What sort of feeling have I conveyed to you or you to me? No one knows.

It is difficult. Communication on this level is difficult, and I simply don’t know anymore.

It is difficult, She sings, but you must communicate your thoughts and dreams and feelings to another. I must know that you will be my strength in the coming days. I don’t know if I can and I don’t know what challenges we face, though She suspects something, I feel.

Though no one has ever noticed it, not even you, She sings, I’m looking forward to the change of season, when we will freeze and stop.

I close my eyes and the angel is still joyfully walking through the end of the world. In the distance, she notices something. A bird in a cage. It sings, it has somehow survived this holocaust, and she smiles and makes her way towards it.

As I watch the angel behind my eyes, I am aware of the water starting to creep up over my ankles, and through all this She still sings. There are things we must do, She sings, and when you have relaxed, it’s okay to smile, you know. You must communicate your thoughts and dreams and feelings to another. I must know that, near or far, you will be beside me.

Though it’s been a long time, She sings, soon we will roll about in the warm sunlight. I will not lose, I cannot lose.

When we are separated, She sings, if I say that I have been lonely?

It’s a lie.

The angel behind my eyes is approaching the bird. It sings to her, and she smiles with glee as she tries to reach it. But it’s on the other side of a tangle of steel and wood and barbed wire and fire. Fearless, the angel plunges in to the tight space. She cannot move very quickly, and she is hampered by her wings. They are too large for this ruin. My stomach becomes knotted. But still She sings.

The wish that you be by my side, She sings, it is not only this me that I mean, you know.

The angel is She. She is the angel. Behind my eyes, the angel can almost reach the bird’s cage, can almost lift the latch to set it free. But She’s trapped. Wings ensnared in the barbed wire, they are broken and bleeding, but still he tries to reach the bird. She grows tired and falls limp. In the distance, the voices of men on the hunt, and the dogs they bring with them. She has stopped singing.

Tears stream down my face as I open my eyes. I look at She and She, now, looks at me, not through me. But the sadness and disappointment on her face are too much for me to bear. I have failed.

I want to apologize. I want to hug her. But we just stand there, looking at one another. The sadness and disappointment of She. The tears and defeat of Me.

We stand and the waters continue to rise.