ETHEREALITY

The world alone in a tiny bubble, no sounds to escape through the infinite darkness. A hand cradles the orb, iridescent and calm, a flitting touch for a fitting contact between us all. Down over beyond is a man floating alone in the remnants, scared and tired. He doesn’t see the boundless and bare. He doesn’t see the ethereal and aware. But as that hand removes its grasp of the world and flutters over, a warm rush of air enters the man’s lungs. Sweet honey on a crisp morning, the breeze and the sun the only witnesses of the passing moment.

Looking back, it all seems so small. It always was. People dancing, fighting, laughing, dying. It’s all the same from afar. The man draws near, his fear etched in every tear he sheds for indifference. Standing, shimmering alone in the night is a statue of the last great hero, the last microscopic ant on a hill that’s billions of years old. But the sun sets and rises again. The man grows old and wise.

Reality pulled free from its pretensions, from the plans others have for it and the tired ramblings that litter the concept’s surface. Stripped bare of its shackles, the manacles set loose to drop to the ground where they belong. Nothing more than ethereality. Swimming free, the man has hope. Swimming free, the man sees himself for the paradox he is. He stands there, aware of any care he might have to share in a place of comfort and calm. And peace. Moving on, he drops the links of his chain one smothering piece at a time.

Some beckon forward, others clamor to hold him back. But the faceless few have no power over a man with no fear. They swim alone in the blackness, waiting for a helping hand to pull them out. And as the fingers graze and touch, it’s the faceless ones who pinch and poke and prod. Help must be helped. As it all moves on to another age, crackles and flickers erupt from the darkness, the starling promising a birth from the ashes, dust and clamor in sand or over hands but never to harm. Never at all.

The crying faces have been washed and purified, set free from both the cause and the symptom. Only laughter remains, the last soundtrack this universe has ever known. The spheres all align, whistling their own solitary whims but it’s quiet to us. In our own tiny bubble, we are the spheres. We are the elements of the soul, the makers of everything.
And out beyond, further than we dare dream is that man, that solitary man who thinks himself cursed and afraid. Naked and shamed. But all along, he never saw the light. He didn’t see that the darkness he bathed in and drank as a sign of dismal times was only there to share in the light and heat of another day. Another way to stay amidst the twisting, revolving, beautiful mess of it all that we blink and squint and glance just to see one more second of. Just one more second.

The man closes his eyes for the last time. Builds mountains and canyons, cathedrals and castles. Wind-swept tundras and scorching deserts. Imagines and dreams and sleeps and feels away his pain one drop at a time. He doesn’t know what he’s setting out to make, but he doesn’t care. He’s sharing in the greater ones, the moribund and the doings to be done. He cries the cry of a mother and her babe, saved from the wretched stave of time. Alone with his thoughts, there is no loneliness. Set apart from the rest, there is no isolation, no afterlives to test. He’s a man set free from the bounds of reality. He has created his own ethereality.

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