The Itch of Love

Did I tell you about my dog? No I didn’t.

Well, he isn’t so much of a my dog. He’s a stray. He stays out on the streets when he wants to, and makes himself at home in my room, or up on the roof, or somewhere in the house where he can hope to be in everyone’s way and get noticed. He only does this when he’s hungry, or when it’s too hot or too cold or too dusty or too lonely or too uncomfortable or raining outside, which means that he spends a lot of time in our house, and a considerable bulk of that time in my room.

He has infections all over his body, a flea population that could outdo the Asian human count, a nasty doggy smell and an unpleasant underside. These are the primary reasons why Dad wants him out of the house always, Mom keeps warning me about our unhygienic friendship, and Sis can’t bear him in her room.

Oh, and he’s a she, although I keep calling her a he. I mean I keep calling him a he. I mean… you know what I mean. Someone used to joke about this habit of mine. The reason I call her a he is that early in his life I thought he was a he, but later he went and let someone court him and produced five babies and then there was no way to deny that he was a she. But I somehow like the idea of him as a he, so kept calling (not much calling, but thinking) him a he. When I am through this, I will get out the old Wren and Martin High School Grammar to revise pronouns for personal reasons.

Yesterday, he was lying on the floor in my room while I was doing some math. I think it was nearing evening, when all my evening hormones churn up. I looked at him, at his innocent, love-craving brown eyes reflecting the evening light, and I thought, what if I don’t land up with him my next life? Who knows where the wheel of time will throw us tomorrow? He’s been a nice friend. Many times, when everyone else has banished him from their respective domestic empires, he has come to me nuzzle up and be assured there’s someone who loves him.

I had a single staggering burst of agape. I felt a sudden unreasonable love for him, for all other dogs, for all other creatures that never did anyone harm and are dying out every day to make way for chic malls. I decided I should give him a hug because I may never get another chance. I gave him a hug. It is difficult giving a dog a hug but I wasn’t thinking about that at the moment and I hugged him all over his common, red, dirty fur and infections and fleas, and perhaps he understood. Yesterday, in the dying light of sunset, I re-established a friendship that means something to me somewhere deep down.

 

I have no freakin’ idea why I keep itching all over me since yesterday.

1Life.

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I had a wish

Deep in the Zemlian Deserts of Subconscious Thoughts Sector 26, far inland from the red rocky outcrops and silvery pale sand that skirt its edges, in the virgin regions of rugged yellow terrain where the striated phosphorus deposits on the infertile top soil still glow a swirling sea of pale alien green at night, stands a solitary gas station.

The visitors to the station are few, of the order of about 0.143962 every day, but the inhabitants of the gas station are constant: two, every day.

They are human, and except for the Subconscious Thoughts Immigration Regulatory Committee, nobody clearly knows how they got here from their native birthplace, the Earth. That piece of information, however, is not as important in this context as why they are here. Why they did not, like almost all the other humans checking into the Subconscious Thoughts Arrival Ports, opt for one of the fourteen high demand dreamland destinations. They wouldn’t care for The Flower Garden, that blissful abode of peace in the half-shadows of the giant boughs and little weaving streams, or Motorbahn City, where life changes every moment and everything is possible, or even the exotic Seven Seas of uncountable beautiful colours (including all seventeen dream colours) and its unimaginable horizons and alien and beautiful perspectives.

They chose a tiny exiled gas station on the Trans-Zemlian Highway, a deserted isolation on an isolated desert which was perhaps of no other use than to bear a single straight strip of asphalt through its barren heart, connecting the Vius X and Emyon fuel and lodging joints on opposite ends of the desert on the Inter-Sector Freeway 25-27.

But I know why they chose the gas station. They chose it because there is not another living being (except the inert ones like the desert sands and the wind) in a radius of 57 miles around it; there is always food and water and anything else they might need right in the little station (it is almost always so in Subconscious Thoughts); there is an attached bathroom, a kitchen and a bedroom. The phosphorus deposits glow each night in swirling tendrils and streaks across the dry lunar surface, and a skyful of dazzling stars come out, a distinct band of numerous white dots scattered from horizon to horizon, so clear and numerous that they distinctly outline the uneven crest of the rocky outcrops a mile off the highway on the opposite side. Somewhere in that milky arm of the galaxy, the two humans know there resides an average star system whose third planet nourishes life, hope and a churning blue coat of the miraculous liquid that was the beginning of it all, and that it had been their home in a time left far behind. Perhaps it would not be irrelevant here to mention that they can imagine all these things because Sector 26 lies on the opposite arm of the galaxy than Earth.

Every morning as the fiery Nova Curtis rises on the horizon, the boy (his age on the Subconscious Thoughts Immigration Register is seventeen Earth years) wakes to make coffee. Having done this, he wakes the girl (registered as eighteen Earth years old) who makes breakfast, something the boy hasn’t tried since an unreported alimentary disorder of both beings that occurred on the third day of their arrival, which I have reason to believe was caused by the boy.

A few Earth hours (they still keep Earth time) after Nova rise, they set off on the compact all-solid-terrain explorer, each day for a new unplanned destination, leaving heavy phosphorus-laden clouds of yellow dust in their wake. When they reach the particular rugged outcrops they had never set off to visit, they dismount and explore the region on foot. They do not do surveying work, for it has been observed that they scale rugged peaks that were better left alone, roll down slopes of silvery sand, discover caves and sometimes (if they happen to be farther than 57 miles from the station) one of the strange creatures of Zemlia in them.

In case of any vehicle that might need a refuel at their station, the two humans are warned beforehand through the Universal Thought Transmission Network. The job is carried out by invisible Subconscious Feelers planted all along the trans-Zemlian Highway and at the two joints. As soon as any vehicle leaves either Emyon or Vius X, it is checked for fuel by the Feeler at the joint. If the level is low, it sends out a thought pulse to the first desert Feeler on the Highway. When the vehicle reaches this Feeler on the highway, the Feeler feels it and computes its average speed from the time lapsed since the first pulse. This is used to estimate the time the vehicle will need to reach the gas station. The next Feeler on the road again computes this time when the vehicle reaches it to obtain a slightly more precise value. When five Feelers have improved upon the result of this calculation, a thought pulse is sent after a computed interval from the station to the two humans, wherever they happen to be, informing them of the approaching visitor, so that they may return in time for the service.

It seems like too much hassle, but there is some mysterious reason that the two humans did not want to be stuck at the station all the time, and wander around a bit in the desolate nothingness, and hence decided to arrange such a complicated mechanism. Besides, like I said, they only get about one visitor a week.

So we may not be wrong in concluding that the job they had opted for in Subconscious Thoughts, over exotic tours in the various beautiful sectors, was to explore the mysterious Zemlian desert all day, return at Nova set with the explorer leaving a trail of glowing green phosphorus dust in the dusk sky, watch a skyful of stars through the silent night, and wake the next morning to meet again the cup of coffee and their simple life of three rooms, an explorer, a gas nozzle and a desert. This was their choice, their job, their compulsion, day after day. I have not tracked their private life (it was barely two lives) beyond satisfying the preliminary curiosity I had, but I have a nagging suspicion somewhere to believe that they made a good choice, that they managed to do the impossible in a tiny gas station in the middle of nowhere that could not boast the possibilities of Motorbahn, nor the peace and tranquility of the Flower Garden, nor the breathtaking beauty of the Seven Seas: they lived a happy life.

1Life.

Two of Us #11

<WRITTEN ON 5 FEB, BUT UNPUBLISHED TILL TODAY.>

 

Is today going to end bad, like some days have done?

Neo Hi.

1Life Hello. Can we cut this part short?

Neo Sure. Anything very pressing?

1Life Nothing.

Neo Capital N?

1Life No. Small n.

Neo So, what’s wrong?

1Life I’m like, kinda confused. I don’t see anything. Like there’s something over my eyes.

Neo Well, at least you can see enough to notice there’s something over your eyes. Most people won’t ever see that.

1Life Lucky for them. I don’t know any English. I wonder how I get away with good writing.

Neo Beside the topic at the moment. You wanna live?

1Life Sure. Give me the point.

Neo Means you won’t live if you don’t have the point?

1Life Sure I’ll live. But that’s only ‘coz I’m afraid of dying, and that’s only ‘coz everything around me has led me to be afraid of it. If that’s your logic to want to stay alive and that’s the sole reason I should shut up about my problems and this goddamn thing over my eyes, I don’t know why I hire you.

Neo Hire me?

1Life Please, N. This is not the time.

Neo You just use me.

1Life I’m pathetic, ain’t I? Using a mental person?

Neo Okay, let’s forget about that aspect. Brief me your other probs.

1Life I feel fake. Like I’m a tube — hollow inside. Impressions and feelings go in through one end and expressions come out through the other. But there’s just a stupid cylindrical hollow in there. Right, N?

Neo Might be.

1Life I just had one of those pulses.

Neo Oh shit.

1Life How much deeper will I be dragged? Wait, look, can’t I just call her up right now and tell her I loved her a lot and I never wanted to leave her because I didn’t promise for nothing, and then hang up and just stop being, in some way?

Neo This isn’t a goddamn movie, L.

1Life Is there anything but you who loves me, N?

Neo Maybe your mom and dad, and sis, and number five.

1Life Oh shit, you’re right. Now I can’t even feel cool about having no one to love me. You think she’ll be back?

Neo I dunno.

1Life This isn’t helping very much. I hate it when dad shouts like that.

Neo Me too.

1Life Fucking shit, man.

Neo Never used to say those things before.

1Life Don’t care what people will think.

Neo You do, L.

1Life Yeah, I do. And I don’t like the fact that I do. There must be something about light of many different wavelengths reaching the eyes.

Neo What? Why?

1Life ‘Coz I don’t know why else people would like flowers and the rainbow. There’s nothing inherently beautiful about them. I want to know how people add the beauty to it. It’s the same way with love, I think. It’s just hormones. All this complications, it’s just because we got a huge complex brain, our species, and we need to devise ways to keep it busy and working and all of its parts oiled. So we unconsciously, for biological needs, construct this soft stuff to explain these otherwise dry, physical phenomena. You think so, N?

Neo I dunno. You’re the one who wrote Miracle.

1Life Maybe I’m wrong. I hope I am. Man, N, I’m just acting around here. Making a freaking play out of my life. I wish I could just go to sleep without having to give anyone any explanation.

<THIS IS WHERE I BROKE OFF WRITING.>

1Life.

Singularity Finale

At this moment you see, hear, feel

For there are light, sound and emotion.

A cosmic endless list of Everything.

You nestle deep in the assuring warmth of this complexity;

And need to gaze at an unpolluted night sky for long

To remember you are on a planet.

 

The Future is a delayed, yet inevitable Present

A curse of the unwanted blessing of equality

It will be raining galaxies on your tiny spherical home

The starry night sky will drop in to visit,

And vision swallowed amid gaping voids

Will carry the only sound of a story finished.

End, will begin.

 

Blazing cosmic torches will light the darkening sky

As all things seek their way back Home.

Streams will return to oceans that bore them in their womb;

And all roads ever built will turn to Rome

Unbearable warmth will squeeze the soul free to follow the same path,

And storms engage in their last war dance.

Here, there, now, then, will cross over distinguishing lines

And all thoughts merge into one existence.

 

It comes, of that I’m sure.

A plethora of small lives, pains and colours

Laughter and sunsets, sad songs on the radio, summer night stars,

And the rain

All reduced to thermodynamic equilibrium.

 

But today you see, hear, know

For there are light, sound, and a finite being.

Counting the days till the inexorable dark end

Sweeps the meaning of Meaning away

To a single burning eye on infinite black vacuum

To look for the last time, then close to all of existence, lost forever

In Singularity.

1Life.

Life

Don’t you see

Around you and beyond lies the complex twisted matrix of a needless endeavour

A cosmos of private, solitary roads that fork, twist, entwine

That cross, leave, shift and end in deceptive silence

They follow some secret reason — untold, intricate, useless.

They hold and entangle you this moment,

Yet their subtle caress in every breath of your life

Is so light, your senses must be reminded to feel them

— A rigorous ordeal that leads you to the Nowhere

Outside this one.

 

Thorns

Of many fibers and sharpness wait in all imaginable angles

And some unimaginable ones, for minds that conquer enough to know

Our world is someone’s imagination.

You walk these scattered paths under the drugs of emotion and instinct —

They won’t let you hear the low whispers of the air from Nowhere

From within the concrete columns of your beliefs,

That won’t let you question, won’t let you know

Won’t let you feel the truth till it is time to go

To the Nowhere

Outside this one.

 

And yes, the paths have not met, it is a neural refuge you construct.

You are alone,

Alone in this maze of the fruitless Everything.

1Life.