Samsara: cyclicality of all life, matter and existence
I approached the cashier at Goodwill, basket full of stuffed animals. My basket included a set of sister rabbits, one with a yellow bow and one with a green one, Amber and Anna. A tiny turtle, a care bear with a lucky charm in the center of its belly and a pink dolphin. I didn’t know their names, I just knew I needed them. The cashier rolled her eyes when she saw me and let out an audible exhale.
I said, “Hello, how are you?”
She made as little eye contact with me as possible as she scanned my items. She rotated Anna around, looking for a tag. My heart sank in my chest.
“This doesn’t have..”
I interjected, “She.”
The cashier scowled, “What?”
“It doesn’t have a tag, I’m going to have to send it back to be restocked”
She leaned back and placed Anna in a box under her drawer, then continued scanning.
“Wait! D…d…don’t you just have a standard price when there’s no tag?”
“We stopped doing that.”
Scan, beep. Scan, beep. My heart was racing. No, no, no Anna and Amber can’t be split up. They’re sisters, they’re the last piece. I’m the only one that can free them. I tried to keep calm. After she scanned the last item, she went for the computer screen.
“Wait. P..p…please, can you just make an exception.”
“No, I can’t. I don’t make the rules lady.”
She punched a few keys on the computer and said, “$13.67 is your total, cash or card?”
My hands were at my chest, thumbs twiddling, and eyes wide. How was I going to get Anna? I could just grab her….no they would catch me. I’m not fast. Then I’d lose her forever. I let out an audible squeak. A faint and growing noise filled my ears. From static, to wavering white noise, to the cashiers voice.
“Y….y…es, sorry. Please, Amb..,” I cleared my throat”, the rabbits can’t be split up.”
“Ma’am do you want the rest of your stuff or not?”
I swallowed thick saliva. Chills grew up my spine, down the back of my neck. It was important. The rabbits cannot be split up. My fist balled up and slammed the counter. The cashier jumped, eyes wide. I was just as shocked as she was. She looked behind my shoulder. I didn’t dare turn around. I needed out. I needed Anna. But I had Amber and the rest. I would come back for her tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow.
“Ummm. S..s..sorry. Yes. I want them.”
I handed her a crumpled up $10 bill and four $1 dollar bills. She reached for them, keeping her upper body from leaning forward, quickly got my change and put it on the counter. She kept glaring while I took my change and walked out of the store, bags in hand. I muttered stupid to myself. How stupid. What if they don’t let me back in tomorrow. How would I get Anna back? Stupid, stupid.
I sat on the bus stop bench. A young women wearing a tight turquoise dress and floral purse stared at my bags. I clutched them to my chest and pulled away from her. She knows how special they are. I can’t get on the bus with her. She looks expensive, why is she taking the bus? No, she can’t be trusted. When the bus comes I won’t get on. Then we will see what she does. A man wearing a dirty jumpsuit sat on the far end of the bench from me. He also looked at my bags. How? How do so many people know about the stuffed animals? Something happened. Some shift must have happened. I need to leave. I slowly got up, clutching the bags. Both the man and the women looked at me. They couldn’t have them. I wouldn’t let them have them.
I started walking down the street, only glancing back a few times to make sure I wasn’t followed. They stayed at the bus stop. I was safe. For now. I knew another stop down a few blocks. It wasn’t the first time I had to avoid predators. I looked back…only a few times as to not raise suspicion. No one was following me. Good. I made it just in time. That bus would take me a few blocks out of my way, but it was worth it. I held my bags tight. I pulled my straw sun hat down over my head. I’m the only one who can keep them safe. I’m the only one who knows how.
The bus trip seemed quick. I was at my stop in an instant. My knuckles white from clenching the bags so tight. I loosened them a bit and walked off the bus. The air was stale and the light was leaving the sky. I hated it when the light left the sky. I didn’t realize the extra few blocks would put me outside at night. I heard a faint cackle…like a tormented hyena. How?! I thought I lost them. I took a different bus, how did they find me? Every hair on my body stood up. When you hear these creatures in real life, it creates the most primal feeling in your gut. The utmost fight or flight. I quickened my pace. My apartment was just up the road. I’d stay in the light. They couldn’t get me in the light. Pitter patter behind me. More cackling. I ran. I ran and didn’t look back. I held on tight and ran. I prepared my keys. This wasn’t the first time I needed a quick escape. I practiced. The key went straight in, door open and boom. Shut and locked. I was safe.
The chatter was instantaneous. Voices yelling, cheering, asking if I got them all. Was it time, did I finally do it? I couldn’t look at any of them. My head lowered. I took out the turtle, the care bear and then the dolphin. Names were mumbled. I guess some of them recognized them. I still had my head down as I pulled Amber out. Gasps and cheers. I held her, tears filled my eyes. The chatter mumbled, where’s Anna? She doesn’t have Anna.
“I know…I know! I couldn’t get Anna.”
Many voices responded, “Why, how, what happened?”
“She was in my hand, I had her, but this reality, this world, it has so many strange rules. I had to play my cards right or I’d never get Anna.”
“She’s the last one!”
“Don’t you think I know that?! I know what’s at stake.”
They quieted. They knew. They knew how upset I was. Some of these souls I’ve spent half a century with. To be so close. Yes I still questioned….but still, I felt in the very fabric of my being this quest was made for me. I was meant to solve it. I had to be careful. People with hallucinations don’t fare well in this reality. At least not in modern times. I couldn’t try too hard, or I’d be locked up and I’d have to start all over. Game over, try again. I’d forget everything. I couldn’t let that happen. It was my puzzle to solve.
I sat in the middle of the living room, surrounded by souls. I took deep breathes, moving their energy. There was an order. I had to place them in order. The order was clearer than it had ever been. It became clearer with each piece of the puzzle. I only needed one…..more….piece. Anna. Anna’s soul was the key. I moved Jim the elephant next to Abasi the polar bear security guard. One spot remained. Anna. I can’t believe it. I’d be out soon. Finally done.
My eyes felt heavy. I slumped over and lay on the floor. The souls were quiet. I tried to sleep. I was too anxious. I couldn’t sleep. Not now. Too close. If I spent another 10 years in search of one soul I just might kill myself. Especially it being the last piece. I don’t think I’ll be able to make it.
A knock at the door. My eyes widened. My body was tight. I didn’t dare breathe. Another knock. The knock wasn’t forceful. Not like the police. A police knock is distinctive and jarring. But it was urgent.
I yelled, “Go away!”
Someone cleared their throat, “Fertiti, its Caleb. You know you have to check in with me if you come home past curfew.”
I tried not to make a loud exasperated noise. I said through gritted teeth, “I know...I’m sorry.”
“I need you to open the door.”
“Caleb, I said I’m sorry.”
“I appreciate that Fertiti, but I still need to check in with you. Please I’m not having this conversation again.”
I rolled on the floor, kicking, making silent protesting noises. He wasn’t going to leave.
He continued, “Plus someone came by and dropped something off for you.”
That peaked by interest.
“What is it?”
“You’re just going to have to open the door and find out.”
One last door that needs to be opened. I flew off the ground, took off the chain, unlocked both deadbolts and cracked the door open. Caleb raised an eyebrow. His hands were behind his back. I squinted my eyes.
“What do you have behind your back.”
He tilted his head, “No I need the door completely open and then we can talk.”
I exhaled, “fine.”
I opened the door, felt a soft wind, flash of light. Static, like I was looking through a broken screen. Caleb’s’ voice was small. It got louder and louder, he was calling my name.
“Yes, the doors open, I’m fine, can I see it now.”
He looked exhausted. He caved and pulled a rabbit from behind his back. It was Anna! I almost lost the use of my legs. How, what in the name of…my mouth dropped open. I was in complete shock. I reached for it, in slow motion my hand opened, grabbed Anna and pulled her in towards me. Tears, uncontrollable tears.
Caleb smiled, “She had a feeling you’d be this excited.”
“I don’t know, a girl. She dropped it off shortly before you came home.”
“What did she look like?”
“Uh, I don’t….”
“Never mind, it doesn’t matter, are we good?”
I reached for the door. He hesitated but then said, “Yes, for now. Do not miss check in again.”
I chuckled. Not like I’d be checking in ever again after I put Anna in her rightful place but I humored him, “Okay I won’t.”
“Good, have a good night.”
When the door shut behind me, silent sobs. The souls were beyond shocked. Anna was here. It was happening after all this time. So much time. The spot seemed to glow. She felt warm. I couldn’t move fast enough. It felt like a dream, when you couldn’t run anywhere. You were moving your legs but you stayed in the same spot. Tunnel vision as I placed Anna in her rightful spot. It clicked. Cheering, bells, songs rang throughout the room, throughout the universe. A perfect circle of light surrounded me. Each soul screamed with delight. Waves of geometric patterns filled the air and a tunnel emerged. It was a vortex of light. This was it. I took one small step at a time. As I passed through the barrier my body dissolved. A loud tone filled my space and my consciousness leaked out of my head.
I woke to chatter.
“…fast, I know I saw it too.”
“Exactly we will have to send her in again.”
“From the beginning?”
“No, we can send her in at the point of contact.”
I groaned. The chatter stopped. I was in a small room, stuck inside a glass tube. Two figures walked over to me, holding instruments of some kind. They had no hair and their skin was perfect marble. I looked at my body, my hands were immaculate, almost free of wrinkles, no scars. My heart raced. The lights were so bright. I couldn’t move. Too weak or I forgot how. A flash of memories. That wasn’t my life. I grimaced in pain, tears fell, warming the sides of my cheeks. I was so cold. My body started to shiver. A black tunnel surrounded my vision. I sank into darkness.
I looked around, hugged my jacket in close. I approached the cashier at Goodwill, basket full of stuffed animals. My basket included a set of sister rabbits, one with a yellow bow and one with a green one, Amber and Anna.
Storytelling is a way for my autistic brain to make sense of the world around me. The flow of ideas from brain to pen and paper saved me. Here you will find a mix between philosophical essays about the cosmos and metaphysical dreamscapes.