Awoken from my inebriated stupor, today marks day 0 when the time-palindrome was set in motion. Although I’ve succeeded in gaining immortality, the conditions of my “victory” were not of my choosing. You see, the year is 2015 and has perpetually stayed 2015 over the last one hundred years. New years 2016 has never happened for upon the strike of midnight, the arrow-of-time is reversed and the days are undone until new years 2015, day 0 as I put it. Although lucid during this reversal, I no longer retain my agency as I am reduced to a mere observer of perceptions. A cruel joke indeed for any progress unravels itself in front of waking eyes within a year’s time. Such is my immortality in a gilded-cage, drifting along ebbs and flows of unceasing tides.
I have encountered many vessels in this world but never one to have possessed me so. You see, tea cups are special containers where memories can be placed into so that others might experience them first-hand. When filled to the brim, one can channel recollections of old into clear images would be impressed upon the watery surface. With repeated impressions, a memory would be “burned” into the basin and reproducible at any time. Drinking from these burned-in cups would allow anyone to encounter these memories in their dreams.
One memory that stood out amongst the multitudes was of a young girl skipping rocks by a near frozen pond. It was late autumn and the trees were bare yet the cold did not seem to bother her. I was father who hadn’t seen my daughter in three years during my service in the army. As I ruminated from afar, a twinge of regret filled the condensation of the chilly air. I should have left the service sooner. Will she remember my face? Do I remember her face?
I try to approach my daughter from across the snowy knolls behind her. However as I cross one mound, another one seemly appears before me like Xeno’s hare, moving but never catching up. I double back to circumnavigate the pond so I can get a better look at her. But no matter the vantage point, she faces away from me, continuing to skip rocks. Is she reminding me of the number of times I had skipped out from her life I thought? Odd that her throws are so consistent. Finally, I decide to cross the frozen section of the pond. Nearing the centre, I hear a sudden crack following my latest footstep. Is this the extant of my last memory of her? I fall through the ice and promptly woke up. Quickly I refilled the tea cup by my bed side, took a sip, and went back to sleep.
As I lay dying on the broken pavement of 3rd street, I start to lament my miscalculation that the 14-story high-rise was not precipitous enough to have immediately ended this life. I refer to this life and not my life because all people that I’ve met were once myself. Such a strange revelation only came to me mid-air, a few moments after I leapt in despair. That was the moment when soul integrated with spirit and “we” returned to the plane of origin.
The plane of origin appears as a near desolate sand dune under a crimson sky. In front of my eyes rose Dunamis, pure potentiality trying to realize itself through this plane. To my left stood Energia the tree of history, a representation of the lives that have been actualized since the origin. In the numerous times that I’ve encountered these two entities, I am always left a bit perplexed as to their motives. You see, each branch of Energia was a reminder of a previous life that I had lived. Some were long and thick, as they needed to be for the many other lives that descended from it to have prospered. Others were short and deranged, as to set a necessary example for future lives to deter from. However, such designs were not entirely left to my own devices as any recollections of past lives or this plane of origin would be lost when I begin anew. Only the choice of the time and place to be reborn into were given. I conclude that such a method was the only way that Dunamis could make itself intelligible. Otherwise, potential would indeed be self-limiting.
Nostalgia is a curious feeling for an amnesiac. Fragments wash over you like red ocean tides before a warm twilight, a mood but without narrative. Having never encountered these images in my long travels across distant galaxies despite knowing their names, I grow increasingly forlorn. However, I assure myself that such a longing is one of the few things that is genuine and may someday lead me back to my origins. A chance encounter with a spiral-shaped galaxy bodes well for I am reminded of some of my earliest memories some several million light years away.
I enter the galaxy with an unaccustomed familiarity of all its constellations. I am sure that I’ve never explored this region before and yet, each glance of shimmering stars, the dance of comets along perilous tracks, the phases of planets replaying age-old tunes evoke waves filed with mixed sentiments. I knew my forgotten past lay amongst one of these solar systems. Why I have forgotten remains still a mystery.
Amongst all the possible destinations in my purview, one emerged as “wanting”, like the dying glimmer of light of a pulsar on the verge of ceasing. This subtle nudge of curiosity would soon transform into the strongest of desires to “help” the straggler, to give one’s last breath to a drowning progeny. Overcome with such uncharacteristic urgency, I beam towards a darkened planet in ruins. This is not the first time that I’ve encountered relics of life before although it is much more seldom that I would encounter life itself. Awash between red tides and under twilight curtains kneeled a young humanoid girl in a white gown. Beneath her in the gentle currents of the ocean’s caress stood the reflection of a crimson moon. The girl’s eyes were closed and her hands were clasped as if anticipating a miracle. When she came to and saw my presence, the following transpired:
A: Welcome home.
Z: I feel as if I’ve relived this moment many times. Have we met? Can you tell me what home is?
A: You and I are one. We are entangled aspects of the collective spirit of an old humanoid race that once inhabited this planet. Amongst the various aspects of our race, you embody Sehnsucht, the longing for a distance place, an alternative or missing way of life.
Z: Why did I lose my memory and was overcome with nostalgia for home?
A: As your lived experiences come to dominate and replace older memories, you will begin to long for the memories that are forgotten. To remind you of home, we channel the familiar memory of today through the syzygy of every Lunar eclipse.
Z: What will happen to the other lost memories? Will they remain as fragments of narratives unrealized?
A: On the contrary, these lost fragments will persist as residuals “wanting” to be realized. In time, you will be drawn to them no different from how you were drawn to home.
Upon hearing these words, I felt the simultaneous sense of reprieve, joy, and sorrow. Reprieve for recovering the home that I had nearly forgotten, joy for the anticipation of new memories with each horizon crossed, and sorrow for the inevitable loss.
Climbing up the slopes of an unnamed mountain, I encounter in the many centuries of my travels the first glimpse of life. Well to call what I saw life would be an understatement for at the edge of my vision, on the highest peak amidst the endless barren mountain ranges, stood the ruins of a castle. Strange as to why a castle would be placed so high up and inaccessible from the world below. More strange that such a castle could never see beyond the thick smoke of the arctic chill that circulated below. Perhaps the Makers have placed it here to study the heavens for no living body would be closer. As I fathom these circumstances, I find myself unwittingly drawn towards the summit, attracted to the possibility of uncovering who the Makers are. After all, we only have fragments of our historic past and the predecessors of old.
As I near these ancient stomping grounds at dusk, the nocturnal chill sweeps over me yet I don’t feel as cold. Anticipation warms the soul I thought for it pointed me a direction in these long months of solitude. The towering gates lie ahead only to be eclipsed by the wash of star light that blankets the frozen walls. I pass through a crack in these once formidable walls and enter its great halls. Darkness enveloped me but didn’t raise any sense of unease. Lighting a torch, only the hardened ground beneath revealed its substance. How vast a hall that no man can see neither beginnings nor ends! I announce my presence with a universal greeting but no voice resounded as if it lost itself within. Such a space could hardly be considered a space at all for it lacks any points of reference beyond the star-lit crack. Refusing to accept such a contradiction, I begin the trek into the beyond.
. . .
It has been several weeks of walking and I’ve encountered nothing but my own presence; I see only the ground in front of me, hear the sound of my own breathing, taste the dry roof of my mouth, and smell the scent of my own perspiration. The moon-lit crack has long disappeared and I begin to fear that I’m walking in circles. My torch is about to give out and I contemplate my ensuing predicaments. Are there no signs of life beyond the reach of my gaze? Can I find a way back to the crack or will I discover a new entrance? Will I remain trapped in this castle and forever confined to my own frame of reference?
. . .
The torch breathes its last breath and fizzles into ash. In the following months of pacing, I keep myself occupied by recreating centuries of the past after the great extinction. I imagine what I could stumble upon in the present, hoping to trip over smallest of pebbles. I fabricate entire worlds that could exist elsewhere in a distant galaxy. The pitch darkness that conspired to put me in despair had the opposite effect for it sharpened my mind’s eye and enabled visions as clear as day. Most remarkable are the various characters that now littered what was once empty space. As their lives grew larger and their narratives complex, I find my own beginning to diminish. The once singular frame of reference has multiplied into a million fragments of interactions. At last, I finally understood who the Makers were as all those who learned how to forget.