Why is life so confusing?
It never should have gotten to this point, but it’s too late to turn back now. I’ve always tried to be a good person, a statement most people won’t appreciate coming from a drug dealer. If it wasn’t for my mother getting sick, I might have been able to survive school and make an ordinary life for myself.
I’m not here to make excuses though. The fact is that I knew what I was getting into when I started moving LSD and molly on campus. I kept telling myself that this was a transition state to help with tuition and medical bills, but three years later and I was deeper in than ever.
I was still attending classes and holding it together until my junior year when mom finally passed. I never knew my dad, and there wasn’t anyone left to impress anymore. No-one to disappoint either. I started selling harder stuff – meth, heroin, PCP, once the money was in my hand, it didn’t matter how it got there. I dropped out of school, making more in a weekend than I would have in a month with my degree.
I wasn’t just dealing drugs now; I was a drug dealer.
What’s the difference? When people are only good at one thing in the world, then that’s who they become. I wouldn’t just be broke and bored if I stopped dealing now. I’d be no-one. I was pushing harder than ever, day and night, shipping in bulk supplies from the dark web and hiring my own runners to sell across the city.
I guess I hadn’t realized how bad it had gotten until one of the boys who worked for me never came back with the money he owed. I found him cowering in his apartment a little way off campus, blubbering about how someone attacked him on the street. He showed me the mark where the knife was pressed into his neck while hands rifled through his pockets and bag, taking everything.
2,000 dollars worth, gone. And the funny thing? The whole time I was smashing his face in until it looked like raw hamburger beef, I never once cared whether he was telling the truth or not. I didn’t feel anything when he was crying blood and choking on his own teeth.
I didn’t feel anything while I walked home either, not the curiosity of whether he was going to live or die, not the autumn sun on my skin, not even a concern for what might happen to me because of it.
You know what did cut through the static though? Realizing that no-one would have noticed if I had been attacked instead. No-one would care if someone beat me into oblivion and leaving me for dead, or jumped me on the street to slide a knife into my neck. While mom was still alive I had something to fight for, and if somehow my grit and accomplishments helped me make something of myself, then I knew it would be worth it to see her glow.
Sitting in my apartment, watching the indifferent clock drain the seconds of my life, I realized that I hadn’t felt anything for a long, long time. Even the string of desperate text-messages from the boy’s number didn’t phase me.
Why? Why? Why? they read. Why did you take my son from me?
I guess he’d died after-all, and his mother had already figured out I was the one who did it from the messages. Didn’t matter, it was a burner phone anyway. And even if she did find me somehow, how was she supposed to get revenge on me when I was already dead?
That’s when I poured the vile of liquid LSD down my throat. 40,000ug, enough for 400 tabs of street blotter. If you still don’t understand why I did it, then I honestly envy your innocence. I wanted to feel something, or I wanted to die. I didn’t care which.
The clock on the wall stopped. The whir of the fan fell silent. For a second everything, the bed I sat on, the air around me, even my beating heart hardened into crystal…
…before shattering with a noise unheard since the beginning of the universe. Shards of light like a blizzard of eyes cascaded past me and vanished into the distance in all directions, taking reality with it. Light collapsed into a pinprick and then disappeared entirely, my heaving lungs racing a frantic marathon to keep up. I died a thousand deaths in the span of a second, and by the time new life surged into my displaced being, I was no longer of this world.
Assuming that is, there was anything left of “me”. What I had come to think of as my “being” had exploded into infinitesimally small fragments, each in turn detonating to splinter smaller and smaller until nothing was left but an atomic dust which mingled with all existence. As my mind gradually refocused, it seemed as though every grain of sand, every shaft of light, every soul from time immemorial to the gaping abyss at the end of all things contained me in equal measures.
There was no distinction between me and the rest of the universe, all things being connected by a tapestry of light and energy, all things screaming senselessly into the void and joining their voices in one almighty chorus which all existence sings though they have not the ears to hear it. Beyond life, beyond death, beyond perception beyond ego I rode the eternal winds, powerless to resist or even comprehend that resistance was possible. I was everything and nothing, both the same, both divinely beautiful and profoundly sad like an unrequited love which runs so deep that it doesn’t matter that you aren’t loved in return so long as this feeling is possible.
Gradually my senses returned to me, although there was no discernible separation between sight or taste or sound, all meshing seamlessly into my awareness of the presence that engulfed me. I don’t know how long I remained suspended in this state, but it wasn’t until the presence spoke that I began to appreciate that I wasn’t alone.
IT’S YOUR TURN
“What?” I don’t know whether I was thinking or speaking, unable to differentiate without a body.
A UNIVERSE CRUMBLED FOR YOU TO BE PHYSICAL.
A STAR IMPLODED FOR YOU TO BE POSSIBLE.
LIFE BEGAN FOR YOU TO BE INEVITABLE.
YOUR ANCESTORS DIED FOR YOU TO PRESENT.
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN.
“My turn for what?”
TO CLIMB THE LADDER, OR TO GET OUT OF THE WAY.
“Climb where though? Get out of the way for what?”
By this point my senses were beginning to untangle. I was sitting in the center of a white-sand desert beneath a vast and alien sky. I had to be careful where I looked, because any speck of dust or bead of light I focused on would deform into fractals, hypnotizing me and drawing me into it until I became what I had perceived. New colors sparkled to life and new dimensions made novel geometry possible, all forming and reforming in a mesmerizing romance between actuality and fantasy.
…HE’S ALMOST HERE.
The presence must have still been talking while I had been distracted. I strained to focus on it once more.
“Who is coming?”
YOUR CHEMICALLY SATURATED MIND.
HUMANITY IS HIS STEPPING STONE, AND HE WILL LEAVE YOU BEHIND.
The presence was solidifying before my eyes. A visual sound-wave, pulsing vibrations, the embodiment of madness I was thrall to. Eyes were gradually blossoming over its body like a field of flowers growing from barren earth.
“I don’t want to be left behind. I don’t want this to end.”
THE END HAS ALREADY COME. Now it was my mother standing before me, wearing that floral dress of eyes. ACCEPT IT. She spoke wordlessly through the energy which bound us.
I couldn’t reply. Not while watching her body decay, flesh sagging and sloughing off her bones which in turn disintegrated into a fine dust blowing into the wind. I tried to scream, only managing to inhale the flood of dust scattering from her rotting corpse. Soon, only her eyes remained.
THE BEGINNING IS READY TO BEGIN. The boy I had killed was growing around those eyes. How had I never noticed that he had the same eyes as my mother? His face, his body, I instantly recognized him, although somehow I still felt as though my mother was watching me through him. CREATE IT.
The boy was dissolving too, although it was completely unlike my mother’s peaceful dissolution. Invisible blows were bludgeoning him from every side, and great fistfuls of flesh were being torn from his body. He was almost gone before I realized I was the one ripping him apart, relentlessly consuming everything that I stole from him. Soon, only his eyes remained.
“It’s not the end yet! I’m not dead yet!” I shouted through the mouthfuls of warm, bloody meat. “Tell me what I’m supposed to do next. What I’m supposed to become next.”
There wasn’t anything to tell me though. Even the watching eyes were gone, winking out into the immeasurable desert. Endless vaults of sky were falling around me, strange eons of unseen years condensing into blistering seconds. My heart was burning with the primordial fire of creation and the air soured into acrid smoke pouring from my smoldering lungs.
“Why?” All that I was hurled into words which tumbled unheard into the hurricane of swirling sand. “Why was everything building up to this? Why am I here? Why does it matter? Why won’t you answer?”
“Why? Why? Why?” Searing light burning the words into my eyes from the cell-phone clutched in my hand. “Why did you take my son from me?”
And though I spoke the words aloud, there was no greater truth from the universe to answer for me. There was only me and my trembling fingers as I typed a dozen feeble responses, deleting each unworthy apology before it was sent.
“Why? Why? Why?” came her hysterical sobs as I knelt on her doorstep. I knew her son so well, it was easy enough to find where she lived. She didn’t hit me, or scream at me, or even call the police when I introduced myself and told her what I had done. She just kept asking why, over and over, kneeling beside me on the ground to take my hands in hers. And when she pressed my hands to her lips, it was my own mother weeping for my death.
“Why? Why? Why?” screaming to the heavens, though no answer came in return, and no answer ever did.
Life isn’t there to answer why, after-all.
Life is there to ask it.
And though the rest of my days will never answer for what I’ve done, I now understand that there is only one choice for me and those who are like me, slaves to our ego and blind to the changing world:
We can cling to who we were and be left behind.
Or we can learn from our past and become something new. Something humanity has been building towards since before it began.
The beginning has already begun.