January 15, 2008
By Ashley Laitinen, Chewelah, WA

I lay completely still as I focused on relaxing every single part of my body. My head, down through my shoulders and arms, into my legs, and finally my toes. I took slow, deep breaths and focused on devoting each of my senses to imagining I was floating to a faraway place. This place I had been to many times before. I tended to go there when my emotions or stress boiled over, but in an effort to save gas and time, I had discovered that I could also go there in my mind.
I got into my car. I was driving on a bumpy dirt road up a mountain. The windows were down, of course, because wind is the most intimate thing. I drove incredibly fast around the corners, and before I knew it, I was there. Sitting on the edge of the cliff, the awe I felt at such a great height was as strong as ever. I could see the lake, mostly empty, and connected by a thin stream. As the valley became covered by a shadow, the warm summer wind smelled sweet and soft. I was completely alone, but less lonely than I could feel anywhere else. As I sat with my bare feet dangling over the edge, I was entirely content, safe, and free from all of the problems that haunted me in “the real world.” I was in the spirit world now.
Sometimes at the cliff, I had imaginary conversations with people I miss and can no longer talk to. I often dream of my sister and I spending time together here, and when surrounded by the enchanting scenery I became enchanted by my imagination. I ascended time, death, and all other restraints of reality. Other times, I stopped thinking entirely and merely absorbed the peaceful atmosphere. This particular time, I chose to do the latter.
It was starting to get dark, but I wasn’t ready to leave. I wanted to see the stars, and there was supposed to be a meteor shower that night at midnight. So, I wrapped up in a blanket and just sat there occasionally drinking my lychee juice that I had stored in the fridge in the back of my mind. I sat for a long time, checking my watch occasionally. I looked again and saw that it was 11:59. Almost instantly, I saw a strange flash of light in the water so I focused on the lake far below. There it was again, a shooting star reflected in the lake. It happened again, in the exact same spot. I was impressed at the odd coincidence I had just witnessed. When this started to happen a third time, however, I doubted that this could be a coincidence. This time the light shot across the water, and then kept circling around slowly, until it seemed to create a quivering sphere of white light. I was very tempted to look away, or even just blink, but the light was so incredible that I did not want to miss anything.
All of a sudden, something changed, and I found myself experiencing something that happened to me countless times as a small child, but only a handful of times in the past several years. It is very hard to explain, but prior to this occasion I was convinced I was having seizures. Several people in my family have had problems with minor seizures in the past, and some of them even explained the exact same thing as I felt. There was always a short rush, causing my face to feel warm and my whole body to feel relaxed while remaining completely motionless. I have a quick flashback to water running into a bathtub, and all voices sound louder and seem to echo off the walls and tub of water. Although this flashback is always a part of the experience, it happens all at once and in so little time that I can only remember it after it happens and never seem to notice it when is actually happening. I am always staring at a picture, an object, or an area. Then there is a buzzing sound and the rushing feeling feels like I’m being thrown forward into whatever I’m looking at. There is the same zooming-in sensation as when a digital camera zooms in on an area. As I appear to get closer, my vision becomes less clear, as though the number of pixels is dropping drastically until everything is comprised of visible squares. End of seizure.
As the white light on the dark water became larger and more pixilated, I felt a rush more intense than anything I had felt before. I heard strange sounds like the echoing voices, and I could not understand what was being said. Then the light became less bright, and more of a muddy hue, like dirty dishwater. Still unable to look away, I didn’t move a muscle. I should have been completely horrified, but it all happened so fast that I didn’t have any time to react. I was frozen, and suddenly it felt as though the light was everywhere, and everything was completely different than anything on earth. I would say it was the opposite of the way things are on this planet, but you can’t even begin to compare the two. Everything was everything at once. I felt every emotion at the same time. Every adjective in the human vocabulary combined described this existence I was now experiencing. It was awfully intense, but incredibly beautiful. It was freezing and sharp like a blade of ice, but warm and gooey like melted cheese. I felt as awkward as I would feel at a support group for people with prostate cancer, but as comfortable as I would feel around my closest friends.
My mind was racing, and suddenly I got the feeling that I was communicating with someone. I wasn’t speaking out loud, but I knew instantly what was being said. When I wondered who this other being was, I instantly became aware that I was conversing telepathically with aliens from a distant planet without a name. There was no name because it was unnecessary to these complex creatures for any form of labels to exist. Everyone always knew everything, everything always happened as it happened, and this incredibly intense rush that I felt was what was felt by every alien at every moment on this limitless planet. The bright light I had seen in the water was their means of transportation, and my seizures enabled them to harness my existence and bring me into their existence “temporarily”. This group of aliens was always conducting research on theories of linear time, in the hope that they would learn to see time moment by moment instead of all at once. This way, they explain, they could control their fates by using the power of free will.
My purpose in their research was to tell them where on earth they should visit in order to grasp what everyday life on earth is like. I didn’t quite understand how they expected to be able to understand any part of an earthling’s life, as our worlds are ultimately nothing alike. They had no real understanding of what seeing time in a linear fashion was like, and the word ‘why’ was not a part of their vocabulary. Humans feel that they make their own decisions, and that these decisions will not only affect the rest of their life but the lives of others as well. Everything we do changes the future, like ripples in a pond. Because of this philosophy, we spend large amounts of time planning the future and analyzing the past.
As all of these thoughts were circling inside my head, I asked myself again what the original request had been. Then, I thought of my everyday life on earth. I supposed that they ought to observe a diverse selection of humans. If their goal was only to see what we humans did, that would be different depending on the person. Generally, it would include everything one needed to do to survive and then, for the more fortunate people, what they wanted to do to meet their aspirations. For these creatures from the nameless planet, however, the difference between them and us has very little to do with physical location. They can only understand our way of life if they understand that we live as though we have complete control of our fates. We use our reasoning and logic to make decisions, and these decisions reflect the type of person we are at that particular time. I wasn’t sure if it would be possible, but I told the aliens that they would have to watch a human over the entire span of its life. They would have to see how it developed over time, and was sculpted into an individual like no other. They would have to delve into the ‘why’ dimension.
The aliens seemed satisfied with my response. Before I could prepare or react, I was back on the edge of the cliff, and the intense rush had completely drained. I felt as though I had just had a really vivid dream. I was kind of in shock that all of this had actually happened. About a minute later, I opened up my cell phone to see if I had service. No service at all, and the clock read 12:01. The meteor shower was just beginning, and I watched it in amazement. I wondered if the anonymous aliens I had encountered were watching the same meteor shower. I decided to stop wasting my time thinking and try to soak up as much of the beauty around me as I could.
That evening, I felt the somewhat accomplished sensation that I might have completely changed everything for the aliens. Perhaps they would learn all about linear time and adopt it as their own system. I wondered how much things would change, now that they would be able to consciously control their decisions and decide which turns to take. Little did I know this wasn’t the first time the creatures from the nameless planet had heard this answer.
They always asked this question, and the answer I gave them was always the same. They will always wonder what life on earth is like, and they will always know that they have to cross the fence between nonlinear and linear time in order to find out. Sadly, knowing all the questions and the answers at the same time has made this barrier permanent. So it goes. I got up, refreshed and inspired by the notion that I had transformed an entire species, and gathered my belongings. Before returning to my bedroom and once again boarding the reality ship, I turned to say goodbye to my spirit world sanctuary.

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.

MacMillan Books

Aspiring Writer? Take Our Online Course!