The Artist

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On the last day on Earth, I was alone. Not alone in the fashion of having no company around me, for physical desertion does not disturb me. I was alone in a deeper sense. Nobody but myself was in my mind; I was alone, with nothing but myself. This sense of loneliness is only curable in lies, for nothing can solve it. In fact, the only way to defend against it is to cease being fearful of it, for that is the single reason that one might attempt to reach out and attempt healing this almost other-worldly isolation. But, in truth, the other-worldly perception of this philosophy is quite the inverse. Reality is not some sort of holy brotherhood, but a more isolated kind of living, where each person must see for one’s self and not succumb to the will of others. But of course, this is not where the story begins.

This is my telling of the last day on Earth. Not the end, but rather, a new beginning. It all started at a doctor's office. I was in for my monthly appointment. Ever since being thirteen, doctor's appointments were required, due to the "abnormal" activities in my brain. I know the truth is that they fear that I am a danger to society. I do not suspect I have any serious ailments, for I they have been monitoring my head for fourteen years and nothing has occurred yet. I'm probably just the victim of a scientific study.

So there I sat, in the cold doctor's office, with nobody else in the waiting room. The walls were painted a pale gray, and there were absolutely no books or photographs to be found. "How quaint" I thought to myself. In bored anticipation, I checked the time on my watch. It read "9:27 A.M." Time seems to sleep when one is in a room reminiscent to a cell in an old psycho-thriller film where the maniac is forced into the local insane asylum. I suppose time even forgets what society rejects.

I attempted to entertain myself by drawing on a small piece of paper left in my pocket fromm the day before. You see, I live by myself, and I intend to get as much wear out of my clothes as possible. I don't have to worry about a roommate judging my every choice of clothing washing, so I do not. I rarely wash my clothes more than once every two weeks and if I'm feeling especially sluggish in the morning, I commonly slip into the pants from the day before. Obviously, I was lethargic this morning.

No matter how I tried, sleep would not come to me the night before. Something seemed to be being dangled in front of my body, like a thought that had not traced my mind in quite some time and was in need of being pondered on again. But trying seemed futile, for no matter how hard I tried, I could not understand whatever inquisition was being handed to me. Whatever force was controlling it must have intended that I knew not what it was. Perhaps it was warning me of something… But what foolish thoughts are these? My subconscious can hide nothing.

The realization of how long I'd been sitting in the same spot hit me, and irritation was the result of the blow.

"Aargh! Is there anybody here?" I yelled.

There was no reply

"Hello? I've been here for at least thirty minutes! I know you're there!" I said angrily.

Soon after, I felt a bit embarrassed for my outbursts. I realized how extremely childish I must have sounded to them. Who would answer a grown man who complains in such way? I might as well have called a nurse out to chat about how drab the waiting room was. I began to play such a scenario in my head. "It's called Feng Shui. It's when you decorate to make the spirits of the Earth happy." I laughed to myself. I might have well have said such when I previously bursted out.

I lost any hope of a reply and stood near the sign-in glass.

"Excuse me. Sorry about my temper tantrum right there. I uh... I didn't get very much sleep last night, so I'm a bit grumpy." I said to the glass, "I mean, I guess that's no excuse for being an absolute jerk to you but..." I stopped.

It seemed that nobody was even behind the glass, for I had no reply. Reluctantly, I slowly pushed part of the glass open. I could see nobody. Further I pushed the glass open, and there was still nobody in my sight. I poked my head into the small room to check and see if there was a nurse passed out on the floor, or if some other unlikely event had occurred.

If life were a movie, I knew exactly how this scene would play out. A knife wielding maniac would jump out from beneath the counter to slaughter the unsuspecting man leaning over the glass in impatience. But this proved to be fantasy, as there was absolutely nothing beneath the counter. In fact, the only thing in the entire room was a black notebook that was slightly out of my reach.

Confused and annoyed, I once again yelled to see if anyone was there. Nobody. I checked my watch to see what time it was: 9:27 A.M.

"Wow, it's earlier than I thought." I said to myself.

I then realized a fact that I found most curious. What seemed like a life time ago, unless I had suddenly lost all logical perception of reality and my concept of time had gone completely void, then my watch was stuck. Great. All I needed to make my day better: a broken watch.

9:27. The numbers haunted me. Absurd. Pure mania. My watch is broken. Unless? Absurd...

To get my mind away from my disturbing thoughts, I diverted my attention to the doctor's office. Silenced surrounded me on all sides. There was nothing of interest in the waiting room. Nobody. There were no cars going by outside, no doctors bustling around in in the other rooms, no coughing children, no books, no magazines, and no pictures. Just the cold gray waiting room. There were no windows, and there was no way to see the sun. No doors were in a place that the sky could be seen through. Outside the exit door of the melancholy waiting room lay an exuberantly depressing hallway. No artwork lined the walls, only the art of a plain paint that put your mind into a state of chaotic weakness.

I looked at my watch again. Nine-twenty-seven: What if time has stopped moving? What if I am stuck in some kind of lapse? But that was absurd, completely illogical. Through all this, there was still no explanation for me being utterly alone.

I was alone. There was nobody there. To check if I was truly alone, I decided to go to the back of the office, where patients are actually seen. I put my hand on the cold steel handle of the door. I turned the knob and opened the door slowly. Half expecting to see the place going on about everyday life like normal, I peered my head in.

There was nobody there. This room was just as blank as the other two that I had seen. The counters were lined not with medical equipment, drugs, and paperwork, but rather a chilling lining of nothing. The gray was there too, almost excruciatingly.

I thought to myself. I was alone. Completely and utterly alone, I was, but I didn't feel lonely. My heart was calm. Strange, I knew that I surely should have been feeling pure and endless despair, but I didn't. No anxieties were registering in my brain.

I thought about what I should do. Just then, I remembered the black notebook that I could not reach in the sign-in room. If I went around, I could surely get to it. The entrance had to be back there somewhere.

I went around the rooms and opened each door. All the rooms were identical. A small gray desk on one wall, and a gray bed on the other. After about seven rooms, I finally opened the door to the room I was looking for. The opaque glass lined the front, and the nothingness of the room was broken by the black notebook sitting on the counter.

My hands shook as I reached out for the notebook. It seemed strange and frightful to be touching something so out-of-place, as if I were to be quickly punished for such doings. It felt miraculously just like every other notebook I had ever held in my life, and the beauty of that gave me comfort. I opened the front page of the notebook and what I saw almost sent me into fits. The handwriting on the page was my own, but I had no recollection of writing any of it. My eyes began to quiver with the rest of my body when I read the contents.

"I am you. Well, actually, you are me, a figment of me to be exact. You are the product of me. I created you. I created all of the things in your mind, all the fears you have, all of the strengths, and everything you are. Of course, you're wondering three things right now: 'Why do I not feel lonely?' 'Who are you?' and 'What is going to happen to me?' All of these are incredibly easy for me to answer, but I must go into more detail

You don't feel alone simply because it is not something you can feel. When I made you, I left that part out, purposefully. The only thing you ever have had the ability to see in other people of your world are physical elements. The only emotional and mental connections you have are your own creations. There is no way for you to truly feel a physical connection to somebody else, simply because they do not truly exist. If they did, you would not have known it anyway.

The second thing I must explain: Who are you? Simple. I already answered that. I am you. You are me. I am an artist and you are the creation. The entire world you have for so long dwelled in is a creation of mine. Any attachments were creations of your own. So, I guess you could call me some kind of a god? You are my thoughts and my dreams, a product of my imagination. You have created other parallel universes in your mind, and they are almost the same as you are to me: Completely oblivious to anything that could have created them. I just chose to reveal myself to you because I am a selfish, greedy artist. What could be greater than talking to your creation? I can not think of anything.

Oh, and I am sure you ask what shall come of you. Who knows? Well, actually, I do, but I'm not going to tell you. It is much more amusing to see by myself. I have destroyed your world by revealing it to you, and I will now watch you cope with it. Many men have pondered questions similar to these, but to no avail. I can only wonder if their empty conclusions became fundamental to them. Be it so or be it not, their questions were never truly answered. "

My hands shook. My mind was spinning in chaos. I fell to my knees, for my legs seemed to turn to boneless skin. My eyes swelled with tears and erupted. I cried and screamed. "What am I supposed to do?" I yelled out. "You lunatic! Who do you think you are?" My tears were running down my face, in a confused river of uselessness.

It was not so much as if I had lived a life of decadence and pleasure prior to this point that drove me to torment. The strange letter was but an affirmation of the fears that I held in my mind. The entire life I knew was a complete and total lie, not even worth crying over. I was a dream, a figment of some dirty god's imagination. Whatever sadist created me had me on a string, creating the illusion of free will. Everything I thought I knew was a dream, and this desolate hell was the reality. I was alone, and I had always been alone. Nothing in this so-called life was worthy of crying over, yet still I sat there, crouching in the fictitious room, crying my faux tears.

I couldn't stand it. I had to wake up from this dream, even if that meant destroying myself. I couldn't stand to live in this world knowing that nothing was true.

I slammed my head into the wall. Stars were my vision, and I did it again. I repeated it at least ten times before my sight went red. I saw the blood flowing upon my entire body and I felt the dent in my head, growing further with every blow. It was as hollow as my entire existence. Again I rammed my false head into the imagined wall. This time, it seemed as though I had reached success.
------

I was falling, peacefully. Slowly, I floated into nothingness. The tears of my fiction were dried by the heavenly wind pushing against me from below, reassuring me of hope. Even if I didn't exist, at least my meaningless anima could rest. My soul could finally become tranquil.

I thought about everything that I had experienced in this world. It only made sense to me now that it was not real. Nothing ever seemed to make sense before. My entire life, I had to be responsible for coping with all of the things that I did not understand. That was the only truth, my perception.

My mind went out like a flame and an Aquarian peace seemed to be upon everything.
------

I awakened, being ripped from my futile death. Gray surrounded me again, this time in a phone booth. That is, to the best of my previous understanding, it was a phone booth. I could not see anything outside of it. Yet still, I could see on the inside. My judgment of the room was formed due to the pay phone in front of me. Somehow, I was standing when I woke from my death. It seemed no different than waking up from a day dream.

Suddenly, the phone in front of me began to ring. Not just an ordinary ring, but rather and ugly, ridiculously high pitched ring that would drive one to insanity if they refrained from answering it. I was no exception to my premonition, so I extended my arm and picked up the receiver.

"Hello?"

Mouth went dry and my stomach dropped as I heard my voice, juxtaposed with a tone I had never portrayed.

"Hello there." It said with pride and arrogance. "Surprise, surprise it's you. And it is me. How many people have the chance to have conversation with them self on the phone? Not many, trust me. But anyway, I'll stop this charade and tell you why I've called you.

"I knew you would pull that stunt back there. Seriously, what logical person wouldn't attempt suicide if they discovered their puny little world? Unfortunately for you, that is not going to work. No matter how many times you try to do yourself in, you are just going to stay in the same place."

Bewildered, I attempted to speak. "Wha... what do you want... from me? What am I.... supposed to do?"

Humor was in the tone of the other voice as it replied. "Ha ha! If I were to completely give everything away, what fun would that be? I can tell you one thing, though. The only thing I can expect of you is to figure this world out, and that is all I can say. This is all you have.”

I heard the line click as the "other" me hung up. I put the receiver back onto the cradle of the phone, and turned around. I was in a tiny box, maybe only about two feet wide. To all sides, there was darkness. The cube was lighted from above, with a small bulb in an alcove. Everything was familiarly gray.

I established in my mind that staying in the phone booth was doing me no good, so I decided to leave. I opened the door, and it was black to all sides. The darkness was almost a relief from the gray that had so enveloped my soul. I could see nothing to any side of me. It was as though I was walking on a huge flat surface. There was no evidence leading me to the conclusion that I was going to get anywhere at all, yet still my feet and legs pushed on.

For what seemed like hours, I continued on my trek into nothingness. Enveloped in darkness, I felt as though I were everywhere. Silly, it was, for I was nowhere. My mind and soul were becoming tired of wandering, so I ceased my plummeting into the oblivious void of inexistence.

I could think of nothing I wanted more than a sign that I existed. Even if I was a dream, I still existed to myself, somehow. Whatever force reigned supreme over me had at least given me the illusion of free will and, with that free will, I wished. I began to create in my mind. I imagined with every fiber of my being.

As I dreamed of a better world than the one around me, the black began to swirl into a tantrum of colors. My eyes could not focus on anything, for it was moving much too fast for my mind to process. My nervous mind was spinning at the same speed as the torrential spectrum surrounding me.

I attempted to calm my mind from the chaos that had erupted. Breathing heavily, I tried to clear my mind. As I was doing so, the spinning around me began to calm as well. Then, an epiphany came to me; the space around me was a reflection of my mind. When I felt blank, it was black. When I was overwhelmed in the arms of chaos, it began to spin, just like my mind. I was in control. I was a god.

I began to imagine things. First, I thought of something I could really use, a clock. If it had a time, I would know there was some other force in control, rather than myself. In front of me, a grandfather clock appeared. There were no arms upon it, signifying that I was correct.

Finally, I understood what was happening. Somehow, the world I had previously known was torn apart. Whether that was done because of force claiming to be me, myself, or something else, I knew not. But it did not matter, for I had an eternity to figure it out, and even if I didn't ever discover the truth, it wouldn't make a difference. I was in control. Even if there was some other force above me, it mattered not.

I had discovered the truth: There is no truth. There is no past and there is no future, only the present. By the time an event is perceived as the present, it is the past, and it is gone. I had the power to make a world.

For now though, my mind was weary. I created a bed to sleep in and laid down

I had a dream, of which I have yet to define an opinion of.

It was the “other” me, kneeling on the floor, begging for forgiveness. When I awoke, there was a smile on my face.





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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

Richard W. said...
Dec. 18, 2008 at 2:31 am
Overall, this story was very well written. I especially liked the ironic ending where the former subject becomes the master. The main character's brief philosophical rants were extremely interesting as well. I recognized some of the existentialist elements, but I haven't read enough existentialism to see it all. Good job.
 
slade24 said...
Dec. 16, 2008 at 9:31 pm
This was excellent Ian. I couldn't stop reading.
 
just3words said...
Nov. 29, 2008 at 9:17 pm
This was quite interesting! It kept me reading! good work :)
 
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