The Awakening

March 26, 2011
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The entire journey was inevitable; it was all a matter of time. Through the tarnished and distracted lens of memory, the occurrences would seem fated, etched by the subtle hand of chance, yet one who has spent life looking inwards, as I have, sees evidence, if in nothing else, in their unanimous repetition. It started, I think, with my blindness. The sagging flesh and shaking hands of age were casual nuisances to me, but to see those black and prevalent words slowly fade into obscurity over the years, brought sharply into focus my emptiness. It was the plague of vagueness that drove me to sleep. As a writer who couldn’t write, the exonerative dreams were a new and colorful medium over which I could lay my whetted pen. In the last throes of the visual world, I took to the library; I versed myself in the mastery and consciousness of lucid dreams. Then the world went white.
I knew my death was inevitable, so I devoted myself to my escape. On one night of no particular importance, I dreamt I was a youthful writer and the means of my freedom revealed themselves. I had seen the writer just prior to my blindness, at a table of that frantic library, his eyes trapped in some book with Borges running up the spine, making both of us, I think, the doppelganger. I conceived for my avatar a fantastical reality, blessed with all the indispensable frivolities, the perfect imperfections, of life: repetition, confusion, blinding emotion, progress, agitation, illusory significance, delusive endurance. Each day I slept longer and deeper, always returning to the writer; the vicarious writing desks of my dreamland danced phantomlike before my sightless eyes through all the hours of the endless night. Through my creation I continued living, continued my writing, finishing a collection of short stories about mazes, beginning an infinitude of new works; reality, not yet wholly unconscious, wasted away like an old man on his deathbed
. . .
I awoke with clarity; the groping nightmare swiftly dissipated, unintelligible, enigmatic, in the groggy light of the morning sun. The new day animated me. I saw the deceit of dreams exposed like the bloody knife of Brutus, I cast the heavy blanket down; I would restart life with a new vigor. I stood, filled with unfounded fortitude, conviction, preeminent words. The paper crawled back under my hand; the wetted pen did its familiar dance: I created worlds. The shrill tick of the clock, the crisp smell of the paper, the balance of the pen, the curving letters’ black disclosure, even the familiar taste of coffee brought me unparalleled levels of ecstasy. The labyrinths below my hand, therefore, overwhelmed space and transcended time. A year passed, then many; I ate, I slept, I wrote. My pen grew heavier, though never slower, I watched the wrinkles on my hand deepen, watched my hair made that compulsory journey from black to grey to white. The hurts of the world inevitably condensed into a cancer; the calm and studious young doctor capped my life at two months. In the face of death, my world became more defined. As if I were the archetypal prisoner tallying off my days, I could count the endless seconds, feeling each strike deeper as it passed. Everything was more beautiful under the shadow of my doom.
Darkness, choking the air above my bed, was a bleak and crucial welcome when one night I awoke from a fitful nightmare; the hellish blanket of fear smothered my senses, hiding from me my familiar surroundings. I lay, breathing heavily, unable to see clearly in the gloom, struggling to remind myself of reality, when the apotheosis of synapses flashed across my mind. My cancer was a dream, as was the warm and contented pillow under my head, my bed, my books, my pen, my hand, my arm, my heart, head, and body, my world. Smoke and mirrors, all of it! Disgusted, I remembered I was just a dream, realized that in the seeing bliss of my new life I’d forgotten I was asleep. With an unparalleled sensation of tremendous ascension, my lungs filled with their last air, and the world was only light.
. . .
I, Jorge Luis Borges, shook my sightless head as the last fragments of a most epic dream fizzled away into the night. Nothing had been real then. An ancient and profound sadness filled me as I became aware; all my writings and creations existed purely within my own mind. I lay, imagining the ceiling I could not see, savoring the sip of immortality I’d tasted with connoisseur-like relish. I knew I could repeat the event tomorrow. The idea of living a thousand and one lives before my enclosing eyes closed for good tantalized me, but if my lives were always an illusion, in the end, was it even worth it? I recalled with revulsion the feeling of tawdry fraudulence I’d felt as I’d realized I was a dream-thing. In an instant of fateful serendipity, spurred by a familiar feeling, I seized the loose thread in the stitching of reality I’d created, and inadvertently wrenched it into oblivion. With a now accustomed sense of elevation, I inhaled, and ended sharply.
. . .
Confusion, being the first registered emotion, sloshed around my weary mind, mirroring the unhappy dregs of the ubiquitous bottle in my hand. I couldn’t shake myself of the irritating notion that I was some author named Borges. Borges. No, that was only be the bottle speaking, I was Poe, born that way, and would die that way. I always had been… But the momentum of my epiphany overcame me, and I rose upwards and backwards further still. Life and life and life I lived in glimpses. My consciousness became progressively more detached, omniscient, as the seam of my universe unraveled faster. I drifted upwards and backwards, moving from creation to creator, dream to dreamer, and back again; I was Shakespeare, Voltaire, Dante, Homer, Adam. Finally, I reached my inception. I hovered over the waters of the formless and empty earth. For an eternal instant my mind had wandered, the seductive romance of mortality had drawn it on a fleeting tangent. Shaking off the last residue of my delusion, I spoke into the darkness: “Let there be light.”





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