Oliver James: Enlightenment

This is a story about a boy named Oliver James.
He feels like he's missing something, like things don't fit together. This story follows his search to try and understand, to gain enlightenment.

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1. The start.

I had started to loose grip on things. All my questions, all my doubts had got too heavy and my spine had bent too far. I was about to break. I needed to feel. That was my problem. I needed to feel something real.

I stared down at the metallic blade in front of me. It looked sharp but they were scissors so they probably weren't. I pressed it against the skin of my fore arm applying no pressure at all. I just felt the blades against my wrist. They felt dull, uninspired, like it wouldn't help. Still, I opened up the scissors as far as they could go, so that they were almost a straight and started to scratch away at my flesh. 

They were blunt.

The pain was a sharp sting. Except instead of it being there for a fleeting moment, it stayed, scraping itself along with the blade. It hurt, but i didn't stop. Each red line, each drop of blood not even leaving the wound was me feeling something. This was real. This was something I could not deny. It hurt. It hurt. 

I don't know how long I was there for. How long I spent in the corner of my bedroom, behind my bed slashing away at my arm, but by the end of it I had 6 perfect red cuts lying horizontal against my skin.

I was happy because I felt something real. It didn't last. Soon enough it all came crashing back, crashing away. Nothing made any sense anymore and that was all too familiar. I had become so used to not understanding anything that I couldn't quite remember if I ever had. I must have. No eight year old questions anything the way I do, but I don't remember what that was like. I would give anything to go back there. 

I put the scissors in the drawer of my bedside table, underneath some CDs. It took effort, but I heaved myself up to my wardrobe to search for something with long sleeves. I found it, put it on, lay on my bed and stared at my ceiling. I might have put some music on but I don't remember. I thought to myself. If this is all my imagination. If none of this is real then I must be a pretty boring guy. My life is not one of a movie star, or a famous athlete or a video game tester. I'm just me: Oliver James, in school, slightly above average grades but not much else. It is things like that that keep me as sane as I am. If I wasn't so boring I would think that I made it up. I don't deserve to be rich, or famous, or highly intelligent. What have I done in the 15 years, 11 months and 31 days of my being alive. Nothing. if I was rich, if I was clever then I would have made it up. A million more questions clouded my mind but I was tired. I could answer them in the morning. I turned of the light and fell asleep.

                                                            *****************************************************

Every word seemed more precious, more inestimable than the last. I was drinking it in, I had no encumbrances. It was everything I had ever imagined. Every chain, and every wall that had stopped me from knowing it all, crumbled away into thin air. I knew everything and it felt great.    

I tripped over my knotted duvet to get to my unopened window. I couldn’t breathe. My hand was clammy against the cold wood as I struggled to push the window pane barrier. My lungs hit the ice cold air with all the force it could, initially wincing in shock but eventually relaxing and regulating my breathing.

When it felt safe enough I pulled my face and chest back through the window and into my room. My hand reached out for the pencil I had left on my desk the night before and I added to my tally. It was just under my window and it marked up to sixteen now. One for every year of my life. Happy Birthday to me.

I made it back to my bed and under the covers. I had left the window open and it was November so I was cold. My arm hurt and it could have been bleeding but I didn't want to look. I wanted it to hurt. I could breathe now but everything still felt heavy. I was used to this by now, sixteen times. This was a dream that is supposed to be good. In this dream I understand everything. I don't worry, or question or doubt anything. It's great, I feel limitless. I feel infinite. I feel on top of it all. 

And then I wake up.

When you get something good, normal feels worse and it feels terrible. I have woken up on sixteen non-consecutive nights sweating because it's not true. My life is shit, but it's not, I just feel like I've had a taste of something better. When I was little my best friend used to tell me about this book that his Uncle from America used to tell him about. I don't remember what it was called but he may have never told me. In this book A shape, a square, who only understands two dimensions gets shown the third. He is filled with all of this new information and it changes his life. Suddenly his own 2D existence seems so restricted. There was this whole other way of moving, of living. But no one believes him and eventually he begins to forget himself. He's rotting in prison and he begins to forget what that 3rd dimension is. He knows it's there but he doesn't know what it is. That's how I feel sometime except I never got to experience it in the first place. 

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