What would you do if one day the entire world you knew disappeared? For as long as I can remember I have been living in a fantasy world. Fairytales come to life. I lived in a bedtime story. I thought I understood the world.
I was wrong.
You don’t think your whole life is an illusion until it is. It’s really not something you’d ever think of. The concept that everything you know and love isn’t real is too much for a person to handle.
I wonder if that’s why they told me. Why they shut off the generators. To break me. They did a good job.
I haven’t spoken a word in years. There is no one here. I crave interaction. I desire isolation. I am a creation of joy. I am an abomination. I feel soft. I look harsh.
Piece by piece I feel myself float away. Everything I grew up with. My sense of right and wrong. My beliefs. They all break free. They move beyond the glass wall of the cage I am in. I am almost a shell. I know this.
I long for everything I once had and yearn for nothing. I wonder how much of me is me. How much of me was created. Is there even a me? I don’t think so.
There is no spirit in me anymore. 562 days. I decide I’ll stop counting today. I decided that 500 days ago as well. I never did.
560 days ago I learnt that my parents weren’t real.
559 days ago I learnt that I was a piece of fiction. Created by a man with a pen.
558 days ago I learnt that I was ageless. Timeless. Immortal.
I wonder why they keep a 2D object in a 3D cage. It seems wrong. It seems weird. Everything seems weird now.
So why am I questioning it?
I press my hand to the glass. I feel the icy grip and yet I don’t. It does not make me shiver. I do not flinch from it. But I recognise it. I sense it. I stare at my hand. Flat.
I used to find my lack of depth disturbing. Now I find it comforting.
I am not real.
And yet I feel real.
I felt real.
I walk away from the glass. It’s strange to think that I can walk. I shouldn’t be able to. My feet had no purchase on the ground. I have no weight. No centre of gravity to keep me stable. But I walk.
I wonder about the man who created me. I wonder if he knew what he was doing. I wonder if he knew he was making me real. I wonder if he could unmake me. I wonder if I want him to.
I know that would be wrong. I know I am one of an infinite web. I keep the magic alive. As long as I believe I keep the magic alive.
But I don’t believe.
Why did they turn the generators off?
I was happy. Blissfully ignorant. Free.
Freedom is an illusion. Like the air under a bird’s wing. It is holding the bird up. You can see it is. But it is not really there. Freedom is a cruel mistress. A cold, cruel mistress dying to steal your hope.
Hope is just as bad. It comes in the guise of a friend. A guiding hand. A light at the end of a tunnel. But always out of reach. Always. Always, always. Always, always, always, alwaysalwaysalwaysalwaysalways.
I do that sometimes.
Think so fast that I can’t hear anything over my own screaming. Did he make me think? With that pen and that ink. Did he give me these thoughts? These feelings? Or are they my own.
I sit. The floor is warm. It’s always warm. It’s a contrast to the glass. I wonder if they know this. Or if they care. Do they know I can’t feel? That I can only sense? I can only guess and hope and dream. I can’t do anything.
I can exist. I will never stop existing. Once I was created I was bound to the world. Not this world. But here I am. Existing in a world. But I can never truly live.
I cannot go back to the generators. They lie and they cheat and they steal. Their friendship is false. Their hope is arrogant. Their pictures are illusions. I cannot live with them again.
I cannot continue like this.
So what can I do?
I can do nothing and I know this. I exist with this. I have known this all along. I have not wanted to know this. I have denied this. I can do nothing.
Finally, I accept this. And so I close my eyes.
I feel a breeze against my cheeks. I am imagining it. It’s not real.
I start to feel grass beneath my fingers. It’s not real.
I smell warm pastries in the air. Cinnamon. It is not real.
I notice heat flooding through my veins. I dare to hope. I breathe. It is not real. I want it to be real.
I open my eyes and I see home.
Is this still home? Is this where I still belong?
It looks no different to when I left it. I am no different to when I left it.
Except maybe I am.
Maybe now I believe. In more than just this fantasy.
I believe in my existence. My continuous, perpetual existence.
I believe in my place in the magic. I smile. I laugh. I jump and I run. I feel the rush of the air across my face. I feel the freedom. The sweet taste of the air outside of my cage. I kick off my shoes and feel the dirt beneath them. Nature. Alive and well and glorious in all it’s beauty. I kick at the water in a pond. I tickles the fish with my fingers. I swing from trees and vines and finally. Finally.
I am finally alive.