Essay: Tell the Story (of two hearts)

J-Dubs challenged me and two others to write the story for this photo prompt. I have. I am then to post a new picture and challenge three other bloggers to write to it (there are apparently no rules for length or type. Some are poetry. Some are long, others short).

***

I was awakened by a loud noise but found nothing. Unable to sleep, I sat at my desk. As I started to type, a message appeared on screen that said, please don’t be afraid. We need to talk. If you say it is okay, I will be right with you. If you say nothing or no, I will leave you alone. Will you talk with me?

I thought about calling my wife, but I just sat there – heart racing. I pushed my chair back and thought, Now? The words now or never appeared on the screen. I think I said fuck.

I spurted out a muffled verbal okay then. A man immediately walked into the room. He looked like me, but this was no simple doppelganger. He was not someone else who looked exactly like me. He was me, but not me. He held two glasses of wine and placed one on the desk in front of me and he sat on the couch and sipped the other.

He spoke first.

You were wishing you had a drink. I had the same wish. All you need do is think your questions and I will think them too. Then I will answer you. I will talk, but only you can hear me. If you talk, you risk waking your wife. If that happens, I must leave. So do not speak. Just think. As you can see, I am physically here, but in a way I’m not. I’ll explain that later.

I cannot read your mind exactly as you do because I don’t share your background, reasons, motivations, or physical experiences, but my thoughts parallel yours. That’s how it works for us. It is our relationship while you live. We are not precisely the same person, there are two of us, yet we are the same persons in two parallel universes. It’s hard to comprehend. I need you for me to exist as I am.

We go back a long way. Do you recall the monsters under your bed as a child? That was me. I knew you would talk about it. As a monster, it would seem normal to others. If you had told your parents you found yourself under your bed, they might have been alarmed.

He went on for a long time. As we drank the amount of wine in the glasses never changed. When I thought of a question, he would answer it immediately. He never stopped talking. When I understood, he knew it and would move on.

While time passed, what seemed like hours took only minutes. He explained that as a form of mental telepathy wherein thoughts happen faster than spoken words. What seemed like talking was a form of thought transfer, which explained why no one heard us. I had not verbally said a word.

He said – You have heard of a parallel universe, right? I am not only from what you call another universe, I am you in that universe. Our universes are real, but separate and parallel. One is superimposed on the other – dimensionally separated, but not physically. Mine is older and less physical.

I can explain it but you’re not capable of understanding or believing it. We discovered the possibility of a different universe and sort of willed yours into existence. But for us to have access to yours, we needed to transform physically. What you call evolution is us trying to figure out how to make it work. Eventually we did, but not perfectly. We had to learn about the impermanence of a physical universe.

He explained that while he was a permanent entity, he did not always exist as he did now. He was not a life form until I was born. His incubation was parallel to mine and he came into existence as a person equivalent to me, but in his universe.

He explained that others like him have attempted showing themselves but often regretted it because of human reactions due to superstition and fear. He asked – How do you explain a parallel universe to people who don’t even know what a universe is? For communication there must be some common ground.

Then his expression looked more serious. He said – You need to know how this will end. When you die, I will cease to exist as I am now. I’ll revert to my prior form since at your death there will be no human entity to parallel. We don’t know what happens to you. Humans just seem to die.

Our being depends upon yours for quality and purpose, but not for raw existence. Eventually, I will be paired with another human. There are more of you than us, so many humans are not paralleled. Your existence is no longer dependent on us. You’re on your own in many ways.

You may find that unfair, but there is more for us to figure out. The two parallel existences still depend on each other. I want to propose that we try something new. If you like my idea, you and I will be the beta test.

Just as he started to explain his idea my wife called out to me. Instantly he was gone. I walked to the bedroom and she asked, “Do you feel ok? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

I told her that I had heard noises from under the bed that were very similar to when I was a child and had seen monsters.

She groaned and mumbled, “Why the fuck did I want to marry a writer? Go to bed!”

© Bill Reynolds 2/21/2019

***

Tell the story if you so choose. The three writers I challenge are:

  1. Kathrine
  2. Jim
  3. Tara

And the photo is (credit to Sherry):

Look both ways and watch your footing. Do not fall into the gaps.

Jekyll and Hyde

 

JJekyll and Hyde (The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde [1886] by Robert Louis Stevenson)

rl stevensonThis classic was written 130 years ago. It is available free on Amazon and you can add an audio version for about a dollar. Even in the book, the age old struggle of people to understand and to deal with the dual nature of mankind is acknowledged.

Several interesting features of the allegory should not be overlooked. First, Dr. Jekyll discovers a potion to separate his dark side, in the person of Mr. Hyde, from his good side. But never, is the good independent of the evil. You can have duality, or proof that it exists through Hyde. But there is no Mr. Wonderful in the story.

Second, the narrator is Mr. Gabriel John Utterson, who only briefly is acknowledged to have a dark side. But he is given every detail to tell the story and in the end, gives us Jekyll’s full explanation and rationale, which is very good, in my opinion. Of the three (or four if you separate Jekyll and Hyde) main characters, only he survives – dark side intact.

1280px-Dr_Jekyll_and_Mr_Hyde_poster_edit1Third, when Dr. Hastie Lanyon is faced with the reality of the dark side, he is so overcome with the news (provided as proof when he witnesses Hyde’s transformation to Jekyll) that evil lurks in the embodiment of all men that he dies. He even says he will die, and why. This is in spite of the fact that Jekyll explains it all to him. Why did Lanyon die? Because he too had a dark side, but he never believed that he did. He never accepted his true and complete nature. Essentially, his own sin of pride killed him.

For those of us who believe that the basic nature of man is good, this may be a troubling allegory, as it was for Lanyon. But it shouldn’t be. We should not have to separate, indeed we cannot, one nature from the other in an effort to prove its existence. I think that the labeling of the dark side as evil is okay, if that is what you decide to do. But I wouldn’t do that. I prefer to accept my nature as it is. I experience little conflict and move forward with my life – it is what it is.

jekyll_and_hyde_illustration_by_dmarsela-d88k7mnI do strongly favor the concept of living in the moment, my own version of Carpe Diem works for me. I did notice that in his final confession, when Jekyll is referring to the nature of Hyde (which is supposed to be Jekyll’s own dark nature), he says “…his circumscription to the moment…” in such a way as to condemn it. Embrace it, Harry. It really is all that we have: right here, right now.