Am I the only one seeing this?
Shawn was standing in the middle of the meadow, on the outskirts of the village where he grew up in, puzzled. The long grass swaying with the wind, like waves in the ocean. There was a golden shimmer to the long grass; it looked like fairy dust. It lit up the meadow in the black night. As the long grass moved, the golden dust floated in the wind, dancing to a rhythm of its own beat.
The hair on the back of his neck stood up. His eyes widened for a brief moment, his mind frantic, struggling to come to terms with his senses. Every single fibre in his body was on red alert, telling him to turn back, to walk away. Telling him to ignore the obvious signs.
I must be dreaming. This can’t be real.
My whole life I have been seeing…things. I have been feeling…things. I say ‘things’ because that’s the only way I can describe them. Things like what I’m seeing and feeling right now. Things that feel real but don’t make sense. To make matters worse I’m the only one seeing these things and I don’t know why. I have prayed and I have asked all the Gods of different beliefs but nothing and no one seems to know what’s happening.
Everything in my life was planned out for me. I was to go to church school in the mornings and then help dad out in the farm after school. When I was at church school they would teach us how God was here to watch over us and if we committed sins we would be punished in this life and the hereafter. Then on the farm… well there was a lot of work to do on the farm.
I didn’t have much time to myself, to think about what I wanted out of life. I was content for I knew nothing else. All I knew was that the lord is watching over us so we must do good things and that I had to help out at the farm. I was destined for a normal ordinary life. All I want is a normal and ordinary life but we don’t always get everything that we want.
There was an order within the chaos. The grass was not just swaying randomly, the dust was not just floating in the air randomly. There was purpose, intent. This was sentient.
The first time, I saw something unusual, I saw a sea monster flying in the skies. I was around 13 at the time. Ken, the fisherman, would talk about the sea monster at the port but no one would believe him. Not even his own brother. Father would take me to the port once every new moon. He would be off gathering supplies and selling some of the harvest we had gathered. I would spend most the day at the docks listening to the amazing adventures of all the fisherman.
Ken had a small boat and would go fishing with his brother Hunter. Ken told me they had been out at sea for several days. Ken swears he spotted the sea monster but Hunter saw nothing. Ken described the sea monster to me.
“This creature was magnificent, terrifying but magnificent. It was as big as a town, massive. Its tail was bigger than a house. Black as the night sky, it had a hole on the top of its head where air would leak out from. I think it uses it to talk to the other monsters in the ocean depths. This creature had just come up to the boat…as if it was curious. I looked into its eyes. It was no ordinary monster. It was…kind and intelligent. I was terrified but when I stared into its eyes I just calmed down. I forgot that it was a monster. We just stared at each, the monster stared through me. It could see inside me.
I swear I felt the sea monster speak to me. I heard it tell me to calm down. It told me that I am a monster like you are a human. It told me that we both exist, that we are both real. It told me to relax and just let it be. I listened to the monster and we just shared a moment together. Then the monster let out some more air from the hole and dived straight down. It was unreal.”
I saw it floating in the skies and just like Hunter, my father did not believe me. It was majestic as it swam in the skies. It was not random, the sea monster also had purpose. These unnatural things started becoming more apparent and frequent. I would feel whatever I was seeing. I remember feeling frightened then calming down just like Ken when I saw the monster. I had let go of all logic, I had to go against what my body and mind were telling me.
Shawn heard a voice within him, calling out to him.
“Listen to your feelings. They will guide you.”
This has to be real. I can hear it. Who is this? Was it the golden dust? At this point what is real? What is fake? I don’t even know anymore.
“No way?!!” Shawn exclaimed in awe.
The golden dust formed a path, like the road back in town dimly lit by the lanterns at night. The dust formed a cushion behind him as it pushed him forward. Shawn did what felt natural. He started walking the path.
My father used to snap at me saying that this was the devil’s work, all these things I was seeing. The priest at Church would tell my parents that I was possessed, first by demons then by the Devil himself. I was overwhelmed by emotions. Emotions of fear, anxiety, pain, excitement and awe. It was all so confusing, very confusing. I didn’t know what was happening to me and it seemed like no one else did either.
They tried to ‘treat’ ‘it’. They called it an ‘illness’. It started with a concoction of some herbs that I would have to drink. It escalated into physical treatment where I would be caned and punished, to push the demon possessing me out. They tried to baptise me again but that did not stop me from visualising all these ‘things’. I was exorcised several times by many different priests. They would come in from neighbouring towns and villages. I was a…challenge to them. To prove their own worth to themselves? To society? To the Vatican? To God? Eventually I learned to lie…it was the only way out.
I kept the visions to myself. Tried to ignore it as best as I could. Thought that I was crazy for a long time. I denied myself from this greatness. Denied myself from the opportunity to experience my life to the fullest. I stayed at home, on the farm, with the animals that understood me, that didn’t judge me. Even the plants understood me. When you shut everything out and listen, you can hear the plants and trees talking to you. They are always talking. We just need to listen.
This was a fate that I had forced upon myself. One thing I knew for sure was that this was much better than what the priests or my own father had planned out to ‘help’ me. It was better to live this lie than to face the truth that had already caused me so much pain.
The more he walked, the more he let go of his ideals and beliefs. The more he embraced what was happening, the more it made sense. His heartbeat returned to normal, his senses were no longer heightened. He was finally at peace.
About 3 days ago, I was down at the port with my father and I remember Ken telling me about an unusual visitor at the docks. I saw Ken on the bow of his boat, perched, like the gargoyles pictured on the glass stained windows at church. He gestured with his good hand and I ran onto his boat. He told me about a mysterious visitor on the docks. He was dressed in a plain and frail green cloth that draped over his shoulder and wrapped around his waist. He was darker skinned than the rest of the people on the town and port. He stuck out like a sore thumb.
Ken told me he had seen this visitor in one of his dreams. He saw this visitor walk through barren deserts and destroyed towns. With his every step, life sprouted again. He saw me converse with the visitor and breakdown. After a hug and a pat on my shoulders, I had sprouted wings and flown into the skies, laughing maniacally. I was intrigued. I asked Ken if I should go talk to him. Ken, in his usual kooky yet wise manner, told me to do what felt right. I went to go find the visitor which didn’t take me long considering how he was the only man dressed in a plain green cloth walking around oblivious to the world around him.
The golden dust was leading him somewhere, it did not matter where. All that mattered was that this was happening now, this was happening in the present. He walked, thoughtless. Guided only by his emotions and the golden dust of course. He had lost track of all time and sense of direction. He did not recognise his surroundings but he was not alarmed. There was a sense of familiarity in the unknown, a sense of belonging.
You cannot forget a man like that.
His name was Pakku. He was old, looked very old but he had this pep in the way that he carried himself. He had a very distinct scar on the crown of his bald head. He had a warm smile and an open heart.
I could feel a sort of…light emanating from within him.
“I can sense a lot of discomfort within you.”
I hadn’t said anything
“You deny all these things in your life, all these experiences that are happening to you. In return you are miserable. Obviously you would be miserable.”
He just knew.
“If you take a fish out of the river and keep it in a small bucket, while that fist may be alive, is that fish actually living? Take the same fish and call it a dog. Will that fish stop swimming and start barking?”
He was here for me.
“Why are you denying yourself from living life? Life happens whether you choose to live or not. Learn to let go and let things be as they are. You cannot choose what happens to you in life, not all the time. Even when you plan every step of the way things will not end up how you had envisioned it. All you can do is choose how you are going to react to it.”
It all made sense at that time. He said those words, gave me another smile and walked away. After so long I had finally heard something that made sense to me. The words that Pakku had said resonated with me on a deeper, cosmic level.
I just needed to let go. I cannot control everything that happens. Whatever happens, happens. I just need to accept it for what it is.
Shawn waded through the long grass and up the hill, guided by the golden dust. At the apex of the hill, his eyes focused on a golden staircase in the middle of the field. This time he was no longer alarmed. A smile formed onto his face, unconsciously. His arms hung loosely by his side, his walk more and more comfortable with each step as the grass caressed, soothed, his legs.
The golden staircase was formed by more golden dust. Nothing about the staircase stood out anymore. It was what it was; a golden staircase in the middle of the fields going up into the sky as far as Shawn could see.
Shawn stepped onto the first step, body at peace, heart content, mind free.
“Let’s do this one step at a time.”