Forever Be Here
I awoke in a small cabin in a village I wouldn’t remember. I wouldn’t remember the guy sitting beside me, the people outside, the world I was living in and its laws. I wouldn’t remember anything because when I awoke I thought this place to be too different for me to want to remember and found myself questioning my own existence. Who am I? How did I get here? Why am I here?
I was told I had amnesia. When I asked what that was, he defined it as a disorder where I have completely forgotten who I am.
I sat up but he told me not to move so fast. He wasn’t sure how to treat this and if rushing up too fast could hurt me in any way. I assured him that I was okay but he was still cautious and frantic. There was a look on that wrinkly face of his that was full of worry and panic. Like he had seen a ghost and had been beside one for hours and was now going mad with denial and I was the ghost. He was playing with his long white beard before I had awoken but now kept his hands away from it. He held onto his cane and tried to pull himself to his feet but it was too much for him so he just held onto the cane tightly.
“If I shouldn’t remember who I am then how come I don’t remember you, this place, and when I look out the window I can see that I do not remember the outside world as well. And you are afraid of me, and I don’t understand why.”
The old man stopped holding onto his cane so tightly and smirked, trying to hide the fear I could still see lingering in his eyes.
“My dear, I found you by the river. I thought you to be sleeping but the longer you slept the more I realized that it wasn’t so. I had the villagers’ help you to my cabin but you still would not awake, even after all the moving, and so I and the villagers grew worried. You have been asleep for two days now.”
“You didn’t assume I was dead nor had something terribly wrong with me? Why not take me to a hospital?”
“We have no use for a hospital here and death is foreign to us.”
I studied his face. He spoke only of what he knew and nothing more. The fact that I was so confused I blamed on the amnesia. And then he bowed to her, “I will return with some tea.” When he left the room I studied it. It was made of metal and brick, unusual for a cabin. I looked out the window again and realized that I was not in a house either I was high up into the sky, in a building that probably extended up further. I looked around at all the other buildings around me and the more I saw the more I felt like I would never remember this world. It seemed more advanced than I could have pictured it; cars hovered above ground, bicycles and skateboards didn’t have wheels, people wore loose clothing, and the city seemed to be closed off by a bubble that went around it. Some village, more like a city.
I opened the window and stuck my head out to try and get a better look. I can see flags blowing in a distance and kites being flew but there was no wind. I tried to feel it but there was nothing here. The air was still and silent, even with the many people below. And then I had this eerie feeling when I felt like the world had been looking up at me, watching me. I pulled my head from the window and closed it quickly.
“Sorry it took so long, my dear. I so rarely have guest and so forgot to make it for two. I had to redo it.”
“My name is… Emily.” I reflected. The man’s tray had been shaking in his hands, the tea spilling over and when he placed it onto the coffee table before us the room had been submerged into a deep silence. I kept reflecting on the name and how it had come to me. It flashed into my mind, my vision going blank while trying to see everything Emily was. But it couldn’t.
“Emily? What an unusual name?” he said. He was more shaken up than before and took his seat on the sofa beside the one I was sitting on. He picked up a cup and brought it to his mouth and took a sip.
“What is your name?” I asked. His eyes made his way towards me, as if astonished and yet terrified by my question. He put his tea cup down slowly and swallowed the tea even slower as if drawing time to search for an answer.
“My Dear Emily, I do not have a name and neither am I called anything more.”
“How can that be? Everyone has a name. Do you have amnesia too and is this some sort of amnesia clinic? I looked out that window and couldn’t see anything but this really big city I feel I will never remember. It scares me but what scared me more is the eerie feeling I got when I stuck my head out and the nervous fear I see you have. What is so different about me that you’re hiding?”
The room had submerged into more silence. He picked up his tea cup again and began to sip and I was not only frustrated and angry but scared as well. I took the tea to help calm me and it helped a little but the more I thought of all the questions I had, the more frustrated I got again.
“Follow me” He got up and walked towards the door. He had been kind to me but feared me at the same time. I was getting a mixed feeling from him and it scared me but for some reason I felt like I could trust him. I had sipped his tea, rested in his home, and he had taken me in, a stranger by the river, so I had no choice but to trust him; he was the only person I knew. I didn’t even know myself.
I got up and followed him through the door; we walked into a small hall with four door ways. One went to his kitchen, another to his bed room, another to his living room, and another lead into the hall where he pushed a button on a wall that opened up into an elevator. The elevator was made of glass and as I stepped inside I could see the village and all its mass. I looked down and noticed how high up we were and as we submerged I looked around at this amazing city. And then, when I began to focus at the glass, I could see my reflection.
I had bright blue eyes and long dark hair, and I was very young. I asked the old man how old he did he think I was and he gave me a look, as if he was uncomfortable answering the question. I assumed I was in my late teens, maybe early twenties, and I was fascinated my appearance. I might have sounded conceded to him when I mentioned that the woman in the mirror was beautiful but it is not what I meant it to mean. I did not know the woman in the mirror, even thought she was I. I couldn’t remember her, and I would never understand why she was so fortunate at beauty.
“We all look and feel how we want to feel and live our lives the way we please.”
“So are you saying that I look beautiful because I want to feel beautiful?”
“No, I am saying that our hearts bend to what we come across as the unexpected. But we create the unexpected with intentions and fate, a life to never falter, and the fellows of Shangri-La.”
“I don’t understand. Where are you taking me anyway?” I kept looking in the mirror, fascinated with myself. I wore blue jeans and a blank tank top and my eyes were shined with the city lights on the other side of the glass.
He didn’t answer and when the elevator stopped he stepped out and I followed. “So if you don’t have a name can I call you Old Man? Or Mister Old Man?” I joked. He stopped, looked back at me, more annoyed than before, and then continued to walk.
We walked into a large quiet hall with no one to be seen. I looked around me, trying to take in what I was seeing. I looked around me and then another image flashed into my mind when I was looking for a word to describe it. Cathedral.
When we walked out of the building I took notice to the massive city before me. It was bigger than I thought with buildings that stretched into the skies. The cars were amazing and the bicycles and skateboards, that I had noticed from high up, had seemed so new to me. I felt like I was sitting in a different world, held together by magic and disbelief. I was suddenly overwhelmed by everything I was trying to take in; I believed I was getting dizzy and losing consciousness because I had lost all hearing, and the world seemed dead and pale.
And then as I took notice to the people around me, my dizziness became an unreal idea and I understood the symptoms that had taken over me. I was feeling dizzy because of everything I was taking in but the silence was kept by the people in the city. As I walked passed them they watched me, keeping their silence amongst themselves. The world was dull, everything shaded by a pale blue and glass, and the people dressed in similar colors; light blue, or white.
Even as they whispered they kept a strong silence. I followed the man closely, fearing the people around me. But I was struck with a comfortable fear because I felt they meant no harm to me. I was not afraid of them but was afraid of the eeriness that came from their actions.
“Why are they all like that?”
“Why shouldn’t they be? We are all afraid of the unknown. But fear itself, is what I new to us and that is what we fear. We do not understand you or it so we see you as it. You are the same as us. Asking that question, the way that you did, shined a fear into your voice. You are afraid of the unknown as well.”
“Maybe fear is not something we are afraid of, then… maybe it’s the dislike of change and difference within your life. When we see something that we do not know and do not want to know, we fear it. We would rather run to a familiar base.”
He nodded and smirked. He had loosened up; his body wasn’t as stiff and nervous as he was in his “cabin” so I assumed he was becoming comfortable with me as I was him. I no longer walked behind him but at his side and calmed him “Old Man” when referring to him, even though I knew it had annoyed him. It helped me laugh though and in this time of confusion and darkness, laughter is what I yearned for.
I sudden wave of familiarity came over me when we arrived at our destination. I looked at a small house made of wood and brick hidden between two buildings. It was the only house I had seen and the only place where I would take a step towards the gate and not feel estranged by its unfamiliarity.
“Where am I?” I asked.
“You, my dear, are standing before the house of your only other person.”
“Old Man, you are so confusing.”
“We have never seen another with amnesia. We did not know what amnesia was until this man came along. He talks about another time and how our world is cursed by a clock ticking a way to insanity. Sometimes I do want to believe him and his stories because he is the only person that could caste a difference in society. But we all thought that he was and always would be the only one. You should talk to him if you must understand this society and this amnesia he talked about.”
I nodded to him and took a step towards the house but as I stepped in front of the old man I realized that something had changed. I looked back at him and he shook his head. He did not wish to venture on with me and would leave me to go alone.
“Maybe fear is the dislike of change and difference in your life; you said that. I fear what is different and will return to my cabin where I will enjoy the rest of my tea and spend the rest of my day looking down at this beautiful city through my window. I have a long day ahead of me, my dear Emily, and I hope that you find your answers.”
“Thank you for taking care of me. I will not forget it.” I said as I turned away from him. I thought about what he had said and realized that maybe I am not from this society. I did not find any of their ways close to my own and the way they talked was also different from me own. I dressed different, looked different, and shared a different value for society. The old man was going to look through his window for the rest of the day and all I could think of was why not watch some television?
I knocked on the door but no one answered. I knocked harder and the door fell open. It was dark when I stepped in but I did not fear it while looking for answers. I left the door open; hoping the lights from the outside would shed some light on the inside. I walked foreword and tripped on a long pole; I fell and it fell with me. I screamed, scared at what it actually was but as I looked at it closer I realized that it was just a lamp.
I thought about what had been lighting the place at the old man’s house; a floating orb that lit up like a sun. I lifted the lamp and turned it on. It lit up the door way and hall. I looked around the hall and noticed stairs the lead to the second floor, a kitchen at the end of the hall, and a living room to my right. I felt comfortable here and had decided to close the door behind me.
I screamed, caught by surprise.
“What are you doing?” He asked. I didn’t respond. I took notice to his dark eyes and short ruffled brown hair. He was also wearing jeans a t-shirt and held a bag full of groceries. I just watched him, studying him, trying to understand why he was so different from everyone else; why I was so different from everyone else.
“Hi, I’m sorry for just walking in and knocking down your lamp and trying to close your door on you. My name is Emily and… and—”
“I know who you are, I’m sorry I scared you. I was just curious as to what you were doing and why you were doing it.”
“Well, I was closing your door.”
“Why is that?”
“Because I was comfortable here and thought that since I have light, I can just close the door now.” He didn’t scare me anymore and I felt as if his questions were meant to challenge me on some level. I knew, right away, that he was different and that he had insight as to who I was and why I was here. I answered his questions and listened to him because I knew he was my only hope of ever knowing who I truly was.
“Ah ha! So it’s beginning to come together… I haven’t seen another person like you before and I have been here for a few years now. It starts to drive you a little crazy when you try to hold a conversation on the street with someone but they are afraid of you.”
He walked into his living room and tossed his groceries onto his dining room table which shared the room with the living room. He had sofas facing in the direction of a television, candles with beautiful scents, a ceiling fan, an air conditioner, a rug took the floor, and his walls were painted a light red. It seemed more alive than the old mans place which had pale walls and nothing in his rooms but tables and places to sit.
“Hi, my name is Jake.” He put out his hand and I put mine.
He took it to his face and kissed it, “It’s a pleasure to meet you Emily.” He then asked me to sit and I did and he sat across from me. “You know your name. It is already coming back to you. In time it all will.” I was infatuated with his smooth speech, the way he had greeted me had been precious, and I felt a calm while next to him. I didn’t want to leave.
“I don’t know who I am, how I got here, but I know I’m not from here, so I’m also stumped as to where I had come from. Everything feels so different and weird… I awoke with amnesia… and I was told that you know everything there is to know about me.”
“I know all there is to know about where you come from and why you are here. As for how you got here and your life before this… that I do not know.”
“Then can you tell me. Everything.”
“I will… but first I have to show you something.”
“Show me what?” I was tired of asking questions or moving and I just wanted to know the answers to my questions. I guess patience is key. I followed him out of his cabin and into the building next door. It was identical to the Old Man’s building and we stepped into an elevator with a similar view of the other one. I then watched myself in the glass astonished by my own beauty. How can anyone be afraid of this? I caught myself in a conceded atrocity when I had come to believe that with beauty came knowledge and power. I was wrong, I knew this, and stopped thinking it right away.
We took the elevator to the roof, stood by a cliff, and looked down at the city below. I was nervous at first but the dark paleness of the city was massive and destructive to the human soul. I can feel a sadness lingering in its structure and a story hidden with a defined knowledge as to why I felt so sad looking at it.
“You are looking at a city not many of the people know exists. It is a perfect Utopia; no diseases, no fought, no death, no aging, no conflict or racism, and they consider themselves a village of peace and tranquility. When they found you they thought you were sleeping but the man that had found you had once found me in the same state. I was lost for months without ever knowing who I was and I lived amongst them as if I was one of them.”
“But you aren’t. I knew this the moment I lay my eyes on you.”
“They want us to be like them because we disrupt their perfect society. Not many people like us end up here these days and that is why they fear us. You are the second person in five years. At one point in time they were all like you and me but they had forgotten their previous life and have adapted the ways of this society.”
“Okay, but how do you end up here?”
“I don’t know how to answer that. When your memories come back you’ll see how you got here. We all end up here in different ways and I don’t know your life to be able to answer that question.”
“So how did you end up here?”
“I’ll tell you when you remember how you got here. If I give it away it may cause some damage and I don’t want to hurt you. You are the only person I have been able to talk to like this… I cherish it.”
I didn’t understand but smiled at him as if I accepting him in some way. He looked at me with regret and sorrow. “When I look at this city I feel so sad. If it’s the perfect society then shouldn’t I be free of sadness and shouldn’t they be free of fear? Shouldn’t this place look beautiful in some way?”
“It does, Emily. When you first looked at this city I can bet that you thought it was unique and fascinating and that it was the eerie people that pushed you away from it. People like us that endure emotion they don’t have are something different to them and they fear it because you are disrupting their perfect society with something they are unfamiliar with. They fear fear as well and in time you’ll come to see that they will choose to ignore you because you aren’t part of what makes this place as holy as it is.”
“But this place still seems so dull and miserable and I feel, even when I didn’t know who I was, that I was more alive than anyone else. Everyone seemed dead in a way.”
“Well, when you live in a world with nothing to look forward to, nothing to care about, and you eventually fall into a state of depression. Depression becomes misery and you become trapped in this darkness they choose to not acknowledge as a problem. To me, the perfect society would be a society with conflict therefore we never get bored with life and living doesn’t seem like something we have to do but something we want to do.”
“Maybe you are right. A world without loss makes it a world where you have nothing to fear, no goals to maintain, and no life to want to give. I can assume they will become unmotivated, love would not exists because to love is to sacrifice, and the truths behind who we are become altered and so we all become the same.”
“And that is what they are; all the same; and they are afraid of us because we are not like them. I’m glad we agree.”
I looked over at Jake and smiled again, understanding the beginning of my day. If this world was without error then the old man shouldn’t have forgotten to make tea for two but I disrupted his network, possibly always making tea for one, and so he changed him in some way.
I then bit into my arm and more images flashed into mind. Blood and pain. But the harder I bit the harder I wanted to bite. I felt no pain and there was no blood and the skin had no imprints of my teeth.
“If I jumped from this cliff, would I die?” I asked.
“Why don’t you go ahead and try it. Like an Angel, you’ll fly.”
And so I stood up on the cliff and looked back at him. I had no fear, no regret, and no thought as to what would come after the fall. I just fell. I looked up at him as I fell and just waved me of. In that moment my past flashed before my eyes and I could remember everything.
I opened my eyes and realized that I was on the cliff besides Jake. I fell to my knees, my past lighting up a fire inside, that I could not describe. Everything began to shatter and the world I had come to know and the world I had once lived in had all come together in a way that I could only describe as shocking.
“You fell from the sky and somehow fell up, back towards the roof. I never saw that before, it was actually kind of cool. You fell up and into my arms and then you opened your eyes and had fallen to your knees.”
He clarified what I had done for me but…
“I did not see me feeling. I fell and then all these images just started flashing in my head… I was a little girl… maybe six or seven… I had a little brother that I took care of all the time because my parents were always to busy to take care of us. I had to grow up fast, and at six, I had already felt like an adult overwhelmed by adult responsibilities. One night a fire broke out in the kitchen of our apartment and it blocked the entrance way of out apartment. I didn’t know what to do and as a parent should, I thought of my baby brother first.”
I began to cry, and it began to rain. The sky seemed to be crying with me and the world seemed paler than before, flexed to the sadness in my heart and the darkness of my past.
“There was only one way out and so I put my bother in his crib and pushed him through the fire, and under the small passage. I could see my neighbor grab hold of him and I assumed he was okay but I was still suffocating. I tried to make my way towards the hole as well but the ceiling caved in and covered the hole. I passed out from the smoke… that place… that time… I lived in New York City… at a time where all this seemed like something you would find in a book… am I just sleeping? Is all of this a dream?” I looked up at him desperate for the answer I wanted.
“I was an orphan that no one wanted; I wasn’t bad but no one wanted a kid that was already four. I raised myself the best I knew how and at the age of nine my foster parents went on vacation and left me and some of the other foster kids alone for a weak. The other ones were bullies, though, and often hit me. One day, the oldest one, who was in his late teens had stolen something from all the other boys and blamed it on me. They beat me up for it and I died from a loss of blood… I awoke here with what I thought was amnesia… we think it is amnesia because we do not remember a lot, and in a way it is, but we awake with amnesia because not only do we want to erase what happened to us, but we were so young that we didn’t know much about the world anyway… we look like adults because that is the age of our soul… we felt like adults because were and so here we are.”
The tears came faster and I could only clarify myself with shock. “This miserable place is heaven…”
Jake kneeled beside me, held my hands in his, and held his head to mine. He shed a tear as well and I realized that I was lucky to have him beside me. He had not only helped me with all my answers but he was comforting me in a way I knew no other person in this Utopia would ever have been able to comfort me.
“And the reason why not many people come here is because we come from a time where the world is spoiled and seduced by evil… we are some of the last remaining good people around… you saved your brother when you could have saved yourself. You’re a beautiful person Emily and…” he wrapped his arms around me and whispered into my ears, my heart beating with his “… I will forever be here for you.”