Proverbial Strangers

Proverbial Strangers

I recall when, as a very young child, I played dangerous games as I slept, drifting faster and faster and deeper and deeper into emotional whirlpools with gravity wells in their hearts, skimming their event horizons to feel just how closely I dared approach, knowing that one heartbeat further and I’d be forever lost, in a dark kingdom ruled by distilled dread in its purest forms.

There were no monsters there, they dared not delve that far, but there was an all-encompassing presence, malevolent, incorporeal, and it knew me, and wanted me, and though drenched in fear I did not fear it, at least not yet, there’d be plenty of fear to feel if I sank the tiniest bit too far, and I needed to know just how far I could go.

When I felt myself being pulled in I struggled, first to escape and then to awake. I knew I was asleep and knew just what I was doing, although I didn’t know with whom I was gaming or for what. It was a dare I undertook at my own urging, a contest of some sort I thought that I’d devised, perhaps an early attempt to conquer both fate and fear. One I always won, although always at the last possible instant.

I’d not thought of those dangerous games for a long, long time, more than half a century I think, although perhaps, in passing and now forgotten, I’d glimpsed a trace. However, for some unknown and unknowable reason, tonight, lost in waking dreams, I saw myself again touching that frontier. But when it seemed I must succumb, I spread dragon’s wings and soared away, as free as I’ve ever been, although where I went was quickly lost to me, I only knew that I’d escaped, and that I’d always be able to escape.

I wondered whether that waking dream was a message from the child I’d once been, or someone else I’d once been, or a me yet to be, and I wondered what it meant, then recalled Freud’s trans temporal message to kindred souls, never met but always recognized, those who in darker times knew I’d exist, as I know they existed, and that others like us would someday live and that on a given instant, they’d have need of us, great need but satisfied by the merest acknowledgement that we knew they’d exist, or had existed, or, in the unlikeliest of cases, coexist right now, somewhere we’ll never know, proverbial strangers passing in the night.

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2016; all rights reserved

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