“To which I owe the pleasure to be unto?
Onto which land shall I land if not my own
As made by your mind and yet,
if all is but a dream
Could we then say that we are nothing
Nothing but shapeless forms
Dreaming within dreams for all life and never.”
Within a room situated in a small one bedroom above a restaurant, filled with wondrous and marvelous paintings, drawings, and pictures was a man standing by his desk hanging photographs. Visual arts were his life, his eyes were lenses that showed and explored a reality only he knew and only he could interpret.
From there, in what was meant to be his living room, circulated the fresh summer breeze that brought petrichor in. Rain had stopped after two sunless days, egg yolk lost in puffs of cotton and trails of smoke. A city buzzing with life, tourists tended to come this way a lot between summer and fall. Not too far from there, was the coast giving into the vast Atlantic.
Parrots perched atop tops or hung on the narrow balcony and cawed loudly or swayed as if dancing. Little thieves sometimes jumped the branches and landed inside the apartment, grabbing at anything that may be good to have on them or trade. Furry quick hands, all you often saw a vanishing fluffy brownish tail.
Yesterday, he had gone out and visited the fields on the outskirts of his home city before returning to the scenic areas constructed for all the summer flux. The last one he hung portrayed a woman standing by a bridge, lost elsewhere with gaze to the running waters beneath. Wearing a long flowing dress in midnight blue smeared with dots of yellow. Wearing an oversized straw hat, the sun made her skin look as if it were made of the purest of cane sugar. People walked back and forth behind her, the shops and lights could be observed far in the distance.
Suddenly, as he clamped it down, her head lifted and turned to face him. Surprised but, far from scared, he watched the strange occurrence.
“Now, now, it is not okay for a man to stare at a lady like that. You’d make her think there’s something wrong with her.” This made him blink and then he lowered his gaze before coming back up. This time, she stood in the frame as one would by a window facing out.
“Apologies, it is not every day that we see moving pictures in our world.”
“Is that so?” She seemed genuinely surprised by this.
“Indeed, mam?” His hand came to his chest, palm up with the question.
“Miranda. And you, giant hirsute man?” She extended her hand through the frame. Amazed by this, the man looked around to see if there were any more. Was he having an hallucination? Had he finally gone crazy? Talking to a woman inside of a picture.
Regardless, he reached out his hand and with two fingers gently shook her minuscule hand. “Pleasure Miranda, I’m Carlos.”
“What do you got down there? Can I see?” Her head came out and looked down at the white sheets he had on a table.
“That’s my workbench, so to speak. I used it to draw things or people.”
“Can you put me there? I wanna see up close!” He agreed and extended his hand out again as a platform for her to step on. Instantly she jumped on the occasion, slowly he brought her down to the table and let her go into the page. Turning into a 2 and a half dimensional being. “Well, that’s kinda empty in here. Say you, creator, how about an elephant or a tree for some life? Perhaps a large comfy egg seat hanging from it? Where I can swing and curl up?”
He laughed first, “But of course, wouldn’t it be like a very empty apartment? Let me grab my pencils just over here.”
“Colors! Yay! Show me!” She clapped and rejoiced as he reached for his box of pencils on a shelf above the table.
“What color do you want your elephant? After all, you have the choice to pick. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t mind seeing a glittering green elephant in real life. Sadly, sometimes life isn’t as pretty as we wish it to be.”
She bent her knee a bit, cupped her chin, and pouted her lips to the side. “Hmm. Well what’s the limit now? Can’t make you anything and everything? The impossible as much as the possible? Look at me, I know no walls, no boundaries, and no borders.
Say, well, let’s go for a square dotted mammoth in purple and orange, huh?”
“You got it little lady!” Right away, beside her, he began to draw a massive furry mammoth that looked like it came out of a massive psychedelic trip. Fur did not flow down but curled and went in every direction. Tusk ran long and elegantly with the quality of precise calligraphy. Black buttons looked down and blinked, big feet stomped as he finished the trump and it called out to her.
“Wow! That is just amazing! Now, for the chair and the tree! You pick on this one!” She was ecstatic.
Rapidly, he grabbed some colors and began to draw the trunk of the tree in white and yellow. Next came the foliage that made you think of blooming cherry trees with vibrant pinks and purples. Filled to the brim with flowers, as she gazed in awe at the world forming all around her. After, he drew a rope that connected to a large wicker seat in bright blue. Big enough to fit two of her, the interior decorated with plush pillows of varying patterns and colors.
“This is fantastic thank you! But, I think we’re missing one more thing?” She looked above.
“Oh my, yes.” He realized what she meant when he peeked out himself and saw the sun shining bright above. “Let me fix that for you.” Twisting rays extended from a large center, orange, yellow, red. Blue and pink skies marred with random cirrus clouds.
“Can I ask you something?”
Carlos sat on his bench and rested his chin on crossed arms close to her. “What’s that?”
“Am I alive? Are you alive? If you can make my world, can someone build yours?” This left him pensive, unsure of how to respond.
“Uh...” For a brief moment, Carlos turned to face the open sliding door, contemplating his own existence. “I am unsure of how to answer your question Miranda but, I do have another for you. Perhaps you can answer them better than me. What does indeed construct reality? Our minds? Our hands? Words? If we aren’t, then what are we?”
“I feel I am alive. I feel I am real. I can see you and your world as much as I can mine. No matter how limited. We’re talking and interacting. Does that in itself not make us?”
“You have a lot of question for a simple man such as I, Mimi.”
“I wanna move.” She bounced out of her seat and came to the edge, she peered out in the distance at the multiple canvases and set herself one that depicted a surrealist jungle lost in shades of green, blue and red. “Take me there, please?” Once more, he aided her as she pulled herself away from the paper and waved bye to her mammoth. As soon as she hit the painting, her shape regained its three dimensions, sounds of the wild emanated from within as if brought to life by her presence.
“Here you are asking, all the questions when I, myself have looked countless times to the firmament and requested an answer. Give me something, show me how to live. Show me something meaningful or tell me even what is the purpose of existing. By what means did shapelessness take form? How did such creator trap the sun, the atoms, and every element into one complex piece of machinery; then the ghost in the machine, its soul.”
“So you don’t know either, huh? So, does it mean we just do, and then what? I feel somewhat lost.”
“My dear Mimi, you sure are delightful. I think your feeling is the best appropriate feeling when faced with the question of being, for what? To what end and how we finish? That painful twinge and anxiety from knowing one day I will a whisper in the wind. Such as you, if I were to be evil and erase you. No one would ever know you even were and such is my life. I am nothing and yet I am the most meaningful I could and ever will be.”
“Oh, no! Please don’t erase me! I am scared too. Where do we go when we aren’t here? Is there another place, in the same way, I can see more and more around you?”
“I do not know. For ages, humankind spoke of heavens and hells. Places of love and places of hate. The eternal duality of mankind. Shall I do and be damned or shall I just be and be damned either way? Now you make me wonder, how can you be so afraid when nothing holds you?”
“Heaven or hell, what an interesting concept. This, right here, right now, couldn’t it be heaven itself?”
“Perhaps, perhaps.” He laughed away and so did she.
“I have one last question Carlos.”
If you are my creator, is the man behind you writing this yours? Because I can see him right now.”
“Uh, what?” Carlos turned around, faced up, and noticed a face staring into a screen while fingers typed away fast. “Hello, there! I haven’t you seen before. I guess we have a lot to talk about, huh?
“I guess we do.” I answered.
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