L’Appel du Vide

Life begins with a long stare into the darkness.

In a warm and happy place, we look from afar at a great uncertainty. Where there is no time and suffering, an expanse of days less than a measly century seems like nothing, even if the form you fill out checks every box, if you accept terrible weights in exchange for knowledge. What will it hurt? The soul is immortal and able to bear all things. When free, it dances across unending fields of green, wisened, not wizened. It forgets how lonely it is to be in the body.

The term is French, referring to that urge we feel on a clifftop to jump, or the wondering what it would be like to run someone over while driving. Supposedly, it occurs because the impulse is the strongest choice one can make in those situations. I think it reminds us a little that even a life-changing choice only lasts, after all, in that life. Macrocosm this, and you see that earthly lives we take on are the most altering choices we can make. This reality you and I, Reader, are fumbling through was once only a void you peered into. Look long enough, and you forget the pain of last time, and the time before. The void gazes back, and something in it hooks you irreparably.

I am animated in this body by something immense and old, and it’s one of life’s mysteries how it can fit into this finite space. I see it freed and unburdened in my dreams, I have since before I understood what it was. I would be gazing into water or a mirror, and a pretty version of myself all in white smiles back. Sometimes the eyes are the blue I always wanted, sometimes a paler green than my own. The spirit looks at me peacefully, radiantly, with a perplexed sympathy and a white-gold aura I see blurred through my tears, because the vision of my buried self is pure of Earth-pain, sky and sea to my iron and blood. She hurts me with all that I am not. It is a kind of brilliant pain.

Sometimes I wonder if these lives, these aches pile up in the soul’s heart and may wound her beyond repair. In these moments, I am the one feeling guilty. I want to rush to the reflection and ask forgiveness, even though she (I) was the one who accepted this burden. When her face is sad, I feel responsible, though I am only a costume of skin she put on, a shell I tried to shed early and failed. I was the strongest choice she could have made, an acceptance of so much challenge that it may pain her still when this body is at last worn out.

Pardon, mademoiselle. I did not do it on purpose.

Author: athlynne

"From mirror after mirror, No vanity's displayed. I'm looking for the face I had Before the world was made." - W.B. Yeats

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