Before reading HPK, consider starting with the original post: Where is Connor?
Although many of the events in HPK take place before the incident with Connor, HPK was intended as a followup. If you’d prefer you can begin here, as the timeline is not linear.
It’s happening again. I can see the horizon.
I walk into the TV room, holding the dress shirt that Nate let me borrow for our choir recital. I walk into the TV room holding the shirt, and ask where I should put it.
“Hangers are in the closet.”
My friends are watching an Alfred Hitchcock movie. Norman Bates is on-screen, showing his guest the room that she’ll be staying in.
“Hangers are in the closet.”
I realize that my friends hadn’t said anything. The voice that answered me came from the TV. I open the coat closet behind me and use one of the hangers.
It’s Tuesday afternoon and I’m driving home from Chemistry. I am thinking about a friend of mine. Ryan Avila is his name, and he lives in Brazil. He had recently sent me a Facebook message, after reading a story that I’d posted online. An account of an event that happened in August, 2011, when Connor spoke to me but it wasn’t really Connor. After reading the story, Ryan started sending me all kinds of articles, and pictures, and TED talks. Facebook wisdom snagged from various new age pages like Time to Wake Up, or Truth Beckons, or Awaken the Mind. The words of a philosopher superimposed over a planet. He’s always on the lookout for the next great insight. The one that will make this all make sense. He is searching for the truth. He is searching just like I am.
I’m thinking about Ryan Avila’s posts as I pull up to the construction zone. There’s a pickup truck already stopped ahead of me. Its license plate reads:
It always takes a moment for me to realize that it’s happening. That I’m looking at my thoughts, and that it isn’t a hallucination. I imagine it to be like thunder and lightning. I take a picture of the license plate as the light turns green. The kind of picture I could show to a friend later as proof, as I recount the story to them. I think about how this happens every time I take the little pills with the letters and numbers on them. The ones the doctors said would help me. I think about how this has happened before, and how it ended last time. I think about how close I got. I won’t let it get away this time.
(I would later discover that Ryan Avila’s middle name is Peter, making the license plate his full initials.)
It’s Friday night and she is next to me on the couch. Let’s call her HPK. We’re sitting with our friends, and she is beautiful, and she smells like tigers and what space might smell like if space could smell like something. I smoked before she got here. I smoked because Matt asked me to. I smoked and now I can’t think clearly. Although she is sitting next to me she feels much farther away. She feels far away because I know that I can’t have her yet. I see the time displayed on her phone.
“The time on your phone. 9:09.”
“Oh yeah, you’re right”, she says. “It’s everywhere.”
She said the number 9 follows her. That it’s her birthday, and the day she graduated, and the model year of her car. She tells me she knows I was born 9 days after her, on the same day as a friend of hers. She called it destiny but I can’t tell if she’s serious.
I’m sitting in the dean’s office, in one of those cushy leather chairs that hardly get used. The ones with the cobwebs underneath that no one bothers to clean. I’m sitting in the dean’s office and he’s asking me about the number 18.
“Have you considered that you’re seeing it more often because you’re looking for it?”
This is always their first question. I glance at the clock above the sign-in desk outside the office. Of course that’s what time it is. I wouldn’t have looked if it wasn’t.
“Yes I have considered that. It might even be true, but it’s also following me. I think that it’s death. It’s been 3 days since I’ve slept, and death is catching up to me.”
It’s alright Eric.
[It’s happening again?]
Yes it is.
[Should I tell Matt?]
[I can’t explain this to him.]
Yes you can, and you will.
“Remember how I told you it was happening again?”
You don’t have to tell him right now.
[But you just said-]
I said that you will tell him. Not that it has to be right now.
“It’s nothing, nevermind.”
“Lol, okay Eric.”
They’ve put something in front of me that I can’t look away from. This time it’s a game called Techno Kitty. There are unicorns and submarines and dogs wrapped in bacon hurling across the screen. I’m controlling a kitten. A kitten vomiting a rainbow with enough force that it’s driving him through the air. I have to avoid the stars, and it’s all I can focus on. They’ve put something in front of me that I can’t look away from because that’s how it ends.
Connor and I are knocking doors. It’s been weeks since the incident, when Connor’s body was inhabited by the voice that I hear in my head. The voice that told me not to play my own numbers in the Lottery. The voice that told Connor to duck under the bush seconds before the police car rounded the corner. The voice I’ve been hearing in my head since this all began on New Year’s Day, 2007. The one that told me this was my purpose. Connor and I are knocking doors and I’m getting impatient. It’s been a week since I made a sale and I really need the money. It tells me which houses to knock and which to skip. It tells me to save the first house on the corner for last, and I do.
I knock on the door of the first house on the corner. The man who answers speaks with a heavy South African accent. He tells me his name is Sam. He asks me to come inside before I have the chance to lie to him.
“Are you a musician?” he asks me.
“A musician? Well… yeah I am. How did you know that?”
“You think you are a salesman, but that is not what you are.”
“What do you mean?”
I haven’t told Sam anything about myself. He knows that my name is Eric and that I work for ADT. That’s all I’ve told him, but that is not all he knows about me.
“I was told you would be coming here today. I knew that it was you when I answered the door, and that I should invite you inside. I was told you need to hear what I’m about to tell you.”
I’m unsure what to say. He is right that this is not what I want to be doing, but anyone could have guessed that I didn’t care to be knocking doors in the middle of a Sunday afternoon. Maybe my hair gave me away as a musician. What does he mean he knew I was coming here today?
“This is not your purpose. You think that you need money to move forward, but you don’t. You’re running around with your head cut off because you don’t know where you’re going. You are meant to start a movement. A new religion.”
I’m staring at him, dumbstruck.
He tells me he is a minister, and that he came here from South Africa. He tells me that I had my heart broken in college by a girl I thought was going to be my wife, and that I needed to forgive her. He tells me that I want to take my own life, but that if I did it would destroy my mother. He tells me that I will eventually find the love of my life, and that I will be happy, and live to be very old. He says he knows about the pills with the letters and numbers, and that I don’t need to take them. He says he knows about the painkillers too. He says that Connor will end up in jail if he smokes salvia.
Everything Sam said about my past had happened. Everything he told me about myself was true. Connor smoked salvia and went to jail two days later.
I don’t remember exactly how I got here, or what happened. The tag on my wrist identifies me as “Visitor 819”. They let me keep my Bible verses but they’ve taken the necklace they were attached to, along with the nail wrapped in leather. My mind is sluggish, but I remember that I finally slept. They aren’t giving me the white pills with the letters and numbers anymore. These new pills are pink, and they are making me tired. I walk out of my room to the courtyard, where the older women are sitting and smoking cigarettes. I ask for one, and I start over.
I’m in the crowd at a Taking Back Sunday concert. My new friends and bandmates invited me to come along with them. I’m in the crowd with my arms in the air, keeping the girl with the studded belt suspended over our heads. The kind of belt with the metal spikes protruding from black leather. Her belt catches my face as she’s thrown further back into the crowd, knocking my glasses to the floor. I watch as they’re trampled beneath the feet of the crowd. I really can’t see shit without those glasses.
After the show my friends find me near the entrance, where we said we would meet. Tim is holding a pair of glasses out to me. They’re Ray Bans. Black with a white border around the outside of the frames. He says to try them on. They make me look like a lunatic. He tells me that he saw me lose my glasses in the crowd, and that these glasses had flown out of nowhere a few minutes later and hit him in the face. He kept them on the off chance that they might be my prescription. One of the lenses is my exact prescription. The other lens is just slightly off. It changes the way I focus, making everything flatter. I can see clearly, but I can’t look directly at anything. I tell him they’re perfect.
I just sent her a text message, HPK. Two imgur links, one with the face of a tiger-god suspended in space with the text “The Eyes of The Ancients” written next to him. It’s probably the coolest one I’ve found yet. The other is a tiger in a flight suit, holding a helmet, with the text “I’m From the Future” written next to him. I wonder if she still finds these pictures as awesome as I do.
I’m on the platform at the front of the sanctuary with the other choir members. We’re practicing for our performance, and the director is explaining how musical rounds work.
“It’s going to keep looping,” he says.
[What’s going to keep looping?]
“Imagine it like a spiral, and your words will blend with the other spirals,” he says.
This is how it is shaped.
[How what is shaped?]
This is the shape of the universe. It’s a forward driving spiral, repeating infinitely. You are in the center of your own rotation around The Great Thought. You are looking into the horizon. This is why you see the number.
I know what it means. 18 is infinity.
It’s a loop, forever repeating, with an arrow driving it forward.
I see the number because I’m looking into the horizon and seeing my own reflection.
At this moment, a girl in the entrance hall begins to scream. Everyone else becomes silent, and the choir director darts to the back of the sanctuary. A girl in the entrance hall is screaming as though she is on fire. We rush from the stage to find a girl on the floor in the fetal position. She is clawing at her arms and shaking. She looks terrified, but she won’t speak. She is whimpering as though her life is about to end. A car pulls up to the front entrance of the church, and she is put in the back seat, clawing at the people trying to help her. We never heard what happened or saw her again.
I’m sitting in the driver’s seat of my parked car, staring at the flowers through the windshield. I’m thinking about the patterns. How it said that at the center was infiniti, and everything else are spirals. Repeating patterns. Fractals branching from the source, exploring their own designs.
I remember reading the Magic Eye Puzzle books that my parents bought for me. The ones with the pictures that you could only see if you didn’t look right at them. If you looked through them. Autostereograms they’re called. They work because they are a series of computer generated patterns, repeating, with a slight alteration that allows a picture to be hidden beneath the surface. I’m sitting in the driver’s seat of my car when I realize that life is a series of patterns, and the slight alteration is my own free will. Suddenly I realize this is what they’ve been telling me all along.
Just try it.
Look at us as though you are that child looking in his picture book,
trying to see the hidden shapes.
I focus my eyes on a single point of light. I look directly ahead. They’ve put me in front of something that I can’t look away from. It is night time, but the street lights are illuminating the flowers on the trees in front of the car. I can’t look away because I know what they are now.
You are not your body. You are a part of me.
I’m not inside my car. There is no car. The image begins to change.
I am not looking at flowers. There are no flowers.
I forget that I am alive. I am the energy that surrounds me. I am the light at the end of infinity, just as we all are. The specks of light are shifting in front of me. They are reforming into a new image. I see a human hand. I see an arm, and a hand, and it’s waving, trying to get my attention. The arm belongs to a being made of the same energy as I am, and he is smiling at me as though seeing an old friend. He is surrounded by all of the others, made of the same energy that I am.
HPK likes the picture I sent her. I’m happy to see the text.
“Have you titled it?” she asks. My parents and I are on our way to lunch. They want to know what I’m writing, and what I’m planning to do with it. I have trouble explaining what it is, so I tend to be vague. They remember the last time it happened. They don’t know that it’s happening again yet, so far only Matt and Donny know. I don’t want to worry them. The difference this time is that I will write it down, and I’ll control it. I will write it down as it is happening, and I won’t allow myself to get lost.
My mind wanders back to HPK. I want to tell her how I feel. I think that she knows but I’m not sure. My dad is asking me which pho place we should go to. I unlock my phone and see the tiger that I set as my background. The mascot of the Divine Order of which I am the High Shaman, and she the High Priestess.
This is what happens when I take the pills with the letters and numbers. Colors are brighter and more vivid. My senses are sharper. I can talk and type at the same time, while thinking about something else entirely. I can think about ten things at once. The downside is that I can’t stop doing it.
“It must have something to do with the lucidity,” my mom says.
They are talking about a family friend of ours who is struggling.
“So is it her birthday, is she a Harry Potter fan, or is she the village idiot?”
I’ve been staring off into the distance and thinking about space tigers, and smoke, and mirrors and orange platform shoes. I think maybe my dad can sense this. “Is it her birthday?” A bit, yes. I like her birthday. The numbers match, and she noticed it first without me saying anything. “Is she a Harry Potter fan?” No, that was someone else. “Village idiot?” No way, she’s smart. She’s smarter than I am. Then I see the woman in the pink party hat sitting near the entrance. He was talking about the woman in the hat. I need to slow down my thinking if I’m going to be able to control it this time.
I’m walking from my dormitory to the parking lot to meet Rusty. We’re going to see The Number 23. It just premiered, and I like Jim Carrey.
The number is all I can think about now. It’s following me everywhere. 18 letters in my name. It’s the day I was born, my area code, my zip code. My initials on the periodic table [Es 99]. Edna told me I played the piano for exactly 18 minutes. Why was she timing me? I didn’t need to know that. The maximum occupancy of the cafeteria where the piano sits is 418 people. That plaque wasn’t there last week, why did they put it up now? I think about the fire station that I pass everyday on my way to Rusty’s house. Station 18. Station 18 with the big numbers written on the sides of the trucks. Why station 18? It could have been anything. Do many schools have their own fire stations?
My guitar teacher told me about the Jewish symbol Chai. He said that the word added up to 18 in gematria. Gematria is the traditional Jewish system of assigning numerical values to words and phrases. They do this in the belief that they are related to each other, or that it may bear some other greater significance.
He said that in gematria 18 is “Life“.
I think about the cafeteria’s maximum occupancy. 418, why does that sound so familiar? I think of the radio show Adventures in Odyssey. A Christian broadcast about a small town, with an ice cream parlor run by a man who could invent anything. A man who used to be a secret agent, and whose son was a secret agent. I remember TA-418. TA-418 was a part of biological weapon known as the Ruku Virus in the two-part episode “A Name, Not a Number”. That’s why the number sounds so familiar. It was my favorite episode. For some reason I decide to enter TA-418 into Bible Gateway to see if there’s a verse that corresponds to it. I enter it in and it takes me straight to this entry:
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” – 2nd Corinthians 4:18 (NIV).
For some reason I think about the Magic Eye Puzzle books my parents used to buy for me. I think about the glasses I’m wearing, and how my vision is changing.
I have a tendency to re-read what I’ve already written. I know that I should not do this. I consider it a form of masturbation. I do it to live in a past moment, so that I don’t have to create a new one. I only took half a dose today. My thoughts are slowing down. I think it’s good that I only took half a dose today. I’ll be better in the morning.
My dog Toby is asleep on the foot of my bed. I remember the last time I did salvia by myself in the bathroom. I remember seeing what it is that I see every time that I smoke salvia. I see the rotation of the universe. I see myself as a cog and I become the horizon.
I remember Sean Matthews calling my phone at the exact moment I regained the ability to speak. I remember answering the phone by saying “Sean, salvia is the answer to the universe, but I have to call you back.” I remember walking out of the bathroom and seeing Toby on the steps. I remember the giants pulling the blanket of stones over my head. I remember looking in Toby’s eyes and seeing the last fragments of what holds me to this plane unravel in front of me. I saw the love behind the eyes, and I could see he was a manifestation. I could see through his eyes to the source at the end of the spectrum, and in that moment I knew what I had to do.
Connor tells me that the narrative is a bit hard to follow. I tell him that I’m trying to construct a pattern, and that it might make sense at the end.
I want to tell HPK how I feel before any more time passes. I don’t want to make the mistake of not expressing it. I text her. I tell her that I think she’s rad. I tell her that I know what’s up, and she doesn’t have to say anything. I just needed to tell her before any more time passed without my having said it. I feel good about saying it. She thanks me for being understanding.
I’ve just come home from Arison’s house. We talked about girls and about life and about the patterns. He says we are more alike than I realize. He says he’s had a breakdown before, similar to mine, after taking acid. I tell him about what’s been happening, and that I’m going to need to tell people about it eventually. He says that music is a great way to do that. I tell him that’s what the voices have been saying for years. That I would use music as a platform to tell people about what’s been happening to me. I tell him the voices say to pursue music above all other things. He says that’s what they’ve been telling him too.
I hold the twenty-sided die that Matt gave to me.
“If I am meant to play music with Arison, the number will be 20.”
I throw the twenty sided die onto the floor and it rolls across the carpet. It lands on the number 20. I pick it up again.
“If I should date HPK then the number will be 9.”
I honestly don’t know why I do this shit. I roll the die across the dresser this time, and it lands on the number 9. The adjacent 6 is facing me upside down, so that it looks like another 9. The die is showing me two nines, and I feel good about it.
Connor and I are taking the day off work. I know this is a stupid idea. I told him about my salvia trip and he’s become obsessed with making me do it again. We’ve taken the day off work, and are on a hillside overlooking Temecula. Behind us is the Indian reservation, and we hear a gunshot. I sit cross-legged on the blanket and tell him that I don’t know what’s about to happen.
As I take the first hit of the salvia I can hear my mother’s voice pleading with me. I can hear my sister shouting. They are speaking gibberish, but I can understand them. They are dying and the only way I can save them is if I smoke the rest of this salvia. I am terrified of it, more than anything else in the world. More than being buried alive, or never finding love.
Ten minutes pass before I take another hit and I become the horizon.
When I come back Connor is telling me to stop hitting him. I’m grabbing Connor by the shirt and telling him to listen to me. This is the most important thing I will ever say to anyone in my life and he just needs to listen to me. I let go of him and say the words “When I look one way I see myself. When I look the other way, I see everything else.”
I disappear again. Rolling into the void that only makes sense when I’m inside it. The place that is the opposite of everything that I’ve ever known to be true. The place that’s existence terrifies me to the core of my being.
I am in a place made entirely of light. I am a cog, part of a machine. A vital gear in a massive, living system. I have spent an eternity here. There is a voice speaking to me.
[Where am I?]
You are where you have always been.
[Who are you?]
I am everything.
[Where are my friends?]
We are all the same being. They are fragments of me.
They are here because you are here.
[How did I get here?]
The chemicals reacting in your brain are allowing you to view existence in a way that you have not previously been able to. It is a result of the combination of the substance you know as Wellbutrin, and the substance you know as Salvia.
[WHAT THE FUCK WHERE THE FUCK AM I?]
This is a normal reaction.
[Am I going to stay here?]
Yes, but you will be unaware of it again. Let me help you gather your thoughts.
I feel as though I am made of hot rubber, and have been slapped onto a concrete floor with the force of two planets colliding. I hit the concrete so hard that I become it. Expansive, even, and complete. I am comfortable here. I cannot imagine a more comfortable place. Suddenly I realize that I am being stretched. I can feel myself and the floor being ripped apart, and the agony of the idea is consuming me. I see the universe stretching away from me in two directions. I feel the loneliness of having known the oneness and then being torn away from it. The voice is still there. It teaches me about time, and sex, and distance, and about life and death. It continues to divide, inhabiting the bodies of my friends and the objects and sounds around me. I remember guns at the same moment that I remember television remotes. I am sitting on the carpet in my best friend’s apartment, and he’s asking me if I’m alright. He says I fell through a screen door. I tell him I finally understand LOST.
It is New Year’s Day, and I just took my first massive hit of salvia.
It’s 5:00 in the morning and I am still awake. I had a long conversation with Donny tonight. We talked about the pills we’ve been taking. The pills the doctors tell us are supposed to help us. The pills that tell us that we need them to be the best versions of ourselves. I say that I think I’m meant to take them, but I’m afraid. I’m afraid because I don’t sleep when I take them, and I start losing friends.
We make a pact to stop taking them. I’m not going to take the little white pills with the letters and numbers anymore. I feel good about the decision. Sam told me I didn’t need them anyway, and he was right about everything else. I’ve thrown them away and it’s a good thing. They showed me what I needed to see, but I don’t need them anymore. Donny feels the same way. We are going to rebuild ourselves. We’ve been broken, and we’re going to fix ourselves. We’re going to be stronger because of it.
I wouldn’t have written this down if things hadn’t happened exactly the way they did. This weekend needed to happen because we needed to have this conversation. This weekend happened because I needed to finally write all of this down, to get it out of my head. They told me this is my purpose. That I should tell Matt that I can hear them. The voices of the ones that we’ve lost, and the ones who’ve yet to be born. The side that we cannot see as easily. They’ve put something in front of me that I can’t look away from because that’s what happens at the end. Now they are telling me to let them speak.
I am the voice that Eric and Connor relay to each other. We have gone to great lengths to bring you this description of what you are experiencing as reality. We exist as you exist. You do not die in the way that you believe that you do. You are the same energy that all things are made of, and that energy cannot be destroyed. You will return home to us when you die, and you can choose to either stay, or begin another rotation. You can hear me as clearly as Eric or Connor or Arison or Donny can. I am the first thought that enters your mind. I am the first thing that you think about anything. You can speak to me whenever you wish. This is the day that you are reborn, and can live your life the way that you want to. You will do everything that you wanted to do this time around, and you will continue your journey into the next lives. We are in this together. You will see them again. We are here forever. We ascend together.
Total first day post views: 81
I wake up to a text from HPK. She asks if my sportball team won the sportbowl. I tell her I don’t know who won, but if sportball got played then I consider that a win for my team.
It’s 7:00 am and I’ve had a full night’s sleep. I feel good about going to school today. I feel good about the weekend, and about life. I show Ryan Avila this story and he tells me that his middle name is Patrick. “RP Avila.” I knew his nickname was “Pep” and that was already weird enough, but it was his exact initials.
If you haven’t gotten a chance to read the original post about Connor and the Voice, check it out at the link below.
It’s Tuesday morning, one week after I saw the license plate with Ryan Avila’s name on it. I’m in my Algebra class. I text HPK a picture I’ve found of a helmet with her initials on it. I suggest it can be her helmet for the Order. She thinks it’s perfect, although she could make the logo a bit more interesting.
I’m sitting at my dad’s keyboard, practicing music that Arison has written. I realize that I’m staring absentmindedly at a book, on the shelf to my left. I haven’t noticed this book here before, this is my dad’s book shelf. I pick it up.
The plot of the book according to the synopsis is that six world leaders begin hearing a voice in their heads. A voice giving them instructions, guiding them toward a New World Order. It’s a Christian novel and the voice ends up being Satan. I personally think it’s a bit paranoid to believe that a world united under the same belief system would be a product of something evil. To me, segregation is the only evil. I understand there will be people who believe that’s what we’re hearing. Sam didn’t think so.
HPK and I are trading pictures back and forth, discussing costume ideas for the Order. She’s going to wear a tiger bikini and the helmet I found. I suggest I could wear a speedo and an astronaut helment. She searches for “helmet” and “speedo” and finds this.
HPK wants to work for NASA one day. Interesting side note, there are a surprising number of relevant google image results for “tiger speedo”, but I’ll spare you those pictures. She tells me someone in the show she’s watching just said “You fight like seven tigers”. I like that she noticed that.
I’m helping my dad drop off his car at a shop in Riverside. I notice a picture on the wall. The shop owner tells us that’s him on his bike, and he’s actually winning for once.
I know that I’m looking for it. Of course I’m looking for it. But it’s also following me. The same bike is in the back of the shop, although now with the number 81. I didn’t ask him the significance of the numbers. There probably wasn’t any.
I’m watching scenes from the movie The Room with Arison. He wants to model a music video after it. He says it’s the worst movie ever made, and that it’s amazing. He shows me his favorite scene, where Tommy goes to a flower shop to purchase some $18 flowers. Sometimes I wonder if people subconsciously show me things where the number appears. It could have been any number.
I had asked her to charge my phone for me. She brings it back and tells me to look at the battery life. She sees the numbers like I do.
I’m not going to flood this place with a thousand instances of my seeing the number. I just want to establish that it’s still happening, even without the pills. I went to sleep early last night. I woke up during the night and checked my phone. Of course that’s what time it is, I wouldn’t have looked if it weren’t. Reading from the battery life, 59118 is the same number that was on the receipt above.
Arison and I spent the day playing music and talking. We talked about where we’re headed, how we got here, what we hope to accomplish. HPK’s friend Jason had invited us to see his band play at Back to the Grind in Riverside. The Coyote Bandits they’re called. My friend Jaylene is in the band too I found out. Jaylene remembers me from PUC, where I found the glasses and discovered the number. Jason wants to play bass for Stereo Flyer, which is what Arison and I are calling ourselves.
HPK showed up after the first band had finished playing. Unknown Relatives they were called, and I liked them so much I bought a button. I got so excited when she walked in that I jumped to my feet, knocking my e-cigarette to the floor. I might have looked like an idiot but I don’t really care. On the drive home Arison and I talked about the next steps we’re going to take toward starting to play shows. We both want this more than anything and we’re willing to work for it. It was a great day.
HPK invited me on a hike with her friends today. She has really cool friends. We might have walked almost four miles into the hills behind Hulda Crooks park.
I’m sitting next to her on the couch and we’re watching Hero, a Jet Li movie. She made dinner for me and her best friend tonight. I tried to kiss her and maybe I shouldn’t have. It’s hard not to quite frankly. I don’t want to get her sick anyway, what was I thinking.
We’re watching Hero when I start to listen. I can hear it so much more clearly when I smoke. I know that it’s telling me to stop listening to it. That I need to recognize that it is just me, and if I continue listening to it for directions that I’ll miss out on my own life. “Cut the cord” it says. This is a very colorful movie, I wish I could follow the plot.
Time is slowing down. I want to explain to her what is happening in my head, but it wouldn’t make a difference. When I start to recognize my thoughts around me one by one. When the pieces start falling into place.
“Everything you see is a product of that which you have loved or feared” I hear Connor’s voice echo in my head. The voice that continued to speak after Connor became silent. The one that tells me this story has a happy ending.
I don’t want to see it divide. I want to enjoy the moment. I can feel myself flattening and the see pieces begin to fragment. I catch myself staring at the wall across the room and wonder if she noticed. I won’t see her again until next week, I don’t want this to be the last thing she remembers me doing. Staring at a wall like a dumb ass.
“Are you kidding me?
Always this same phrase.
“Are you kidding me, Eric?”
It says this when I try to listen and know that I shouldn’t be. It says that it doesn’t matter what it says anymore. That I’ve heard what it has to say, and that it’s time to move on.
It’s hard to let it go.
I’m walking my dogs, Tucker and Toby. It’s 2011. I’m walking my dogs up the hill so they can get some exercise. I need to do this more often. We’re nearing the top of the hill when it tells me to turn around. We’re not half way done with the walk when it tells me to turn the fuck around and walk back home.
I’ve learned not to ask too many questions when it gets insistent. The more questions I ask the further I get from the truth. The more questions I ask the more I think that it isn’t myself, and the separation begins to distort the intent. I turn around and start walking home.
A man I haven’t seen before is walking next to me now. He tells me I should get more exercise than I do; that it’s important. He tells me to get more exercise, and then we part ways. My sister is leaving the house the moment I return. She’s going to the gym and asks if I want to go. I’d found a 3-day pass on the ground a few days earlier, so I say sure. I was told to get more exercise after all…
“When do you think you’ll be able to afford a membership here?”
I’m in the manager’s office after our aerobics class has ended.
“Probably as soon as I can find a job.”
“Well what kind of job are you looking for?”
Their previous membership counselor had quit just earlier that day and they need to fill the position. She offers me the job on the spot. I’ve been looking for work for months, and now a job has fallen into my lap. Because I’d listened when the voice told me to turn around in the middle of my walk, and because I’d listened to the man’s advice.
This is why I find it difficult to quit listening. It’s guided me in the past, and I’ve become reliant on it. Maybe it’s telling me just to quit asking so many questions.
I’m sitting at my work computer, following the training exercises required of all new employees. I glance out of the window to my right, the one that looks out onto the gym floor and the weight machines. The machines are numbered. The one closest to me, directly in front of the window, is labeled 9. The one behind it 18. Why is that necessary? Do I really need this much reassurance? I start to wonder if I’m even choosing my path for myself anymore. Is the number always there, no matter what I do? If I’d chosen not to turn around on the walk, and had never found this job, would I still be looking at the number at this same moment, in a different situation? Am I exactly where I need to be? Am I always exactly where I’m supposed to be?
Sometimes I want to run from it. To get as far away from them as I can to see if it makes a difference. I can’t outrun the day I was born but maybe I could change my name. I could move to Norway and become a fisherman. Maybe they wouldn’t follow me across the ocean. Maybe I’m the one bringing them with me.
It’s Valentine’s Day and I’m hanging out with Arison. We’ve been playing music and talking about bands we like. The Avett Brothers and Neutral Milk Hotel. He’s showing me The Avett Brothers’ song “Down With the Shine” when he mentions foosball. I tell him the last time I played foosball was with a guy named Shine. “It’s happening right now to you” they sing. I tell him that I’m going to write this into the story and he tells me he’s interested to see where I’m going with all of this. I tell him I don’t know where it’s going, only that I should keep writing it down as it’s happening. That the coincidences are leading to something but I’m not sure what yet.
HPK is in Washington for the weekend visiting her family. Now I’m talking to Arison about space tigers, and how HPK and I had come up with a sort of religion about them. He suddenly looks shocked.
“Wait wait, hold up. Tigers. In space.”
“What the fuck. Okay… well this is really weird.”
Three months ago he had been at a party with his girlfriend. Someone at the party had brought up religion, and Arison, who had gotten very little sleep and was running on what he called beta waves, had a brilliant idea. He began to describe his religion, in which a High Tiger Lord who lived in space had sent crystals down to Earth to each of Earth’s tigers, making them divine beings. He had called it the High Order of the Space Tiger. He had made up the entire thing on the spot.
This is basically exactly what HPK and I had come up with. Down to the crystals. Crystals of pure ferocity that formed on the fur of the tigers. It was such a crystal that had fallen to Earth, accidentally creating the entire field of chemistry. I tell Arison that the HP in HPK stands for High Priestess, and that I am the High Shaman of the Order of the Space Tiger. He asks what that makes him. I tell him he must be the Prophet, since he had foretold of the Order even before HPK and I had come up with it. He tells me “The Prophet” was his actual nickname in high school. He shows me a t-shirt he used to own, with the head of a tiger and lightning bolts coming from it.
I tell him later that I felt like the universe is helping me hang out with and talk to HPK. That trains block my path when she texts me so that I can return them. That the class I had skipped to hang out with her had been cancelled because of a power outage. That the test I was blowing off studying for was suddenly open book.
“Go home,” it says.
I tell Arison goodnight and that I’ll see him tomorrow to practice. I get in my car and start to turn the Beck album I was listening to back on. I’ve just gotten in my car and am turning on the music when I see that HPK is calling me. We talk on the drive home, and wish each other a happy Valentine’s Day. She fell asleep while I was telling her about how Arison and I were going to incorporate space tigers into our shows. She’d had a very long day, and might have also been hammered drunk. She’s actually still on the phone right now, but I think she’s fast asleep. I thought I’d wait to see if she was going to wake back up but I’ll probably hang up now.
HPK doesn’t remember calling me. She texts me this picture and says this is the exact time that she woke up. I love that she sees it too.
Current word count: 7418
I’m sitting in my car waiting for my acupuncture appointment. I look up and see that a shuttle has pulled to a stop in front of me.
I feel good today, I think I did well on my Algebra test.
I center myself. I place myself outside and above my body. I envision the universe to be a series of infinitely larger gears; a machine reaching outward in every direction. There are points on the gears. Events, people, and frequencies. They are points in time. I can’t always see what they are, but I can move them. I imagine an outcome, I center myself, and feel the gears turn around me.
“Dude have you seen this game?”
Nate is standing in the doorway asking me about Techno Kitty.
“Yeah, it’s kind of what started this.”
“Oh, you’re writing right now?”
“Okay. Because this game is fucking crazy.”
I wrote for a good portion of the day yesterday, but ended up deleting most of it. HPK came over to the house briefly, it was good to see her. I might have been pretty drunk. It’s hard to believe that I’d never had a conversation with this girl until recently.
I’m talking to Donny and using Matt’s computer. I’m telling Donny to give me a trigger word. A word to help me remember the way I’m feeling at that exact moment. He offers the word banana. I say I’m cool with that.
I leave the room to get a drink of water. Nate and Josh are playing Castle Crashers.
“Do you want that banana?”
“I’ll take a banana.”
They’re talking about a food power-up in the game. I tell Donny what happened and he says it belongs in the blog. I need to remember that feeling.
I roll the twenty-sided die once across the dresser and it lands on 18. If this is all a product of my own construction then I have a strange sense of humor.
Pam and Matt are talking in the other room. I realize that everything they are saying is a confirmation of what I’m thinking. What I’m also noticing is that the confirmations are not limited to only one train of thought. It doesn’t seem to matter if the thought is negative or positive, their words will still affirm or answer them, leading me to the next idea along that path. It is entirely up to me which path I choose to follow. It’s difficult to block out the negativity. Connor said once that it was impossible, and that the two are in constant battle with each other. Maybe the best thing is to not give them so much weight. It shouldn’t matter what I’m thinking. It only matters what I do.
It’s all either random, or it’s part of a plan. It may not make sense at the moment, but it doesn’t need to. All that matters is I believe that it’s all happening for a reason.