“Can you see more clearly now, how easily our existence could have been the labor of another’s imaginings?” My companion asks, after an endless stretch of silent introspection.
We had left my personal Siberia long ago; the canvas soaking up my memories with every step just like before. It was too absorbent to keep them from slipping away and leaving the stark emptiness behind.
“It wasn’t labor,” I counter. “It was madness.”
“It’s still in you,” He reveals, startling me enough to pause. “Past, present and future. There is a part of you that still hasn’t created it. A part of you that has yet to put the words to paper, the brush to canvas and that part still has the essence, the paint, the ink living inside of her. That is why you feel it so strongly.”
“Then why nothing else?” I ask, feeling an uncertainty I hadn’t arrived with. “As we walk, all of these things appear, but they’re faint. Distant and weak.”
“Created with purpose,” He repeats, perhaps. The doubt encircles.
“If your theory stands true, we are nothing more than the result of imaginings so terrifying, to exist this strongly for this long, it had to have killed whoever created us,” I declare, red faced with the agony of it.
“Love is far more powerful than fear,” My companion calmly dissents. “Surely you cannot deny that you loved that creation. Perhaps, even more so than others, because it was so terrifying, dark and real. Do parents not still love their wrongful children? Do they not ache for them, worry for them and carry the initial joy of them around inside of their hearts for all time? It is a labor. Can you say it’s not like giving birth?”
“No,” I whisper, swallowing hard.
The negative connotations I’d applied to my own reasoning began to wash away. I Understood then, that the misery had been initiated by my own interpretations, and not anything my companion had implied. This release of sorts, this mending occurs like a soothing salve covering the wounds in my soul, the anguish and fear slowly ebbing with the silent tears that flow down my face. Here in this place In Between, there is no blockage inside of me that tries to fight these random displays of emotion, the way it had in life. It’s a matter without thought or embarrassment. Without shame or disdain.
“You’re absolutely right. It is precisely like giving birth,” I exhale.
“You no longer misunderstand,” He nods. “Whether designed by a god, or some other omnipotent presence, our spirits are subject to the same cycle as all natural things. Think of it as a giant reservoir. We all flow from a main source, and come back, and so on and so forth. There is always the same amount of energy, the same cycles. For every one of us who returns, new ones flow out. Do you see?”
I look over at him, seeing on his partial profile, the bottom portion of his jaw. The rest is blurred, giving only an impression of features. I find that I can’t look any more than that. I have yet to be able to bring myself to look upon him fully all this while.
“Are you… something divine?” I ask hesitantly.
“You mean like an angel?” He laughs.
“Never mind,” I flush, looking straight ahead.
A long silence seems to stretch between us, and I can feel something sorrowful attempting to seep in.
“You create your own limitations here,” He says quietly. “As always, only you can make them go away.”