The Connections Beyond

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Darkness above, below, and all around. The absence of sound, light, and sensation. Nothing. Nothing at all. Time doesn’t seem to exist here. I just am and am not. Pure consciousness without the constraints of temporal or physical location. Bliss. I can’t remember before. Where I was, what I was, what had happened before doesn’t matter. I get the feeling it’s time to rest. Bliss. Pure Bliss.

A flash of blinding white light. I’m alone again floating in an ocean of whiteness. But wait, I’m not alone. I can feel something. I feel… connected. In unison a billion voices shout, “Welcome home, brother.” All around me their limpid forms scuttle about making room for me. There is nothing to be seen but they are there; each and every one of us is equally connected and distinct. I find my place in the midst of the locus. To my right an elderly creature whispers, “We’ve been waiting a long time for you. You were the last among us. Now our journey is complete.” To my left another creature whose aura feels much more tumescent shouts, “Thank goodness you’re here! Finally we can leave! It’s been ages. Stuck here with all of us and nowhere to go. What took you so long anyways! There’s only so much we can take you know!” I don’t like talking with him.

I say nothing. I have no clue where I am or what they are talking about. A billion emotions, ideas, and temperaments sift through my consciousness. A small voice from behind me speaks up, “Hope you’re ready brother. You’re in for one hell of a ride.” Darkness overcomes me again. There in the darkness a billion opaque spheres hang like stars in the night sky. They all light up at the same time and the ride begins.

In an instant the life stories of a billion me’s crash down upon me like a tsunami. Those who died before birth, those who lived in alternate worlds, alternate timelines, alternate temporal states and locations. They play out in unison as the reality of my connection to them dawns on me. I am them. They are me.

Finally after a billion lifetimes “my” sphere comes forward. My childhood plays out as I watch as an observer. The time chocolate milk came out of my nose at the lunch table in second grade makes me laugh. The death of my dog Spot brings me great sorrow. The trip with my family to Yellowstone casts the golden net of nostalgia over me. My first kiss brings a wave of embarrassment and awkwardness. The fires of my first love rage once again and are put out as we say good bye. A few too many nights of strong whiskey, cheap beer, heavenly reefer, and wild concupiscent women bring forth the highs and lows of young adulthood. The death of my father while I lived abroad conjures isolation and the following year of depression, cigarettes, and heavy drinking. An angel enters my life and saves me from myself. Life changes its momentum again and it’s good for a while.

In front of me is my beautiful wife on the day of our wedding, now the diagnosis of cancer, now the years of treatments, the hope and despair, the love and the fear, finally the empty space she used to fill on the bed. The sphere stops. Allowing me time to try to contemplate and understand the significance of this sequence. All I feel is the loneliness I lived the rest of my life with. The isolation. The pain. The nothingness.

From the darkness beyond the sphere she steps forward wearing her bijou wedding gown. Smiling she reaches out her hand and says, “We never left each other. Never. Always we’ve been connected. Before either of us could understand life in human form, we were connected and brought together. I’m waiting for you again. Again we will meet though the circumstances will be much different. Don’t forget me my love. We have always been connected. Don’t forget…” My consciousness leaps forward hoping to embrace her once more. She fades back into the darkness. The sphere lights up once again.

The years of grey monotonous work play out on the screen before me. One year after another a simple schedule, a simple life, is lived out. The sphere slows its pace and zooms in on me walking across the road. A semi truck’s lights can be seen approaching in the distance. A young trucker looking down toward his phone appears above the headlights. Quickly the sphere zooms in on him and his point of view. On his phone is the face of his bald headed young girl standing next to an IV smiling holding a cake with 6 tiny candles. Tears well up in the young truck driver’s eyes obscuring his view of the road ahead. My head is lowered as I stagger home weary from the endless series of meaningless days. The semi-truck hits me dead on and keeps going as if nothing had happened. “God damn rabbits…” the trucker curses and drives on into the night. There I lay in the darkness dying. I take my last breath and my soul departs from the 3rd dimension. I feel the extent of the connectivity of the world as I exit it. The little girl on the phone’s life flashes before me. My death saves her. She saves millions through her life and research. Life had a purpose after all… the rest was just a bonus.

I return to the whiteness and my unambiguous brethren. The voice behind me speaks up once more, “Well, are you ready to start the next round?”

About the Author: 
Josh Nieubuurt is an English instructor in Japan by day and a coffee-fueled mediocre writer by night. His travels and work have taken him across Asia and the border of single life and marriage. He is currently exhausted as he writes this after finishing a long day in the salt-mines.