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29th December
posted by amber

Black Spaces

There are black spaces between reality, like the vast darkness between the stars. And I can see those black spaces.

I had a grade eight teacher who told us about the spaces, showing us a model of the solar system and commenting that the atoms of our basic make-up were as widely separated. But I didn’t think much about it. Reality was very real to me then.

Later, it became thinner. People seemed fake, life seemed to be a veneer over meaninglessness. I had my first breakdown.

Medication imposed a calmness upon me. Life had no more meaning than before, but that didn’t disturb me as much as it had. I could live by rote, doing what I imagined others expected me to do.

But the medication affected my vision. I tried to complain to my doctor about it, but he couldn’t understand what I meant about the blackness between things. He said the medication’s side effects didn’t include visual distortions. He thought my depression was returning, so he increased the dosage.

I got away from him and from my family; I stopped taking the pills. But it didn’t help. I wasn’t able to stop seeing the world as it is.

Now, I get by if I can keep my eyes closed as much as possible. With my eyes shut, I see more brightness than I do when they are open. I see the sun’s diffuse light through my eyelids, I see the rivers of my own blood. Of course, I know I’m 99% darkness too, but when I touch myself, I feel solid and it reassures me. I wish I could touch more other people, to know they aren’t as they appear to me – a few scintillating dots above a black abyss.

Well, I know why they don’t want me to touch them. I don’t look in mirrors any longer, but I am aware of how rough I look, and I can smell myself. I can hear what they say as I stumble down the street with my eyes shut, peeking out once in a while to keep myself from walking into the street.

They say, “Here comes the man who doesn’t want to see.”

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story for every day of the year and posted on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line or topic suggestions in the Comment section of any story. If you’d like me to use your name in a story, I’d be happy to do that.

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