Stands in Darkness
The old man did not know where he was.
The old man stood in the darkness and tried to remember where he was. He tried to remember which time around it was. The man could not remember every time around, but sometimes he remembered enough times around to be confused as to which time around he was currently on.
The old man wondered if his meaning blossom had become stuck. Perhaps it had crossed over itself and created a short. Perhaps he remembered too much at once and thus could not remember anything at all.
The old man stood in the darkness and did not know where he was and could not remember anything at all.
Perhaps he was just sick. But the old man did not feel sick. He tried to feel anything, anything at all, but he could not. The old man did not feel sick, and he did not feel anything at all. The old man felt nothing and remembered nothing as he stood in the darkness.
The old man tried to remember his name. He remembered his name. But when he tried to speak his name, it didn’t sound right. The old man spoke what he thought was his name. He repeated his name. He repeated his name again and again. But his name still did not sound right. The man decided it was not his name after all, and he stopped saying the name that he decided was not his name.
The nameless old man stood in the darkness and did not know where he was and could not remember anything.
The old man tried to remember the first time around. The old man tried to remember the woman and the woman’s brother. He tried to remember the old man and the beautiful woman and the girl. He tried to remember all he could remember of the first time around, but he could remember nothing. Not even the other woman or the other beautiful woman who had become his wife. He remembered nothing. Nothing of the first time around. He did not remember if the first time around had even been the first time around. He remembered nothing of the first time around and nothing of any times around. Not the second, not the second branch off the second time around, and not the third time or fourth or any time around. He could not even remember the interludes that seemed to exist independently from the shape of the meaning blossom.
The old man stood in the darkness. The old man stood alone in the darkness. The old man remembered what it was like to be alone. He had been alone during much of his life. During much of his life and every time around. The old man remembered being alone. But he could not remember not being alone. Then he thought perhaps he could remember being alone because he was presently alone. Perhaps he could not remember being alone at all during his life but was instead casting his present condition back on the empty memories he had of his past. His present condition of being alone. Of standing alone in the darkness.
Then the old man began to doubt himself. He did not even know for sure that he was alone in the darkness. And he was not even sure he was in the darkness. He began to doubt even the few things he thought he understood about the darkness.
The old man tried to imagine others surrounding him. Other things, other people, other old men from the other times around. But the old man could not imagine such things in his present condition. He could not imagine himself surrounded by other things and other people and other old men from other times around because he could remember nothing. He could not remember anything to add to the darkness he stood in, and as he could not remember anything, he could not imagine anything either.
The old man became afraid. He became afraid, but he did not know why he was afraid. The old man could remember nothing he had ever been afraid of. But he was afraid of having lost his imagination. He did not know it, he did not remember it, and he could not imagine it. And that compounded his fear.
The old man stood afraid in the darkness, and then he was no longer afraid. He had forgotten to be afraid. He could not know or remember or imagine what he was afraid of, so he forgot to be afraid. And he could no longer remember that he had been afraid. Afraid as he stood in the darkness. No longer afraid as he stood in the darkness.
The old man felt his heart. He could feel his heart beating. He was not dead. He did not think he was dead. He tried to think how he could know if he was dead or not, but he had never been dead before, as far as he could remember, so he did not know how to tell if he was dead or not dead.
The old man tried to move. The old man tried to move in the darkness, but he could not. He could not walk or run. He could not squat. He could not stand on his toes. He could not turn his head. He could not lift his arms or wiggle his fingers. The old man could not move. He could not move in the darkness, and so he stood in the darkness.
The old man stood in the darkness, and he waited. The old man had waited very much during his life and on every time around. He had learned to wait patiently. He had waited patiently like a fool many times in his life, but he could not remember any of those times. He could not remember, but he could wait patiently. He could wait patiently in the darkness. And he did. He stood in the darkness and waited patiently. He patiently waited to see, hear, touch, taste, or smell something. He even waited patiently to know, remember, or imagine something. The old man had much experience at waiting patiently, and he needed all his experience of waiting patiently to stand in the darkness and remember nothing.
The old man laughed. The old man did not know why he laughed, but he laughed. And he laughed again. He laughed hard, and he laughed soft. He chuckled, and then he laughed from his belly. He could almost feel himself laughing from his belly, but he could not feel it. Only almost.
Then all was silent. The darkness was silent, and the old man could not remember laughing. He could not remember laughing in the darkness, and he could not remember laughing during his life, not on any of the times around.
The old man stood in the darkness not laughing and not remembering he had laughed and chuckled and laughed from his belly.
The old man waited patiently without fear and without laughing. He waited patiently without remembering. Without knowing and without imagining.
The old man thought perhaps the meaning blossom had collapsed. Not crossed itself but rather collapsed. Collapsed to a point of singularity. Perhaps the old man experienced the whole of his life of every time around at that one moment and at each successive moments. Perhaps he did remember everything at once after all and remembered so much that he could not remember one thing as distinct from any other. The old man pondered what the difference was between remembering everything and remembering nothing. The old man tried to think how he could recover from a collapse of his meaning blossom to a point of singularity. The old man asked himself if such a point could move into a line. It was a point, but a point without dimension. Without dimension but containing everything. Every moment of his life existed at that point of singularity, and as a point of singularity, every moment of his life existed at the same time.
The old man stopped pondering the nature of the meaning blossom as a point of singularity. He stopped his speculation because he knew it was mere speculation. Idle speculation. The old man had never liked idle speculation and he still did not like idle speculation. He knew he did not like to speculate idly, and he remembered that he did not like to speculate idly, but he could not imagine that he did not like to speculate idly. He could not imagine it because he could no longer remember it. He could no longer remember it or know it. He could not know or remember or imagine anything.
And the old man stood alone in the darkness.
To read more stories in the series, see the Becomes One Hundred Stories page.