NexusA Story by SirRJ
So last night I had a dream.
It began with me walking down a glowing white line in a place that was otherwise black. I could see the line ahead of me as it stretched away into the horizon, and if I looked back I could see it doing the same along the path I had already walked. It seemed as though the direction I was walking was merely an arbitrary "forward," but for some reason I was sure it was the direction I was supposed to be walking in. So I continued, with no real purpose or supposed destination in mind.
I pressed on like this for a time, when I suddenly noticed a change. Instead of one white line, the path diverged into several, probably six or seven routes at most. They pronged outwards from the white line, all at varying angles, none of them a perfectly straight, continuous line with the one I was walking on. Another difference struck me; with these lines, I could see their eventual end. Some were closer and more defined than others, some hazily struggled to distinguish themselves from the background. For you see, each line culminated in a white door frame.
As I stopped and took stock of the gateways, another change occurred. Within each door frame swam into sight an image of myself. I recognized myself as one does in dreams, even though none of the apparitions looked quite enough like my present self for me to assume these were merely mirrors. Each of the doppelgangers, for one, was older than I. Some by only a few years, some by decades. Age was not all that distinguished them, however. Each had several characteristics which made him an individual. One nearby was holding a briefcase, wearing a suit. Another, more distant image wore a lab coat and a stethoscope. Yet another stood wearing nothing distinguishing, but stood next to a woman with which he was clearly in love, with several small children scurrying in and out of frame.
I understood. These were my futures, the possibilities of my life from here on in. But I also had a problem. Some of the images seemed like they weren't necessarily exclusive to each other, such as with the careers and the family man. Why should I have to choose just one? So I questioned the darkness, without speaking, if several futures ought to be made to interact with each other, to create a whole life, not just represent facets. As if it had heard and understood, the darkness obliged. Several more lines appeared, though these were yellow, and didn't lead to a doorway. No, the yellow lines ran from door to door, in between the futures. They also differed in intensity; some were large and bright, others soft and indistinct. Again, I reached a state of comprehension; the yellow lines are how each future interacts with the others, and to what degree. For example, the briefcase and the family future had a relatively strong line between them, but less so from the doctor to the same family image. The briefcase and the lab coat had no line between them at all.
Again, I had a problem with my image in the darkness. These, I thought, are just images of a life in neutrality, they have no inherent moralism. Shouldn't my futures have a representation of what kind of person I decide to be? Again, the darkness reacted. Suddenly there were more white lines, hundreds of them, some leading up and some leading down, all leading outwards of the point at which I stood. As they appeared, the futures began to interact with each others, birthing new yellow lines and white lines between and across futures. The steeper up or down a line, the more difficult it was going to be to navigate it, showing me that the more drastically I tried to deviate from a present self the more difficult it was. The lines that jutted back at acute angles from my present position showed less of a departure from my present self; the larger the degree of angle from my position, the more change involved in achieving that future.
The essemplastic world around my grew and grew, eventuality blotting out all but the most stubborn patches of darkness. The sheer number of possibilities and interactions between futures was staggering and terrifying. Some of the doors showed a future I could never imagine in my wildest dreams, others, mostly down from my vantage, showed hideous nightmares of futures that no sane human would wish upon themselves. Some of the more gruesome apparitions were little more than rotting sacks of flesh and bone, staring with haunted eyes. The best of them were vibrant and strong, exuding confidence and honor with every passing moment.
As I looked around, I notice the line on which I had come to this point had changed. It was dimming, but never went to complete black. My past was fading, but in such a way that it would never really be gone.
So, I thought, here I am at the center of my future. It was humbling to see the vast number of futures available to me. And to think, everyone in existence has this many choices. I was at the nexus of the rest of my life, on the cusp of the most monumental decision of my entire life. Every step I took would generate a new nexus, new possibilities and challenges. Every instant scattered the future into billions of new possibilities, generating an infinite number of prospective outcomes to any given moment.
What could I do? I took a deep breath and moved towards the rest of my life.
© 2010 SirRJ
Tinely Park, IL