How to Locate Your Equivalent in the Real World

I didn’t know what I was looking for, but a clever little wallaby like Jonathan ought to have been able to help.

I knew that I was dreaming. Jonathan told me so. The sun was coaxing my eyelids to dance uncontrollably.

When I went to shut the window, my father died. I should have let someone else discover the way we misinterpret our lives.

A couple of very tiny sheep were dancing on my stomach. One of them was eating a hole in my navel. He danced and he ate until the hole was big enough for the other sheep to fall into. By the time the wound had healed, I was no longer just a possibility.

By this time I knew that I wasn’t dreaming because Jonathan hadn’t said a word.  Jonathan was doing unexpected things to food and Jonathan was no longer uttering and Jonathan was no longer gardening. He was coaxing. Jonathan was partaking of restful silence.

When I pulled back the curtains, my father’s dead body was smaller and clenched tight like a malnourished beggar. Jonathan told me I could find help at the market.  Jonathan told me I could find consequences easily, but initiating occurrences would be more difficult.

You couldn’t see all the children because some of them had died. You could taste the missing pieces of information, but you couldn’t identify the flavors. They probably appeared new because the angel that lived there had stopped kicking pebbles into the weaklings’ faces.

Then came the distant voice of a thunderstorm and it made me aware of the sand I had been walking on, not noticing how it had been accepting my feet but urging me to pay attention.

I noticed that some of the dead children had gone away and the angel had gone away and my father had gone away.
Jonathan had not gone away.  I still didn’t know what I was looking for, but I had realized I didn’t need Jonathan to help me find it. I didn’t need Jonathan to interpret the rain that finally arrived and I didn’t need Jonathan to witness the return of my father.

The angel hadn’t grown entirely useless. But I couldn’t even conceive of the angel’s future anymore. And the dead children hadn’t just gone away. They had eliminated vast pockets of empty behavior.

Mine, for instance.

So I tried to wake up and my father was there. I don’t know if I woke or not, but the dead children were even further gone and there was nothing to remind me of who they had been. I couldn’t even remember what an angel was, maybe I had invented one, but I remembered Jonathan, and I remembered my name was his name. I talked to myself about Jonathan and Jonathan went inside, and I felt him take hold of me, and this time I knew I wasn’t dreaming. I told Jonathan to tell me I knew.

by Rich Ives

Return to Issue 36