I stand alone in the middle of a dark room

A reaction to modern depression

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(Flickr Creative Commons: glasseyes view…up&away)

By Ben Connolly, Collegian Correspondent

I stand alone in the middle of a dark room. Surrounded by silence. An abyss filled only by me.

Time passes such that the concept is lost in the void. My father condensates in front of me, followed by an aura of disappointment and lack of trust. A wave of rage fills my formless body and crashes into the illusion. Breathing heavily over the wake, I see him reappear, auras proven. It transforms into its own red wave, but 10 times stronger than mine, knocks me down to the floor.

I attempt to hold the floor. It is a place I cannot fall from. The familiar comfort of laziness is broken by a sudden heat. A fire has formed in front of me. Its flickering chaos instills a primal urge to get up.

My feet land in the water of an old river. Events lie linearly on its banks. Moments held static in time, yet still radiating influence now. My house, my school, my society, all predestined twist in the river. Their auras shaping the flow of water and, in turn, my destination. I can’t help but wonder, if this river turned, could I travel the other way? Am I limited to the river or could I climb the river’s banks even if they are mountains? And if I leave, can I step back into the same river twice?

Suddenly, the current slams me into a wall. I attempt to grasp it, for it is certain and behind me. Just a two-dimensional object of support and cold. Its chill is ruptured by the fire returning, causing me to face the purge again.

A forest and a machete. No markers, no landmarks, a cage of untamed jungle. I begin to clear, but I am still surrounded by the same lack of view. In fury, I start to hack in all manner of directions and techniques, but still no trace of my efforts is to be found. What is the point? Why lift my hand to cut a branch if its falling makes no sound? What magical slice will be permanent, visible and objective? What if there isn’t one?

I jump to hit the ceiling. It is a certain limit. One with tangible effect and value. Yet fire still appears to guide me back.

A man appears. I don’t know him, yet he seems vaguely familiar. He is wearing a rooster animal mask and holding a scythe. Maybe he enjoys farming. My humor is quickly banished by a cloud of fear that has me running to the light switch. Anything to reveal a reality. Any reality but this one. He states in deep monotone, “But that won’t change what lies in here.” My form is one of pure terror, I sprint to the door. I can’t be in here anymore. This place is insane. What a mistake to come inside. I should have stayed in the light and tile of the fluorescent hallways. The dogma of capitalism. The unquestionable virtues of religion. I should have never questioned them. I grab the door handle and hear once more, “But that won’t change what lies in here.” Fire spontaneously engulfs the handle, leeching on to me and I burn to ash. My vision now turns to a Manichaean cave scene. One side is light with moving shadows of people. This light is projected by a fire resting alone in darkness on the other side. I go to the hearth and reach outward, ash palms facing up, and I’m aflame. However, this time I’m not burning. I have become an element of fire. Accepting its primal chaos as synonymous with me.

I slam the door shut and I turn to confront the man, only to see a mirror.

Ben Connolly can be reached at [email protected]