I had often wondered what it really happens when we close our eyes at night. You close yourself from this world and open yourself to a new dimension in which the limits and boundaries of ego, society and ethics are much less defined. We let ourselves go and set free by the lack of wires, strings of collective consciousness in a sort of dream. Sleep is our narcotic and we manifest a clear addiction and submission to it.
All my life this state of mind has sedated the rest of my senses. I lived to experience the dreams and freedom that my mind experimented during my sleep. I have never really spent much time dwelling into what happens to people in the real world. To me, everything was a routine that left no impression in me: take care of your body, work, move around the city, and eventually get some company. Nothing that made my senses awake at that moment in the day.
I dreamt that I was someone very important in a distant land where the forests were purple and the people only wore green. All the women had light brown eyes, all of them had auburn hair, long and wavy. The wore nothing on their backs, and they were all barefoot. The men followed them to every corner of the cream like streets, filled with sunlight from every side. In that dream I spoke and people actually were very interested in what I said. Some of them looked brighter and happier when I said some words in particular. Some other undressed and caressed each other while I told them of some other worlds different to that one. In the end they bathed me and I smiled.
When I woke up I went directly to the window, as I systematically did every day. Just to check if I was awake or not. I would scan the building on the other side, proudly standing with their cracks on their square eyes, their curtains opening to a new day that would witness the same old events from the previous day. The streets down would be divided by the scratches of the cars on the asphalt that covered every single square of the city. The smoke from the cars would meet the smog in the sky and would fragment the future in the hands of someone´s fate.
But today there was something different. I could see that something was missing in me but I didn´t know what it was. There was a clear physical void, not a mental one as I usually had. I went into the bathroom and scanned the surface of my naked body. Everything seemed to be in its normal place. My arms were hanging one on the left side, the other on the right one. Two legs, yes. My genitals hadn´t been swallowed by the blankets, no. The image in the mirror showed a face that had two yes, nose, ears, mouth…everything was normal and yet, something was not right.
I thought there was something missing where I couldn´t see, deep within my body. I called the doctor and set up for a meeting in the afternoon.
– Reason of the appointment? Are you feeling unwell, Mr Nowak?
– A standard checkup, if possible Mr Kowalski. I hope you have some time to see me
I fully hoped the doctor would actually see something I couldn´t. I knew he would find out what was missing inside me. The doctor went into a more than standard checkup, both intrigued and shocked by my insistence that something was wrong when every clear symptom seemed to tell him everything was just fine. He ordered some tests, scans and other procedures just because I had been his patient for more than five years. He felt in debt somehow, even though the social security didn´t pay him close to what he should have got paid to see such a weirdo for all this time.
A week later, when the results came in, the doctor repeated the same tune he had sung to my ears the previous week:
– You seem perfectly healthy, Mr Nowak. All is good, organs are well placed, all in order. Do not fear any trouble.
Continue with your life
If only things had been in order I would have been able to again dedicate all my energy and excitement in the fulfilling actions of dreaming night after night, discovering new worlds beyond the realms of this futile reality. But it turned out something was changing inside me even though the doctors were telling me the opposite.
Morning after morning something else was missing. I didn´t know its name or its placement. I just knew a piece of me was gone. My weekly visit to the doctors resulted in exasperation from their side, until they finally recommended me to visit another kind of people who would treat something that would be happening in my brain. That I needed counselling, someone who would listen to me and guide me to the right path.
None of that gave the answers for the problems I was experiencing. For in fact it was all disturbing me greatly since I was leaving aside my desire to let myself go in my sleep. I was shifting my mind to what was missing in me. Everyday something different, a new void, a new hollow presence or a new full absence as you wish to name it.
My hours of sleep started decreasing in an alarming rate. I used to sleep a minimum of 9 hours at my best moments, 10 being the perfect amount of hours in order to locate and explore the different corners in my night journeys. In the last weeks, I would be happy to find 3 or 4 hours of sleep which made very unlikely to fully build a whole dream, let alone more than one.
Instead I was spending time reflecting about what I didn´t have, about that little something that wasn´t there any more with me. SInce I couldn´t locate it precisely I started to try to define it with better tools than simple words. I decided every hole, every dark spot in my puzzle would have its drawing. I never really had any talent to paint, but the feeling was too intense to resist: I studied some techniques and even had some teacher come to my house twice per week to teach me the best ways to portray what I wanted to express in a different way. Everyday I would get up, feel the part of me that had vanished and paint precisely what i felt on a canvas. Soon, the living room was completely covered in my drawings, walls and ceiling, clockwise placed.
One morning, while I painted my new reality on the white canvas I realised all the paintings have a common point. It seemed one would capture one element of the previous drawing and would take it into the formula of the next one. It all resulted as a whole as if the ink would trace its run into the surface of the paintings as a river of thoughts that had a continuity.
It was as if each void was connected in my drawings to the rest of the voids. A full line of emptiness that had found a way to be a whole void in its total.
When I realised that I made my doctor come to the flat to see it. I was so excited that day that I wasn´t able to sleep at all for the first time in my life. I wanted people to see that all those voids were unique, that they existed…or more precisely, that they had ceased to exist inside me and had left me to live in those amazing murals on the walls of my flat.
When the doctor came, he didn´t do it alone. He came with some other doctors, all with eyes too wide, every single one of them clad in white, their mouths covered by masks also white. They grabbed me and took me to another white place where they opened me once and again. They injected me with so much white liquid that I would swear my blood must have turned that color.
The diagnose was clear according to them: a had a very rare sickness that only affected one individual in a thousand million. The tissue that covered my organs was degrading and all the limits between them had been erased. By means of that virus that had entered my body – it is unclear when, how or even why – the organs had been able to somehow continue working normally even though they were touching each other, they suspended inside me and gave an impression of normality when in fact the normal case would have been the whole body being collapsed by the blood, the weight of the chaos crashing it all inside. Somehow, I has still alive.
What the doctors feared the most – and also their object of main study – was my brain and the way my neuronal activity was being developed. According to them, my words were senseless, but my drawing was something that no one had ever seen before. Experts came to study them and even the television made a prime time documentary about those mysterious signs on that wall.
Soon, the doctors started leaving this room, one by one. They left me here alone. They forgot I existed.
I also did.
Now I am also gone.
Gone with my voids. Fully empty.