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Earthbound Aug 7 '10 4:38pm

Outlying Worlds
 


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Prologue


The closest person to you, to your left, to your right, physically or emotionally, is a simile. They lead a life, evading problems, surmounting hurdles, relinquishing responsibility, endorsing responsibility. The person closest to them, in turn, does much of the same. What exactly separates us and makes us unique is something of a mystery to me. In the unending pattern of our world, one's individuality isn't as predetermined as many would have you believe. Much of it is made.
Imagine, for one instant, that you were born with this knowledge. From the very first second of your life, you are consciously aware of your existence. You are able to formulate the articulate thoughts necessary to come to this conclusion. 'I think, therefore I am' isn't something you learned at school, it is something that simply is part of your memory, right at the start. Imagine again, knowing this, that nothing in the world you were born in seems to be able to notice you. Your individuality makes you a living being, though the lack of a group or the lack of their acknowledgment does beg the question: Why?

*

"Why was I born?" Is the first question I ask myself. But the sheer rush of emotion that floods through me stops me in my tracks. As a newborn, hardly a worry ripples my mind. I happen to be, and for now, that will do. I bask in the comfort of existence and turn to the closest person next to me. A newborn, too. A twin in appearance, I scowl as he starts screaming, air entering his lungs as the doctor hands him over to our mother. I watch, by the bed, as she holds him, crying from the pain and the emotion that courses up and down within. He quietens down a bit as she gives him his name: David. I assume that is also mine, we look so alike.
I remember little of the rest of the day, perhaps because I am happy to let it go and follow them around without a care. They leave the hospital, they climb up a car and drive off. They forget me, but that's okay, I manage catching up to them. I see our house and I breathe easy. This is home, our home. Our mom goes to rest, our father puts David in our colorful bedroom. I smile, sit next to him and as I watch him sleep, I grow peaceful. My eyes stray on the walls, the fresh paint, the carpet is still rolled up. It seems we were a little early. Eventually, my gaze turns to a mirror in the room and I see myself. I really do look like him.
I look a little less insecure, though. My hand touches my brother's hair and I sigh. Downstairs, the lights come on, the door of the room is ajar. I slowly make my way across the rough flooring and I come to the stairs. It's high, though, I am a bit scared. I am nowhere as tall as dad. This doesn't really prevent me from going, it simply teases me. I want to go downstairs even more, to see what's happening, the pale halo of yellow light shining against the white paint of the wall intrigues me, calling out to me, luring me. I resist, forcing myself back to the bedroom. I spend the night watching David sleep.

*

Mom isn't making me breakfast. I am growing as much as David and she doesn't give me anything. She only prepares enough for one person. On the other hand, Dad doesn't treat me any worse as my brother though. Neither of us manage to get him to take us on his shoulders. I feel like they're trying hard to ignore me. Why they have to pretend is beyond me. I feel sad in a lot of ways. Something inside me beats very hard everytime I call out, evertime I scream. I never get any attention, my brother hogs it all to himself. I don't want to be in the same room anymore, yet I can't stop myself watching him every night when he goes to bed. The heavy door is still ajar, enough to let me through and the glow is still there every night, drops of light reflecting off the walls and creating a little triangle of luminosity on the room's carpet.
I lie down, but I can't sleep, I don't know why. Blinking several times, I straighten up and sigh. I walk outside of the room. The stairs are still there, menacing, but this time I'm a little taller. I manage taking one step down, but I freeze as fright suddenly paralyses me. I can not go any further, so I stay on the top step of the stairs and wait for morning to come. As much as I don't like my brother, I secretly hope he wakes up and helps me back up. This is not my idea of fun. Perhaps our parents will finally give me the attention I need so badly. I am not done with these stairs, however. Next time I will take a hop. And after that? Maybe a leap.


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