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OUT IN THE SHADOWS

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Out in The Shadows By Mauro C. Souza
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Mauro C. Souza is the author of the short-story collection "Lonely Chairs,"  and the novel "Son Of Man."

I woke up that morning with morbid laziness, curiously, pleasant, feeling the pleasure of being alone. It was the first night I did sleep indeed, and awakened without worrying who I was. I stretched and lounged in the twisted cool sheets and yet feeling depressed.  I started to reflect on life and what to do with it. I finally crawled out of bed, glanced out the window, went downstairs for a cup of coffee, and prepared myself for a pleasant journey to my past. 

 

The road went in long monotonous curves and gently sloping hills through the white picket fences and infinity green valleys, so breathtaking that they certainly would lead me to my past —  a past full of secrets. As a child, I imagined this road could take me anywhere I dreamed. I only had to move onward and travel over the tortuous paths. The end of that road would be a magic place. 

 

I covered the miles that separated me from the past, dominated by a thousand thoughts. I felt stiffness in my body and despair in my soul. I knew these streets very well, and nothing was strange to me. I went down the lane with a fast heartbeat. I confess that I felt an atmosphere of strangeness where I should feel at home. It felt like my heart wanted to jump out of my chest. It desired to break free from prison. It wanted everything and nothing. It was fatiguing to control my breathing.

 

I tried to hold myself together, but... when I found myself on the outskirts of São Paulo, back to the old streets, my nerves were on edge. I stood for a moment, looking at the old mansion — my home. A kind of house one could hardly find nowadays, for it belongs to a gone-by-time — a time now entirely passed away.

 

Every color was brighter, every noise louder. I had avoided looking in the eyes of those who passed by me. They ignored me and walked briskly on. Was it shame? Or fear? These things caused me to make my heart beat more fiercely still.

 

The house stood in a paved street, but yet it was not like a city house. Although the front opened right on the sidewalk, the back windows overlooked what was once my favorite place — the backyard, full of fruit trees that perfumed and beautified the garden. It was like living on the edge of the forest year-round. 

 

The rustic path, after each asymmetric stone, was full of weeds.  Without anybody to take care of it for a long time, the thin lawn was more moss than grass.  The weeping willow tree was flowing down onto the dank and squishy ground and overshadowed the left corner.

 

The guava tree was on the right side after the stone path. You could see clusters of daffodils that raised their golden heads in the shadows of the trees, and there were wildflowers everywhere. The webs of intertwined branches hid the full view to the back of the yard, although it was possible to see the eucalyptus scattered up the hill, beyond the banks of the clear stream.

 

The backyard was once cared for with much love, with roses on flower beds in the shape of circles. Now the weeds grew in between the honey color bricks, and the rose beds were overgrown jungles of thorns and vegetation. In the back was the avocado tree, which seemed not to care about the appearance around. The back gate was simple, made of rustic wood, with ivy plants cascading over the fence.

 

How could I ever wish for a more beautiful backyard when the wild garden brings a natural form that is more pleasing to the soul?

 

Time indeed seemed to stand still in, as if the time and I had got so old that we could not get any older, and we had outlived any possibility of change.

 

At last, late in the dusk of an ordinary day, there did come a change. It was undoubtedly a typical day, although the things that happened were very unusual. A dream, perhaps reality, or the perception of reality had become a reality.

 

That day, the migraine insisted on not leaving me alone for long. I still had the party I promised to go to when I said goodbye to my colleagues at work. The expectation was present here and there, perhaps more there than here. I would see the same people, hear the same conversations, and laugh a little at the same anecdotes. I would have two or three glasses of wine, listen to loud music, and see women in their exquisite and beautiful dresses.

 

After I unlocked the door, I stood on the doorstep for a few minutes, watching the hallway with a heavy breath. The room just pulsated with the eery glow. I discarded the shoulder bag in the hall, kicked the shoes in the corner, walked to the bedroom, and thought about throwing my body on the bed. It seemed like a reasonable plan, and for a second, I felt free of the party's seductive claws. If I just slept for a moment, a long moment, no one would notice my absence. I would be a person of no importance.

At first glance, it seemed to be a white light, but every second it floated through several colors and shadows. All at once, so subtle that I started wondering if I saw things. 

 

A musty smell enfolded me as if it came from a room that had not been opened for a long time, but I was too tired to investigate. My hand reached the wall for the light switch, and something furry touched me. I quickly removed my hand, and without getting the button, I walked in the opposite direction.

The whole room, and its appearance, brought me back to anxiety. The feeling of "deja vu" hit me with such intensity that made me stagger. If I closed my eyes, I could register voices around me.

 

The next thing I knew, I was lying on my back on the bed. I just kept staring at the walls and the ceiling, trying to ward off the sudden wave of nausea.

The bed was soft, and there was a thin, blue blanket over me. Looking up, I saw the light coming from the old curtain on the bedroom window. Out of fashion these days, this strange curtain was yellowish, with a twisted cord of golden threads hinged, with a disproportionate knot tied at the end. There was a familiar stain on the curtain, perhaps water, which looked more like a tiger's head coming out of a rose. I sat on the bed with an apathetic and satisfied sigh.

On the other side of the room, on the opposite wall, there were two pictures with maroon frames, which I sometimes looked at without realizing they were there. In one of them, the poster: "Tournee Du Chat Noir," by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. On the other, a cat on skis, wearing earplugs, blue, and sitting on a snowbank. As a child, I looked at these cats from my bed and imagined them as a significant part of my little universe. There were also other familiar objects, the small statue in enameled pottery, of "Our Lady Aparecida," which seemed sad to me with downcast eyes. Next to it was a small bookcase, mostly of children's content.

 

The shadow cast by the light coming from outside brought for a second the presence of my mother. Although she was no longer alive, this shadow brought me her memory. 

 

"Mother?"

It was my natural reaction. The shadow returned to be a shadow again in the dimly lit room.

 

I threw my exhausted body back on the bed and took a deep breath; my hands immediately reached my forehead in a desperate gesture of boredom, and I thought about getting rid of this nightmare and going to the party. Now, the ceiling images have turned into a wild animal that invaded my solitude without asking for permission. Was it this wild beast that touched my hand? If I opened the window, the creature could run away and leave me alone. The monster crossed the room, jumped out the window, and I was left with the cool breeze. Still thinking about that unexpected moment, I looked at the trees in the yard, the guava tree, the peach tree, and the opulent avocado tree. When I was a boy, the backyard was my haven. Sometimes I hid from my grandmother among the guava tree branches. In that backyard, I was invincible, and the avocado tree knew all my secrets.

 

"How did I get here?" I asked myself.

 

My voice was weak and nostalgic. At least the wild beast was gone. The sunset light came in through the side window, and with a start, I began looking around in the middle of cold silence. Some of my books were still on the shelves: Robson Crusoe, Ernest Hemingway, Clarice Lispector, Jorge Amado, Fernando Pessoa's poetry, Encyclopedia Britannica, Batman's magazines, Superman, and many others. 

 

I often thought of our old house, and I was sure I could undoubtedly remember everything correctly, but there were so many objects that I had forgotten, like the world map next to the door and the hall closet. The family photo album was in the closet. And just below, my mother's clothes, smelling like mothballs. The bathroom remained the same, with light blue tiles and beige tile floors. My father remodeled the bathroom countless times and finally gave it to the family in this way. I looked around the corner towards the room and wondered if my daydreams were complete. They were. The old brown sofa, my father's favorite armchair, the twenty-inch television, everything seemed in place. I sat for a moment in my father's chair and was at peace.

 

Then I crossed the braided rug towards my grandmother's room; the wild beast was there, lying on the bed, alone, like my grandmother on Sunday afternoons. I knew what to do, and I was not afraid.

 

I walked around the bed and sat down next to the creature. I stayed very close to its body. The restless beast looked into my eyes. It reached out and placed its big paw on my arm — just the way my grandmother used to do it. I lay down next to it, and the beast hugged me close to its chest. 

 

We stayed like that for a long time, in great contentment; when I woke up, the monster was gone. The cold night wind came from the window, causing the curtain to flutter lazily. I felt cold on my back. In the distance, one could hear the constant sound of the bustling city.

 

The wild beast was waiting at the table for potatoes being prepared. It was almost time for dinner to be served in the kitchen. It looked up and ignored my presence. One could hear voices coming from across the table, like the sound of a child playing or clipping images from magazines. A small wild beast did just that, with tiny red plastic scissors, cutting out animals' images from old magazines. The little thing arranged the cutouts on the table: a cow, a giraffe, two cats, and an elephant.

 

I sat down in my favorite chair. The little wild animal settled under the round table and kicked the pedestal, just as I used to do as a child. The kicks were annoying. I was unmoved. The little wild beast started kicking me; I received the assaults without complaining or retaliating. Instead, I took a magazine from the pile next to the kitchen cupboard and began to leaf through it. 

 

I picked the magazine "O Cruzeiro" from April 18, 1953. This magazine was known as the "paper television" in Brazil before I was born. It is strange to think that my parents were there that year. I leafed through the magazine that had the figure of a beautiful woman on the cover wearing a red dress. An article about the beating at Cathedral Square — "Communists, pickpockets, and vagrants agitate São Paulo." On the next page, there was advertising for toothpaste. There was a hard-hitting editorial about the Koreas' separation — "and the bloodshed ends" — I didn't know much about the war. Another article about a beauty contest: "The Beauty of Santa Maria" — a hospital held a beauty contest for the first time. I never thought of 1953; however, it was twelve months in those people's lives, a whole year of history, that, in a way, shaped the coming years. I didn't want the wild little monster to cut the figures from the magazine I was reading, so I hid it under the table, between my left thigh and the seat of the chair.

 

The cuckoo clock, on the wall of the parlor, stopped and was pointing to 3:15. Did it stop it in the afternoon? Or during the night? My father was responsible for making the cuckoo clock working precisely without running too fast or too slow, not even a second, like the Great Bell at Westminster Palace in London. Every day, when he came home after spending the day at the office, he would enter through the back door, rest his hat and umbrella on the hat rack. He would greet everyone and never look directly at us. He would walk towards the parlor and the cuckoo. My father would ensure that the hours were matched correctly to his wristwatch; he would pull strings until the weights reached the correct position. He would raise the pendulum to the right with a subtle movement and paid attention to the clock ticking. Then, he would sigh with satisfaction. He would walk a few more steps and reach his favorite glass, fill it with ice and gin, and just a pinch of vermouth. He would look next to it, take the roasted dried peanut pot out of the cupboard, put it in a shallow bowl, and shake it until all the grains were level. Then, he would sit in his armchair and patiently waited for the sound of the cuckoo.

 

Soon dinner would be served: potatoes, peas, small beef steaks covered with onions, and rice with beans. I slowly opened my eyes and was hungry.

 

I often wished to return to my childhood place. For years I dreamed and had nightmares about the house and every corner of it. The monsters of the past never left the house. They were part of the house. In my dreams, I was in that house. In my nightmares, the house was in me, and they were different. The house was in deep valleys in other dreams, and there were no neighbors, streets, or fences. Nothing was like the house where I spent my childhood. There, with my monsters, I was happy. The mansion and the neighborhood were not pretty. I was thrilled to look at the place where I grew up. I never understood why these memories haunt me.

 

I realized that there were fields, bushes, and grass that were replaced by modern houses and buildings in addition to the surrounding fence. The municipal administration plugged the well for precautionary reasons. Despite the lack of proper care, the backyard was clean, with no cans or trash. The walls were never graffiti, much to my surprise. It looks like everything was as before, its objects, and its monsters. I strolled side by side with the little wild animal. It seemed like we wanted to investigate something never revealed before. I sat on the old rustic wooden bench, which was my mother's favorite reading place. Perhaps this breeze that comes and goes could brighten my soul and would be enough for me.

Once, I found a silver necklace in the backyard. It was a small cord with a cameo and a carved pearl stone, filled with mud. My mother washed it in the laundry sink outside the house. I had never seen anything like it; it was the treasure I had found. I started digging holes in the yard, hoping to find more relics and antiques to please her. I knew that if I looked hard, I would find treasures. Children search and find treasures. Adults do not find their treasure because they do not seek them. 

 

I imagined that Roman soldiers passed by when they marched towards the battles. Perhaps, Hannibal and the elephants made their way to the Alps, or my backyard was an island where pirates buried the treasure I was looking for.

 

The terrain behind the house is challenging and difficult to dig. I kept digging. I always liked having a plan in progress. Every week was an extra hole, hoping to find something. Each person has a treasure that is waiting for them. This interlude, or whatever it was, continued. Some days passed, and I don't really remember when I ended my career as a treasure hunter. I can barely remember my recent life. 

 

Everything happened slowly — people came and went away in my life without warning. I stayed away from everything and everyone, and being there didn't make me happy or unhappy. My surroundings have become unimportant to me. Whenever I change jobs, I move to another apartment that is neither better nor worse than the previous one, and they have nothing in common with each other.

 

So there I was, walking the paths I walked in my childhood. I look at the houses of friends who have ceased to exist a long time ago. Their images faded like the morning mist. The trees looked bigger than before, and the houses were properly shaped and sized. I was savoring every iconic detail. Each encounter with the shadows, monsters, and objects had moved me in a way almost impossible to describe. Sometimes I found myself smiling so passionately that tears came to my eyes, pure nostalgia.

 

So, I went on, enjoying every moment, investigating all the old drawers and closets in my old house, examining the simple artifacts, those almost unimportant, welcoming every small or sizable monster I encountered on the way. The embraces of these crazy monsters were docile, soft, and warm. The little monsters played happily, without much complication. I didn't need to be someone else for them to understand me, nor did I spend any effort to express myself. I felt included and esteemed, and that was enough. I realized that the words had been my downfall, which, in trying to explain every action I had taken, caused a chasm between people and me. Perhaps the words are wrong, or there is something devilish about them.

 

After spending a long time removing books from the shelves, looking at the epigraphs, or, in fact, reading them in private to acquire a more excellent knowledge of life and its aspects, I found myself aimlessly, lost in an unknown place.  At this moment, the monsters, wild animals, and beasts came in a circle and gave me a long warm hug. There was enjoyment in their warm, soft bodies. They responded to my feelings without worrying about my words.

 

They fed me with old and new things, with memories, dreams, nightmares, and reality. The real became impossible, and the impossible became real. A woman with a soft voice visited me. She was a woman who looked about thirty-five. She had a gentle face and almond-shaped black eyes that gave her a beautiful exotic look. I thought I had seen her somewhere before that time, but I can't remember where. The similarity deeply disturbed me. She stroked my hair in a way that only mothers know how to do it. She prepared me baths with scented and warm water as if she were happy to be and take care of me. I didn't wear clothes. Although all clothes were always clean, ironed, and stacked in the wardrobe, nudity was acceptable. All things had collaborated with all the kindness that life has presented to me.

 

The monsters reminded me that there is no need to explain my choices, now or in the past. I don't need to justify anything meaningful to me or the approval for my decisions.

 

Being alone is a virtue. I am alone, but not lonely. My presence is pleasant to me. The words that cross my mind make sense, and there is no conflict if they don't. I am my essence.

 

One afternoon, I chose a book on the library shelf. This book caused me some problems. The book was "Nausea," a philosophical novel by the existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. 

 

Sartre said:

"My thought is me: that's why I can't stop. I exist because I think … and I can't stop myself from thinking. At this very moment—it's frightful—if I exist, it is because I am horrified at existing. I am the one who pulls myself from the nothingness to which I aspire: the hatred, the disgust of existing, there are as many ways to make myself exist, to thrust myself into existence. Thoughts are born at the back of me, like sudden giddiness, I feel them being born behind my head … if I yield, they're going to come round in front of me, between my eyes— and I always yield, the thought grows and grows. There it is, immense, filling me completely and renewing my existence."

 

Suddenly, happiness invades my frightening reality of life — my existence does not need to be explained. I just am what I am. The beasts have a lot to say about it.

As a child, we do not think about the meaning of life. We live in the moment. Inexplicable impulses lead us to discoveries and also put us in embarrassing and often dangerous situations. I remembered an incident that happened a long time ago.

 

My sixth-grade teacher was a tall woman with shapely legs, which was very visible in her miniskirts in the late 1960s. One day I tilted my head as far as I could to get a good view of her legs. She caught me in the act and took me to Dr. Ortiz, the school's principal. It was not the first time that I had acted like that, and the punishment, once again, did not seem fair. I was who I was, a boy discovering human sensuality. The reprimand caused me a lot of confusion and distortion of reality.

 

Why did she get so upset with my attitude?

 

Maybe she thought I was trying to interrupt her. I should not look at her legs so the class would proceed without disturbance.

 

That is precisely it. I must behave according to ethical and moral standards, so the world will not collapse.

 

I don't think my teacher hated me or the strange pleasure I had in provoking her. She was a docile and gentle woman who had attention-grabbing legs. Perhaps she has passed away, is buried and forgotten.

 

I went back to the parlor. I sat down again in the armchair, and I didn't know what to do. However, I noticed that my staying there, with my monsters, seemed too bizarre to go on any longer. I got up and left. The past is distant and present in my memory. Time is powerful, not only for keeping the past away from the present, it is for its ability to transform us into historians of our lives.

 

When my thoughts told me that I exist, I realized that I deserve that warmth and comfort. It was then that I noticed something that struck me at first sight: the beasts began to move with great agitation; it was clear that something had changed. There had to be an explanation for all this commotion.

 

I stopped questioning the nature of this reality, which caused much confusion in the order of things. I didn't know what the world was like beyond my reality — if it is as it always has been, or if my existence is just a universe within the real world. Should I stay, or should I leave this universe? Reality encompasses far more than we can perceive. The things we see, smell, hear, taste, and feel are the gates to the mind's reconstruction of reality. Reality and dreams are far more interesting than we can imagine. 

 

We left in a hurry, all at once. We ran away at night.

 

I ran like I never run before. We run so fast that everything started moving in slow motion. I needed to keep up with the strides of wild beasts around me, which seemed to protect me from something terrible that was about to happen. We ran down a long alley that would take us across to the city. Now, far from the past, surrounded by monsters that escorted me, I had to live in the present. We kept running and went down the slope as if something or somebody was chasing us, although there was no one behind us. I couldn't see or hear anything. When exhausted, I stopped to catch my breath; the animals formed a circle around me. In this unusual action, I felt protected. Then we proceed to the lower town. One of the monsters decided to lead the way under a sky of silver stars.

 

"Should I be careful? Am I in danger?" I thought. 

 

I trusted the monsters completely. They certainly knew me very well. They were always with me, although I was not always still with them.

 

We passed by cheap hotels and taverns, and now we started sauntering. Ahead, the light of a lamppost in the dark drew me closer. A strange shape appeared in the gloom. I left my companions and headed towards that exotic shape. All my monsters had turned against me. They grabbed me by the shoulders and did not let me go. I was suffocated and ashamed. They took me in another direction against my will. After a few minutes, I was able to breathe again and was released.

The wild beasts kept waving their arms randomly. I could understand that they were disappointed in me. They surrounded me again and looked at me with big, expressive, and golden eyes. These monsters are muscular animals with strong bones. Their heads are broad with tall ears. Their chests are large, and their legs are thick. They have thick and soft hair that looks like silk. When they want to, they can load a great weight of guilt on my shoulders. There was no need for an explanation. Once again, my impulse for new things caused confusion and distortion of reality.

 

It was not the first time that wild beasts were upset with me; whenever they reacted like this, I felt insecure, discouraged, and unprotected. I didn't choose these monsters; they chose me. They are only shadows of the reality yet to come — a fact unknown to me.

 

I don't have pragmatic language skills. My words have a malevolent tone, and at times they made the world around me revolt against me. That means even though I look smart, I don't know how to talk to people daily. Would that be true? Could it be that I don't know how to talk to people without my monsters' help? Perhaps, someone can speak the language that only these creatures understand — a strange language.

I always wanted to say something that would translate my thoughts and feelings for the sake of truth, but it is not still easy to find the words. Maybe I should hear more and speak less.

 

The beasts kept walking. It was late, and I had no idea what time it was. I felt helpless, and it would take an act of God to get me out of that place. I thought about the party. I kept my head high and decided to follow the shadows of the past.

We arrived at a high place, where we could see an overpass. There were several trucks parked in the darkness. Some of them had the cabin lights on. Suddenly the rear doors of the trucks opened, and other monsters appeared. There was a strong animal smell mixed with diesel. I panicked. In fear, I clung to one of the creatures. I didn't want to separate myself from them. Tired, I found a comfortable place to rest my head for a moment on the lap of a beast. I was relieved because I understood that I had been forgiven. I closed my eyes and slept.

 

When I woke up, I was in an obscure place — a deserted, dusty, and dry place. The air was cold, and the fine sand was blowing over us. A woman approached me. She waved at me with a beautiful smile. She did not mind that I was not one of the monsters.

 

She looked at least five or six years younger than me, with brown hair that fell in gentle waves over her shoulders. She wore a dark jacket over a white T-shirt with shorts. The eyes were black and vivid, and her gaze was sweet. She was wearing sandals attached to her toes. She was neither thin nor fat. When she moved, she brought with her a unique sensuality.

I was curious. After all, who is this woman? What is she doing here, in the universe of my ideas and daydreams? I followed her with my eyes to a bench where she sat and started looking at nothing. I waved at her.

 

Then, I approached and asked, "Can you understand me?"

"Sometimes," she said.

"Why are we here?" I asked.

 

She did not answer. There was no need to say anything. Her presence was more expressive than the words. She got up, went to one of the trucks. For a moment, I thought she was in my dreams. I couldn't tell if she was real or just the echo of a known woman. Her hair was open, dazzling along with the winds. The charisma and the peace that her presence reflected calmed me. I felt safe, something that could not happen without the presence of wild beasts. We did not have a shared past. She brought a bottle of wine and two glasses. 

 

I wanted to say something and asked, "What's your name?" 

 

Once again, I got no answer. 

 

We stayed in silence for a moment and drank the wine. I laid my head on her lap and closed my eyes.

 

I looked around, and the wild beasts were gone. In their places were women. There were no men among them. They walked calmly towards me, with gentle and delicate looks. When they approached, they smiled and disappeared, one by one. Where were they going? Are they dying? I started looking for them in the streets, on the corners, and behind the house. The shadows of the trees mingled with the figures of these women. Their apparition was no more than a distortion of the light, a human cut out of colors that weren't right. They were gone as quickly as they came; they left, without leaving so much as a foot impression, any trace.

 

I entered the mansion once again, and I came across another woman. She was young, beautiful, and small. She was lying on the couch and seemed to be having trouble breathing. I sat next to her. She began to disappear before my eyes as if she was in my dreams. I was alone again.

 

I shut my eyes with the horror of the hallucinations and, when I opened them again, I realized that the gust of wind hit the house. It hit the shutters hard and threw the thick bushes against the walls. The wind blew and brought with it the sound of female voices. They were screaming in agony and panic and wandered in the backyard and around. Then, everything became strange and very disturbing to me. It felt like my world was falling apart, and I just wanted to leave that place.

 

It was always the monsters. It was the little furry monster that started all this. It was a warning sign for what was to come or the cause. I must always be prepared for the next "thing" to come. If the hallucinations weren't scary, they would be funny and friendly. However, they were horrifying, like a nightmare that I couldn't stop. Perhaps, if it weren't for the monsters, my life would have been different.

The old mansion was nothing more than bricks, wood, and pipes. How long more the walls could stand the good and sad stories, the laughter and the wailers, the reality and the dreams of the past? This old house was my only hope of escaping from captivity before dawn. Years ago, I had wandered through these rooms. Now it was time to leave every inch of this house, my monsters, and my illusions.

 

I left the house and walked without direction. In the distance, I saw the one who offered me wine. I saw the woman standing there, looking at me, and I felt my energy in a way I had never experienced before. I contemplated her beauty and thought that I could change the present. I felt so strong that I could change the past and the future as well. 

 

As she came closer, I was able to get a better look at her. Around her neck was the magnificent diamond and sapphire necklace. 

 

I sat next to her in the middle of the night. The sky was very dark, and the stars were shining. Touching my right cheek with her left hand, she softly stroked it as she tried to speak to me. 

 

Her lips said: "Why to take refuge in the past when we can revel in the present?" 

 

I held her hand and embraced her tightly. I wasn't afraid, and she warmed me up. 

 

It was the wild nature that moved me, the primal desire, the absolute needs of two lonely people, in a strange place, quickly finding ways to satisfy each other's soul in animal passion. I have a past and a conscience.

 

We are two ghosts of the past.

 

I'll never know if it was just a capricious illusion on a cold night or if she was there.

The morning arrived in a haze of mist and gentle rain. There was no one beside me. My life had to go on, and I often revisited the past in my dreams, nightmares, and illusions. It is like I am watching someone else's life. My memory is like a high definition video — a popular movie in the 1960s and 1970s.

 

When I ask myself: "Am I the same person?" I often want the answer to be: "No." 

 

However, the past still lives in me, and I still feel guilt, shame, fear, and regrets. I'm glad I decided to revisit my past.

 

But now, what do I do? I have no idea. I don't know anyone who has had an experience like mine. How many people I know… only one.

 

If I were to reinvent my existence, I would have to base it on what I know, and the cycle would begin again.

 

If I don't want to become someone like my monsters, then where do I go? I know nothing but the places I have described, but for whom do I describe? However, if I shut up, I will cease to exist.

 

I find it impossible to say whether what I went through was good or bad. I can only continue to exist in a different way than I have been until today. Perhaps what I lack is a little poetry in my life.

 

Deep down, it doesn't matter if the voice that speaks to me comes from inside or outside, from monsters or my memories, whether I'm crazy or not. The fact is that this voice with whom I dialog daily is the voice that makes me think of the opposite I have always been.

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