Short Story: Foreplay ~ Approaching the Edges of Reality

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by LJ Frank

It felt like any other morning. It wasn’t. I was headed north again. Ann Arbor to be exact. Things were quieting down. Some purposefully so. Symptomatic of withdrawal or the insight of profound change looming on the horizon.  When you approach an ending the reflection in the mirror somehow looks different. The scenery changes around you with each gaze or glance. The people you knew or even met decades, years, months or even yesterday, whether in person, or electronically connected with, take on a different aura. The surface feeling is like listening to and watching a person walk into a fitting room in a clothing store and emerge in a new suit or dress, even their voice has a different pitch. And a simple flower petal becomes a meditation.

Time, whether a minute or an hour or day creates more distance for me than kilometers or miles. Yet time folds over like a warm, soft tortilla as if waiting to be stuffed with food. Does time itself need to be filled with nutritious meaning to be of any significance to a human mind?  

That morning I traveled more with thoughts as my companion than places that could have been. Places mostly in my mind as the wallet once filled with money is slimmer just like my waistline. Money is necessary to survive and live life to its fullest though it didn’t bring the consumer joy as advertised. The joy had to begin within the heart so the mind could see regardless of the optical illusion.

I turned off the radio and took a deep breath. I experiment. I always have. I test ideas, emotions, and the limits of imagination. I test my boundaries. I test my limits and try to know them without being sucked into someone else’s game. And people love games even when they don’t know they are playing them.

The night before the meeting I slept in a local hotel dining on a small piece of wild salmon, raw spinach, and a glass of wine. I wondered if people knew the last day of their life, how they would live out those final hours? What would be their last meal? I hadn’t taken a survey.

What occurs…I asked myself as I fell asleep – a higher consciousness or eternal oblivion? Resurrection, or reincarnation? Man invents beliefs that we expand upon over the generations and eons. Repetition in its varied formats is one of the ritualized foundational blocks of belief, but, repetition does not make something a fact. 

The doctor knew I was open to experimentation.  He told me over the telephone if I wished I could with his help attempt to transcend death and be reborn again so to speak, and asked me again, would I be open to a mind experiment. And would I sign an agreement to proceed? As I said, he knew me. Of course, why not.

While sitting in the sleek, post-modern waiting area I perused the literature in the medical databases. The summary of the experiment read like something from a science fiction novel. I would be administered a special concoction of psychedelic like drugs from syrupy fluids found in a flowery plant growing alongside ancient trees located in the Daintree Rainforest, In Queensland, Australia. Remarkable I thought.

The result of the process was that I would return to my original state of being, that is, my body would become a time machine and I would return to the womb but with the knowledge of my previous life. Because of my relatively vast knowledge and experience carried over from the previous life I could take tests and skip Kindergarten through twelfth grade. In fact, as a child, I would have the equivalency of the college degrees I earned in the previous life. And what I knew at an old age I could now apply to my youth. I became stimulated by the thought of it. A true physical rebirth. A chance to get it right.

The scientist who discovered the process suggested heaven was merely a spiritual orgasmic like consciousness.  Whereas his process allowed for the physical and intellectual foreplay of existence preceding the spiritual orgasmic consciousness. With the experience of the suffering from the previous life I could avoid whatever possible, and get straight to the pleasures of living, and knowledge would truly mean power.

I proceeded with the life changing process. In what seemed like the blink of an eye, I was reborn and being cradled in my mother’s arms. Except she wasn’t my mother. What happened I wondered. I kept staring at her. Something was amiss. There was a misunderstanding on my part I surmised. A month later she picked me up naked facing a mirror. I saw my reflection. I looked twice examining my body head to foot and in-between. What happened? The baby wasn’t me as I recalled my former babyhood pictures. What did I expect? I then remembered the quote at the bottom of the agreement I signed: “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins…” Mark 2:22  

I woke up in a sweat. The transcending experiment was a dream. I took a hot shower, checked out of the hotel and headed to a popular coffeeshop near the campus. Once there I met with the doctor, a professor of Metaphysics, for a cup of coffee to discuss approaches to the edges of reality.