The stranger in reality

For a moment, reality had seemed divested of itself. Everything appeared strange, like strays that belong to no proper place. I couldn’t even recognize myself when I looked into the mirror. My voice too sounded faraway, as if it were not really I who was speaking but a puppeteer of the tongue, hidden in some unseen dimension. Downstairs, I heard my parents talking about a friend of theirs, to whose house they had been the previous night, and of the puzzling scarcity in furniture. I am aware of the identity of this person, and know him by the name of Winston, but at that moment, he had seemed a stranger, a fictional work of the mind. And my parents’ words – did they not sound hollow, devoid of genuineness and scripted like the superficial lines of actors? Everything seemed to be a play. My world was really just set on a grand, immense stage, and Winston was that new actor whom I knew from the outside but whom, on the stage, became a stranger to me.

When I went downstairs, I saw the maid cooking outside; I saw her through a glass partition. Consciously, I knew the pan she held was hot and would scald any skin that dared challenged it. But so strangely did the entire image of her cooking seem an act. Her motions were as unerring as those of a practiced actor, and the pan which I had believed all the while to be searingly hot is but a cold, convincing prop. And I thought that were I to burst out spontaneously and place my palm on the pan, I would realize that all is but a lie, and so quickly would the set-piece crumble; and everyone who stood behind the curtains of the non-reality would have to reveal themselves.

It is almost terrifying, though at the same time quite mesmerizing, to be subtracted from the equation that is reality. It is as if your being remains but your consciousness drifts, and you are not yourself but a separate entity controlling yourself. You glissade from one end of the stage to the another, performing as you are impelled by a mysterious force. You soon begin to wonder from where comes this force, and in your wonderment, you try to oppose it; but it is futile, for you cannot see the strings that are bound to you any more than you can the hands at where they end. It is all very terrifying because you realize that reality is as much a stranger to you as it is someone familiar.

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