I was about to leave the house and looked in the mirror to adjust my blue jacket and shirt. I noticed that my reflection was wearing a red shirt. I looked at her carefully to understand if there was any particular reflection or play of light; however, from any angle I tried to look at it, the shirt in the mirror shirt was always red.
I looked down at my chest; my shirt was blue. I looked up at the mirror; the reflected shirt was red. I looked down: blue. I looked up: red.
I paused to reflect on the situation and imagined that perhaps the mirror could be faulty. However, this was the first time such a thing had happened to me, and besides, that was the only colour of all those reflections that didn’t match the rest of the reflection.
I inched closer to the mirror, I backed off, I moved left and right, but the shirt in the reflection was always red.
I turned away from the mirror and took a few steps in the opposite direction of the mirror and suddenly I whirled around: red shirt.
I took off my jacket, then my shirt, and put it back on; it was blue in my hands, but it was red both inside and out in the reflection. I put on the shirt again. I leaned close to the mirror, almost touching it. I was so close that, looking down, I could see both the blue shirt I was wearing and the red one in the reflection simultaneously.
Instinctively I raised my hand to touch the reflected image, but I noticed that my hand did not stop in contact with the mirror’s surface and instead entered it. The image remained perfectly mirrored; I no longer saw my hand and part of my forearm as in the mirror.
My arm and its reflection appeared to merge into a single piece. I pushed my arm even further, deep into the mirror, forward, then the shoulder; I also put a foot, the leg, and the rest of the body. I was inside the mirror.
Then, I turned around, and I saw my reflection. I was wearing a blue shirt. I looked down at my chest; I was wearing a red shirt, finally. I took the keys, went out the door and went into the city.
I woke up or thought I was waking up from a deep sleep. Even now, I’m not too sure which one it was. I lay in bed for a few minutes staring at the ceiling while listening to my breath. I thought I was awake because usually, in dreams, you can’t hear your breath, can you?
I listened more carefully, and in the silence of the morning, I thought I heard a distant noise. I held my breath for a brief moment to understand what it was and where that sound was coming from.
It sounded familiar to me, and I recognised the sound of falling rain. I thought that another gloomy day was waiting for me.
I got up and opened the curtains to look out the window; the sun was already shining high in the sky, and there was no trace of clouds. Blue skies.
I continued to hear the sound of the rain, rhythmic and constant.
I thought maybe there might be a leak in the pipes. I looked around to see if I could identify the direction from which that noise was coming, but I couldn’t.
I tried to change rooms and the noise was always the same. I locked myself in the bathroom, the noise was the same there too. I tried to put my head in the kitchen pantry and the noise was always the same.
Now I was certain; it was raining inside my head.
It was a regular day like any other when suddenly an unknown object fell from the sky. It fell during the day in a semi-deserted square in the heart of the town.
It fell without making any noise and stood where it had landed as if attached to a magnet. I approached cautiously, thinking it might be a still-glowing meteorite.
Strangely, on impact with the ground, it hadn’t done any damage. It hadn’t even broken into pieces; it was still whole.
As I moved closer to that object that had mysteriously fallen from the sky, I noticed its unusual combination features. It was small, thick, wide, narrow, deep, flat, square, round. It was hot and cold. It appeared to be wet and dry. It was coloured and colourless. It smelled good and stank. It was opaque but shone brightly.
I was now close enough for the object to be within reach. I slowly moved one hand closer as if to touch it. I stood still for a moment, trying to figure out if that object could somehow react to me attempting an approach. It did not do react, so I decided to move the other hand closer too. Then I suddenly grabbed it and tried to lift it; as I suspected, it was heavy and light.
I went to the library to look for a book. I wasn’t looking for any book in particular, but one that explained how to do something that I wanted to do.
I entered the library’s main hall, and I headed to the shelf that stored books on the subject relating to my purposes. I found a first book whose title seemed to suit me. I took it, leafed through it and put it back; it wasn’t the book I was looking for.
I took a second one but put that back too, as it didn’t contain anything useful.
I took a third, tried to open it and … I couldn’t. I flipped it a few times in my hands to look for a seal or a hook that kept it closed and allowed me to open it; I found none.
I looked at it; in all respects, it looked like an ordinary book with a hardcover and paper pages. The only difference from other regular books was that this one apparently could not be opened.
I tried with two hands, pulling one side on one side and the other on the other to force it open, but it didn’t give in the slightest. I tried to put it on the ground and, while holding it firmly with my feet, I tried to force it from the other side with both hands; nothing, it didn’t open.
I tried it out with the tip of the keys, trying to slip them between the pages; still nothing.
Then, I gathered all my strength and threw it violently into the middle of the lane I was in; a great flight, a great thud, but the book was closed.
I went to retrieve it at the end of the aisle, picked it up, and, just to reassure myself, I looked first at the back and then at the front. Now I was sure; this was the book I was looking for!
I was walking minding my own business when I came to a crossroads, and the road forked specularly. Each side was precisely the mirror image of the other, and I could not see any difference. I had never seen such a perfect, specular match in reality, and it looked a bit eerie.
Everything seemed to double on each side down to the smallest detail. The gravel on the road, the puddles and trees in the background and on the sides of each road.
Both seemed to continue towards infinity. Despite this, I had the feeling that each road led to different places. I stood still for a long time, looking now on one side and now on the other, deciding which one I should take. I should not have encountered any crossroads according to the indications in my possession.
I began to ponder how I should act and imagine all the possible scenarios and what could have happened if I had taken one road rather than the other. I felt the decision on which route to take was somewhat crucial, but I could not tell why I had this feeling.
Fantasising, I imagined that if I had taken the one on the left, I would have arrived in a hidden and secret village no one knew about. People lived a relaxed and carefree life, where everyone knew each other and lived in harmony. The sun shone even when it rained, and the wheat grew even when there was snow.
The road on the right, on the other hand, could have led to a completely different place, or perhaps the same road further ahead would have turned out to be tortuous and inaccessible, or so bumpy as to be impracticable, and I would be forced to go back to the crossroads to take the other.
Or maybe the one on the left would have turned out to be a wrong road, while the one on the right would have led to the carefree village.
Or maybe neither would turn out good nor perhaps they both were. Perhaps neither of them would lead anywhere, or maybe they would rejoin later so that regardless of the route I chose, I would always return to the starting point. It is also possible that both roads continued towards infinity without arriving anywhere.
There was no way to say it now to make a reasoned choice. I briefly considered what to do and slowly took the first step, almost unconsciously. Then another, and still another, ahead, I advanced more and more decisively and confidently, and when I reached the fork in the road, I took both roads simultaneously without looking back.
This morning, I found myself immersed in a thick fog when I left the house. I looked around and could barely make out the familiar silhouettes of the surrounding buildings.
I set off, and as I walked, I looked with fascination at those less and less definite silhouettes of the buildings in my neighbourhood as the fog became denser and denser.
As I walked, I realised that even those shapes that I could still barely distinguish were beginning to fade behind the veil of that fog that now seemed impenetrable to sight. Only the vague outlines of a few buildings and trees remained, barely visible here and there. I wasn’t entirely sure of those either and couldn’t figure out if I saw those lines or imagined them.
I stopped in my track and, looking around, I realised that it was as if the fog had hidden the whole world like it had never existed or it had all been just an illusion. No one, in my opinion, could have claimed that the world was still in its place amid that fog.
Or perhaps the fog had transposed me to another dimension, and those few lines that I still thought I could see could have been alien constructions from another world or palaces of future or ancient civilisations.
Those places so familiar before the rising of the fog seemed to have transformed into something unknown and, at the same time, into new places I could explore. Nothing seemed to be left of everything I knew.
I wondered if I would still find everything in its place once the fog cleared. Not only the houses and buildings but also my friends, my family, all the places I frequented. And again the whole city and all the countries of the world with their populations.
Did the sun still exist? I couldn’t see it. And the universe with its stars and galaxies? Were the whole world and all of life an imperceptible illusion like those lines that I can hardly still distinguish? Is the rising of the fog enough to wipe out the whole world and its knowledge from human perception?
Immersed in these thoughts, I resumed walking, in any direction or perhaps none; there was no way to tell in that increasingly thick fog.
I woke up, and like every morning, I took a shower, ate breakfast and got dressed to get out and go to work. I put on my coat, opened the door and locked it behind me. I walked down the stairs, and once I got to the third floor, there was the second floor in its place. I then decided to go back to the fifth floor, where my apartment was, and try again. I thought I may have lost the third floor along the way.
Once I got back to the fifth floor, I found the sixth floor. I then went down the stairs back to the second floor to see if the third floor was perhaps back, but there were no traces of the third floor. I continued from the second floor to the first and then to the ground floor, where there was the exit.
I opened the exit door to get out because, maybe, the third floor had gone out too without anyone noticing it. However, I found myself back into my apartment as if I had just come back through the balcony door.
I closed the balcony door behind me and walked towards the entrance door. I turned the handle, but it was locked because I had locked it a few moments earlier the first time I got out. I unlocked it, went out for the second time from my fifth-floor apartment, and locked the door behind me again. It was then that I realised I was on the third floor. At last, I did find it!
I enter the room, sit at my desk and start thinking. Then I realise that I have nothing to think about and don’t even remember why I entered the room, which perhaps isn’t even mine.
I look around as if I’m searching for something, and I don’t even see the desk anymore; there are only the walls, the ceiling and the floor. No doors or windows. Come to think of it, I don’t even remember where I was before I entered this room or how I got into it. Or maybe I imagined I entered it while I was already here?
I think for a moment, but I have nothing to think about. I observe the wall in front of me, and after a few moments, I notice a slight pulsation. I approach to check better, and I see that the wall is pulsing very slowly. The motion is rhythmic and regular. I try to touch it, and it feels solid to the touch. Nonetheless, the wall continues to move rhythmically, with a kind of a beat.
I observe this strange phenomenon fascinated for a few minutes when I realise that the wall is also approaching in addition to pulsing. Indeed, the wall seems much closer to me, who remained motionless in my place, than when I noticed those strange pulsations for the first time. I step back slightly to get away and look around; the whole room seems to have shrunk. I check the other walls one by one and notice that all four are pulsing slightly as they move towards the centre of the room.
All four sides of the room are slowly closing around me, and the space in which I can move is getting smaller and smaller. I turn around on myself as if to look for an unlikely way out, but there is no more room to move around.
I feel all sides of the room surround me, from head to toe. I feel no pressure or pain as I feel my body merge with the room’s walls. Shortly after, there is no room or walls, no pulsation or heartbeat. I slowly abandon myself to a calm warmth of which I cannot identify the origin, and suddenly I remember why I had entered the room.
It was early in the morning, just before sunrise. I was sitting on a bench in a suburban city park. I loved getting up late at night and being outdoors early in the morning. Maybe iI was attracted by the rising sunlight that slowly and obliquely warmed the cold night air or by the silence attenuated only by the chirping of the early morning birds. Perhaps it was the feeling of being in the sleepy state of a day that is coming out of its night when everything still seems quiet, just a few moments before it disappears in the frenzy of the daily duties that put our soul to sleep.
Those few moments between the twilight of dawn and the first rays of the sun seem eternal. And yet, when the sun rises in the sky to shine on our lives, those moments seem to have never existed, like those dreams that vanish upon waking, leaving us with the vague impression of having forgotten something. And for some people, these moments have never existed or will never exist. For others, it may be just memories or wishes. For others, however, dawn could be the darkest time of the night.
Absorbed in these thoughts, I realised that I could no longer see the landscape before me, but I could perceive it instead, down to the single blade of grass. I then took my instant camera out of my pocket and took a photo of the park just as the first rays of sun began to pierce through the trees on the horizon. The sky was still tinged with pastel shades, while the green of the trees and lawns came out of the grey and grew brighter and brighter.
I waited for the instant photo to develop and placed it on the bench where I was sitting. I stood up first with one leg, then with the other, I entered the photograph and slowly immersed my whole body in it. I was now in that eternal and infinite moment, forever on one side and never on the other.
I took a pen to write some notes in a notebook when suddenly the pen started writing by itself. Not precisely by “itself” as if alone; instead, as I held it in my hand, it started pouring out words and phrases which did not come from me.
Even though I was holding the pen in my hand and, physically, I was the one writing, what ended up on the paper was in no way the result of my labour. All the words and phrases came out of the pen itself as if it had a mind of its own and had an unexpected urgency to express itself.
I was having a hard time keeping up with its pace. It looked as if the pen had many things to tell and wanted to tell them quickly. It continued to write at a frenetic pace for a while, and I could not even grasp the meaning of any of its sentences.
After several pages, the pen suddenly stopped, and I let myself go, exhausted, laying against the chair. In front of me, there were now written pages of content I knew nothing about.
I took the notebook in my hand and slowly leafed through it, glancing at the written pages. I then got up from my desk while still holding the notebook. I then tripped over the legs of the chair and, in an attempt to maintain my balance, I accidentally let the notebook fall to the floor.
As soon as it hit the ground, all the words written inside it broke off the pages and randomly scattered on the floor. Some of the words even broke into multiple syllables or letters. I collected them meticulously, and little by little, I tried to rearrange the once-again-blank pages to the best of my ability.
Having only superficially leafed through the written pages, I didn’t know what was going where or how. It took me several hours to put all that material back together somehow, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to find out if I put it back together the same way the pen had conceived it.
What that pen wrote is what you are reading now.