we're everyanything more than believe

The human mind has an infinite capacity for imagination and lies, but very little for truth or fact. Everything we see, do, hear, feel, say, believe in and remember is made up in our head most meticulously and systematically, using layers and layers of sensory perception through a process that is nearly impossible to map or replicate. All of it is assembled together neatly by our brain, dumbed down to the level we understand, and handed to us on a platter. Essentially, as a species, we are constantly lying to ourselves. 

For all of us, it happens by itself. It keeps going, constantly altering and readjusting the vastness of reality to suit our perception. To say that comprehension is an incomprehensible process is redundant. The smallest look at the history of either philosophy or science will tell you that the human mind has always asked questions of both comprehension and what is being comprehended. It is, nevertheless, a statement that sounds witty and impressive. It is, also, a lie. 

I fell in love with a man a while ago. He sits by me by a swimming pool by the sea while I write this. He has the most perfect feet. I could spend an eternity simply describing the shape of his perfect toes. They are bony and delicate, but not feminine in any way. His toenails are pristine, almost as if he gets a pedicure a day. When he isn’t paying attention to anything, his toes cross themselves: the big toe over the second toe, just like crossing fingers.  I could say that I fell in love with him just for his toes. That wouldn’t be too much of a lie. 

When I fell in love with him, I wasn’t aware of his condition. I suppose I fell in love with him regardless. There is not much about it that hinders his daily existence or, for that matter, our love life. It ought to bother me, repulse me in some way; make me question the very fabric of reality and so on, but it honestly doesn’t. At the very worst, it makes our sex fabulous.

I have come to understand his condition in this way: He constantly disintegrates and reintegrates himself with the world. For a few moments, days, weeks, year or so (it is difficult to time things that are out of sync, so to speak, with what we perceive as reality), he ceases to exist. 

It begins with moments of sheer panic. My stomach lurches, with a tiny little tug. I feel like everything has gone out of focus, like I am distracted for a second or so, like I have forgotten my keys inside the house before I locked it. The very next moment, the world readjusts itself and he is there again. Those are the only kinds of metaphors I could use for it. In the moments that he is gone, there is no him. There never was and there never could be. In these moments, I only know there is indeed something amiss, but what exactly is amiss, I have no way of knowing. 

It took me a long time to figure out what was happening. In the beginning, I didn’t even know what was gone. It was just a feeling of something missing, I guess. By the sixth or the seventh time, I learnt to recognize the signs. The anxiety. The paranoia. The insecurity. Constantly fiddling with my things. Crossing and uncrossing my toes, as if in anticipation. I learnt to diagnose what I was missing. I learnt to know who was missing. 

When I first told someone about this, her reaction was spontaneous. “You’re making him up!” she said, “He can’t be real!” 

I laughed along and questioned myself. Real people don’t stop being real, obviously. Real people don’t disintegrate into nothingness when you stop thinking about them. 

But then he would turn up. Him, with his perfect toes and his crooked teeth and his quirky accent and his terrible sense of humor. Even if I tried, I couldn’t make up the jokes he manages to come up with. He takes me away to these exciting and exotic places by the sea. He shares my breakfast and makes me coffee. He reads over my shoulder and turns the page before I finish reading. He has the most absurd opinions about politics. And then there is, I cannot emphasize this enough, our fabulous sex. 

So I started to look for other people with a similar condition. I turned to the most obvious resource: the internet. After two months of searching, I found one other man with a sister who had a similar problem. Later, a father with a teenaged son with the same condition. Over these past months, this little group grew. We talked to each other, trying to figure out how to deal with it. We found dozens of others who knew and loved people who were maladjusted to reality. We even found a kid who knew a maladjusted tiger. 

In most of our endeavors, we try to understand what it must be like to be someone whose entire self decides to unravel and disintegrate. Most of the human body is made of space, so the obvious assumption is that the physical body dissipates and comes together seamlessly enough. What interests us more is the suspension of the human mind. We assume that these people we love have minds that are much less capable of lying and imagination, hence unable to grasp reality and recreate it for themselves. 

We assume that truth, essentially, sets them free. 


title of the story from a poem by e.e. cummings:

we're everyanything more than believe 
(with a spin
alive we're alive)

we're wonderful one times one 


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