They tumbled. Great balls of fire slowly drifting, smoke trailing behind them, flames billowing at an angle. Orange deepening into black, hard to tell where flames ended and smoke began. Like big black balls of cotton that had been thrust into a stunning sunset to soak up the color and then placed in a leaning stack one upon the other. Watching them fall was cathartic. Relaxing. Other aircars managed the opposite, their thrusters an ice blue streak as they ascended. A ladder of divine ascent playing dramatically outside of the window. Most of them just floated along, neither falling nor rising. Passing each other in opposite directions. Would the ones going left eventually join those falling? Were the ones going right destined to rise?
I gazed out of the window through the city, through the world, watching. Contentedly thinking about what she’d said. She watched me consider her words. Her thumb gently stroked my forefinger, the rings covering her fingers reflecting light and clinking softly. Our food sat between us forgotten, unable to add anything meaningful to our satisfaction.
The city spread above and below us. I’d never yet seen the top. I hadn’t seen the surface in so long it might as well have been never. Neither were visible, just rows of buildings and windows stretching out of sight above and below us. The aircars drifting lazily between it all, like bumblebees, reflecting our peaceful mood.
Some part of my brain, buried deep, assured me that way down below, below the surface, were the deeps. Waiting hangrily in the darkness. I dismissed the thought as irrelevant to the wonderful night I was having. Or maybe it was morning? Noon? Irrelevant. The soft pink glow that pervaded everything never changed anyways, except to become lighter if higher you ascended.
“Quite the sight huh?” A voice invaded our contemplation.
The maiden frowned and looked towards our interrupter. He looked down his nose at the menu he held in front of him, and nodded lightly towards the view. He had a short cropped wide mo-hawk that blazed it’s way back his head. He pursed his lips and eyed my plate. “Steak huh? Didn’t even finish it though so it must not be great.”
I looked down at my food. A chunk of pink meat neglected, cold, and wilting on the plate in front of me. “No, it was fine. I mean, it was good. I just, lost interest.”
“What’you ‘spose they are?” He wondered aloud as he closed and set down his menu, folding one hand over the other and resting his chin on top as he turned his full attention toward the drama unfolding outside. We sat in silence watching, a falling car narrowing missing another as it tumbled by. “Think there’re people in ‘em?”
The maiden cocked her head to the side considering this. “I hope not. Or rather, I’d feel sorry for those falling if they are. But what a way to rise…”
We’d been climbing for so long. The early years full of excited racing through the tower. Delighted when an elevator would appear, or stairs, or an escalator, to take us higher. Now our journey mellowing as we began to appreciate moments like this, sedate, peaceful, a rest between the work of searching for means of ascent.
“I always wonder how they got out there” I mused, “Was there a door at the bottom? Some hanger on the surface? Can they see the top?”
“Can they see the source of light?” She said reverently, a gentle longing betrayed in her words.
“Well! You could always try and break the window!” Mo-hawk said chuckling, knowing we all had at one point attempted to do so. It was impossible, “In the meantime, how about an arm wrestle?”
“What?” I said in amused confusion, taken aback. The maiden frowned again, agitated. Mo-hawk’s laugh barked out in full at this, and he smoothly stood, swinging his chair around and shoving the back against the table before sitting down on it again the wrong way. He leaned forward on his elbow and held up his balled fist. A huge grin splayed on his face. His friend, who I’d not noticed before that moment, stood up and slinked over to stand next to the table between us.
“How about it? You win, I’m buying.”
“And if I lose?”
“You plan on losing? Tsk tsk, thought for sure you’d want to show the pretty lady how strong you were”
The maiden’s agitation turned to an outright glare. Mo-hawk’s companion looked on almost predatorily. Much too close for my liking. I noted a stark white pocket square peaking out of his charcoal suit’s breast pocket. I could almost smell the starch and fabric softener.
Mo-hawk laughed again suddenly, trying breaking the tension. “Oh come on! I’m just teasing. What are the rules? How’dya play?” He asked, relaxing a bit and shifting in his chair slightly as he looked down at my hand.
I relaxed a bit and began to explain, “We just clasp hands, keep our elbows on the table, and try and push each other’s hand down until the back of it touches the table.” Wait, didn’t he challenge me? Why is he asking me what the rules are?
Pocket square continued to stare intently at me, face impassive. His glasses reflecting the lights and hiding his eyes.
“Great! Sounds simple enough” Mo-hawk exclaimed cheerily. Then he floppily opened his hand to reveal nine fingers but no thumb.
This was part 1 of a short story titled “Core”. Based on a dream I had November 13, 2018. More to come.
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Some of this story will make sense. Some of it will make sense only if you know both Eniagram and Big Five. Much of it is completely transparent, although which parts and to what extent are both unclear to me. Some of it will make no sense at all, or at least makes no sense to me.
Most of it will only make sense if you lived November 11th & 12th of 2018 in my body and mind, had the conversations I had about Eniagram, marathoned the Best Of Jordan Peterson videos looking for the “Core Essentials” that you wanted to share with my friend to introduce her to him, and then were unable to sleep, got up at 4:30am and read the Eniagram book (that that same friend had lent me) for an hour until you realized you were falling asleep while your brain was being baptized with revelations about “Maths”; specifically numerology culminating in Triangular, Square, and Octagonal numeric sequences that Pythagerus literally built a cult around 2,500+ years ago, whose roots Eniagram can theoretically be traced back to.
Relevant to this story, is that Eniagram at one point was 8 distinct personality types, with a hinted at 9th, and now has 9 distinct personality types. The knowledge that the Big Five fractures into 10 sub-types may be illuminating (more-so in the next chapter perhaps). The understanding that growth requires sacrifice and also the integration of your shadow could be important to later parts of the story. There are obviously other things that my brain “knows” that entirely escape me, or that I am hiding from myself –These unknown things may well be the most important pieces of information out of all of them to really understand what the heck is going on in this story.