the people

We made up names for the people we didn’t understand. This helped us decode their mysterious juxtaposition to our lives. The names we gave them were based on our keen observation of their behavior. We categorized this behavior, internalizing its significance, and assigned the names accordingly. Over time, a parallel world began to form, separate from the one we were living in. This world was inhabited by these people we didn’t know or understand. However, the strange thing about this world was that it existed in the same plane of time and space as our own. On occasion, we saw these people. But the question remained: could our lives ever intersect? And if so, what would happen to the lives we’d imagined for these people? Would the detailed personalities we’d dreamed up for them withstand deeper scrutiny? Or would they melt away in the acid of reality?

We had spent many hours carefully crafting the stories of these people and we were not prepared to alter those stories so readily. These people had names, held significance to us, in the world we had created for them. The idea that they, in fact, might be different from how we had imagined them was anathema to us. Our theories, constructed as they were from toothpicks sutured together in idle hours, began to quiver. We feared their collapse under the cold authority of hard evidence. We worried that we’d be proven wrong and exposed as frauds. Or worse yet, as unlicensed judges of human character.

In the end we left. We saw no other solution. The authorities had discovered the parallel world. Someone leaked it to them. We came home late one afternoon and found workers in the street, their industrial saws cleaving the invisible fabric. I’ll never forget that day. I stared in horror as our most intricate creation washed away under the silent cresting breakers of two worlds joining. The people were out there, too, watching as their lives closed in on our own. I could tell they didn’t even know what it all meant. That was the worst part. And now they will never know who they might have been.

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6 Comments

  1. Empathy and acceptance are always a problem.

    Reply
  2. taidgh

     /  December 10, 2012

    I like this. Parallel lives are problematic. Sometimes it feels as if things change and there you have it you’ve stumbled onto a parallel universe or life. Parallel universes designed by ourselves as well as realities we place on people (traits, characteristics) and environments. A little ramble :)

    It got me thinking of the series’ Charlie Jade and Sliders. Seems to me to be the beginning of something greater. I can almost guess you are a librarian, archivist or a researcher through your voice. An archive of parallel universes or lives would be interesting. I could just be slow and this could have been done already, though I’m sure you’d have your own unique spin on the topic.

    Reply
    • I like the idea of a compendium of parallel lives, with all the requisite cross-references and such. I feel like it would need a visual component, though, so perhaps you’d care to illustrate it?

      Reply
  3. taidgh

     /  December 12, 2012

    That sounds great! I think I would need to brush up on my illustration skills, though. Maybe my other self would be up for the challenge. I’ll ask!

    Reply

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