Two Realities: The Hazy Summer Day

So I finally decided to do this thing. A place where I can just cool off all my little writing adventures. Since I’ve got quite a few old pieces that I still find enjoyable and since it’s always fun reading back and editing some of my older works I’ll start this thing off by posting a few and maybe I’ll work my way to what I’m doing right now. So without further intrusion, I hope you enjoy “Two Realities: The Hazy Summer Day”

It was a cool summer day, the birds were chirping and the arid sun shone on the hot pavement. Every so often a gust of wind blew in my direction, giving me chills up my spine, and giving me a sensation of the coming fall. I took another step on the sidewalk. The emptiness of the street echoed in my head. It was too hot to do anything. But being cooped up in my home wouldn’t be any better. The scent of flowers stimulated my nose, and a short fragrant high came upon me. I crouched down to look at my neighbor’s bed of flowers. It looked beautiful, almost unreal. I reached out my hands out of instinct to caress the soft pedals of the vibrant flowers that bloomed that day. I still don’t know the name of that flower, but it was magnificent. An explosion of colors bustled within my imagination. I pictured  a summer day much similar to this. I gave it feeling, a sense of reassurance, a sense of realism. I pictured this day as if I was a bird, flying high in the sky. But in my mind there were no signs of civilization. I was in a field of grass and flowers under a large tree. A large tree that gave me shadow. That shadow would forever be my umbrella, hiding me from the sun’s burning rays. This landscape would be forever engrained in my memories, the memories of this chilly summer day. Suddenly a car engine revved and brought me back in reality, I jumped straight up. My neighbors were off for today, I didn’t care for where they were going. But only cared for it had brought me back into this reality. I looked around, and saw a large tree. A tree that gave shadow. A shadow that would forever be my umbrella, in this arid summer. I went over and leaned on the trunks of that tree and a cool wave was sent down my spine. Suddenly my eyes were getting heavy, and heavy….and heavy. And soon, I fell to the clutches of sleep.

I woke up a few moments after. How long was it since my nap had happened? I couldn’t tell. I stretched and yawned and got up. It was going to be a long day. I looked at my watch, just about noon. I didn’t have breakfast either. My stomach was grumbling and I was feeling a tang of weakness. My family was still home, they wouldn’t be so kindly to eat outside in this hot summer haze. But I would find a way to convince them. I took the walk back to my home and found my mother and father both in the kitchen. My brother was still sleeping.  I stepped up into the kitchen and told them of my idea. My idea of having a family picnic under the large tree that provided a cloak of darkness. They looked at me as if I was crazy, as if I was speaking another language. They detested, they gave off remarks of weather, of time, and of uselessness. I felt disgusted, and ashamed. Disgusted that this was summer break and we had done nothing as a family and here they are saying no to the simplest of ideas. And ashamed that I was disgusted of my family, the family that raised me. That made it possible for me to experience the seasonal highs I feel.  The family I hold dear to my heart, and the family that apparently has no time for a picnic. The family that I ran out of the house from screaming. The family that I overreacted to. And the family that I hold a weak relationship to. Our family was destructive, and I had vowed to stop it this summer. Maybe it was the heat that got me, or maybe it was because of my neighbor that snapped me out of my self contained reality. Either way I stormed out of the house and ran. With no destination in mind, I ran. With the dry air scratching my face, I ran.

The artificial summer I felt that day, felt so real. I Imagined it just as my instructors had taught me. Just as the videos and the pictures had depicted. It was a realistic summer that felt too real. But as I came back to wrap my mind around that day, I realize that everything was all but an illusion. Knowing this, I still look back and smile, as it was the highlight of the experiences of what I imagine to have happened to the older generation. And I give them credit, it felt amazing. The air that was simulated was so life like, so real that the hairs on my back were standing. It was a sense of the uncanny valley where I almost felt sick by the unnatural. The sun beat on my body harder than any of my combat instructors had ever did. Water started falling from my hair and down my body, I believe the mainframe called this, sweat.  It trickled down my arm, a sensation I had only felt once or twice. It differed from the trickling of the blood of my head sliding down my arm. This feeling wasn’t complimented with the feeling of pain and regret. This feeling was something that I could only feel once in my life. This feeling actually felt good. I looked up, into the sun, only to be reminded by the safety barriers that this was all a simulated experience. The words “simulation” were dancing across the sky, and the sun was merely not there. I had looked everywhere and it was not there. The clouds were spread across the sky, but the sun was not there. I had only looked at that small star in books, but never have I seen it with my own eyes. Back in previous generations that would lead to blinding. But I hoped to see it in full, in person and not on pages. I looked around more in the generated field I was in. There was tall long green grass flowing in the summer air. My feet were about ankle deep in the grass and it felt so surreal. The feeling of the grass prickling my legs gave me a tang of delight. I was ticklish, and the dancing grass swayed freely on my legs. It was nice and smooth, the movements of the grass were serene and elegant.

I took a moment to breath in the simulated air. It felt dry, but was also tinged with the scent of flowers. Scents that I thought I would never smell. Scents that would otherwise be blocked by the motherboard. These scents were forbidden but in this simulation, these scents were recreated so well that I slowly drifted into a fantasy world. In this world I was a knight in shining armor. With sword in one hand and shield in the other I was walking towards the castle of a damsel in distress. The fields smelled nice, the castle was very well kept. The garden was beautiful and the colors on the pedals exploded and overwhelmed me. It was a force that even I could not have fought. And with a simple notion I was snapped back into reality. The reality that I could not stay here forever, that this was only going to be short lived. My family unit called out to me. They said that I had a little over an hour before we shut off. I wanted this to last forever. I cried to my parents, plead to them. But of course the answer was no. I knew it was no, but I wanted to try anyway. I asked them for lunch, I hadn’t had my supplements, and I was growing weary. They had brought along a simulated lunch. It was in the shape of a brown box with a handle. They called it a, “Picnic Basket”.

I was blown away by the simple design yet heavy burden of this tool. It was so simply crafted yet held so much. It was the old way’s inventory I would say. They said it would be used in situations like this. In an old practice called a, “Picnic”.

It was merely a lunch outside they said. A lunch usually in situations like this. My father had taken out a large square like sheet of fabric. He spread it over the grass and offered my mother and I a seat. The practice was done like this, or so I was told. It was a way for bonding, and was a way to acquire required supplements in a non-traditional way from the dinner table. I asked why this practice is not used today, and was only given cold answers. Answers about the new generation about the old being taboo. Their words disgusted me. I grew angry, rebellious. Why must the old be looked  downed upon. Why must the new reign over all!? Isn’t it fine for the old to persist even just a little!? Why can’t we have this feeling every  summer. I screamed and ran. I didn’t know why but I ran. I ran away from my family, from this world that was so closely knit, from this reality I hated.

I stopped and caught my breath. I was breathing heavily. I collapsed and laid my body on the hot pavement. I rolled around and had my body face the blue sky. The clear blue sky that looked endless. It looked as if it spanned forever. I stood up after regaining myself. I walked back to my home, the bitter taste in my mouth had long but dispelled. I walked back to my crumbling family. As I reached my home I swallowed my spit. I felt nervous. I didn’t want to go back to them. But it was crazy to decline me of my own shelter. I had to get past this. I would find another way to bring my family together. I had to. I loved them too much to just ignore them. They deserve better. We deserve better. Maybe it was just me being selfish, I just wanted our family to be happy again, so that I could relive the days from our long forgotten past. I walked to my front door and opened it with my keys. I stepped back into the kitchen. My mother and father were still there. They looked at me. I was put on the spot. But they weren’t angry. They looked at me with sorry-filled eyes. They told me about how they wanted to rebuild our family as well. That they saw their faults and that they were willing to give it another chance. They told me about how they were sorry, and how they were wrong, and how they wanted to have the family that we once had.  I was overjoyed. Tears started forming and I fell to my knees. My brother came up from behind me and comforted me and whispered in my ear.

“Everything is going to be alright now”.

I was running a pointless marathon. The simulation only spanned so far, but it felt like it was endless. The feeling that I was moving further and further away from my family was only a mirage. I was stuck in the endless loop of a lost reality, and I hated it. I hated that I would only be stuck for a mere interval of minutes. That this reality would never be true again. I hated that our world conforms so much to the advances and threw away the remnants of our true beauty. I hated how I had no choice but to live in this world. I turned around, back to my parents. They weren’t there anymore. The sheet wasn’t there. My mother or father wasn’t there. I was confused, where could they have gone? I wandered about in this virtual land, and soon I saw it. A tree, a large tree that I would only see in books. But this tree, even if simulated was a thousand times better than any rendered Image in books. It was better than any artist rendition, and it was better than anything I had imagined. It was right in front of my eyes, and it cast a brilliant dark shadow that hid my parents from the beating sun. I went over amazed. My parents smiled and pulled out the sheet and opened the basket.

We had walked over to the tree that cast that brilliant shadow. We had rolled out our blanket and opened our picnic basket. Sure this was just outside of our house but it was better than nothing. It was the first of many to come and I was fine with it. We all sat down and took out the food mother had made. We sat there in the shadow of the tree eating, talking and joking around. We had sat there in the shadow of the tree, re-connecting a broken family. We had sat there in the shadow of the tree, renewing a long lost family.

I was still bitter but the supplements my mother had packaged in the basket blew me over. It was not pre-rendered images but actual food. Made straight from her own hands and not packaged in small pill forms. This was what being alive meant. This was at the essence of living. Home cooked food. We ate and talked. We had made witty jokes and I was happy. If only for a short while, I was happy. After our meal was done and our time spent together was coming to a close, I had decided to try one more thing. My parents were ready to shut down the simulation, but I had one more thing to do. This seemed crazy at the time, but I didn’t care. I went over to the tree.

We were having a blast, but I was getting cramps from sitting down. So I stood up and stretched. I went over to the tree, it was old but beautiful. The bark was fine and was calling out to me. I extended my arm to heed it’s call.

In the back of my mind I knew the answer, but I wanted to see it with my own eyes. I extended my arm to touch the tree.

My hand came closer and closer to the trunk of the tree.

The distance between the tree and my hand was closing.

With a simple touch I had suddenly experienced an entirely different world, an entirely different, reality.

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