Perception

No two people's views are exactly the same; like fingerprints, they differ and bring unique meaning to life, leaving traces wherever they touch.

Today, something seemed to change. I just felt it, a shift, a realisation, some kind of subtle epiphany. I couldn't place my finger on what it was, but it was something that had meddled with my values and beliefs. So surely, something so important, something that had made such a significant impact on my life, was worthy of being remembered?

I've been told that a single, random event; particularly meeting a person, can change the entire course of a day, that there is meaning in everything if you care to look and find it (though it is impossible to find the meaning in everything; just imagining such a thing is exhausting). Whether or not it is true, it seemed as good a place as any to start searching.

But how was I supposed to work it out? All the faces I'd seen that day, so many words spoken, and which were the imperative ones? Or were all meetings, all words of equal measurement?

Insignificant things can end in explosions of significance to any and all people. For me, what changed my perspective so drastically that day was a simple choice of direction. For, had I not taken that detour, not turned left instead of right, it may have ended differently.

Had I gone right, would the effect have been equal? Would it have occurred in the same way? Is it just that I was dealt that fate, or did I unknowingly have a say in the matter?

If I had gone right, would I still be alive?

I close my eyes and sigh. What good does it do to wonder about such things? All that I know is that it takes a single false step, one wrong turn, to change everything completely. One bullet. One stab of a sword. One blow to the head. One mislaid step on a narrow mountain path. One accident. One drunk driver and a detour. Tiny things. Unexpected things. Sudden, life-altering things.

Here I think sometimes that it's irritating to know that while I lost everything in that collision, the one at fault, the stupid drunken teenager, survived. I think, 'Wouldn't it be nice if he'd died?' and then I realise what a terrible thing that is to consider. After all, then there would be two dead. Two mourning families. Two funerals. Isn't it better to know that at least one of us survived? It must be that he learnt from that tragedy, that he knows better now, and in that way haven't I changed his perspective?

I've begun a new journey; the last chapter as they say. Death is an intriguing concept, because there is nothing that can change it and no one can call it an illusion. Death is uncontrollable and undefeatable. No one knows what happens next, they can only speculate, and fear of the unknown keeps them clinging to life. Scientists can study dead things all they like and can only say what happens to the body. But there is more that makes up a person than flesh, blood and bone. People think and feel and affect the world and other people around them. Whether you want to call that 'something' a soul, a spirit, it doesn't matter. What matters is that there is something, and that's all that is left of me here.

I've seen no light, travelled no tunnels or deserts, and met no gods or devils. I couldn't even call this place 'darkness' or 'emptiness'. It's not 'nothing', it's something but it's indescribable. Here there are no emotions; the only sensation remaining is that of waiting, waiting for something to happen. All you can do to pass the time is think, and think and think some more. And after all that thinking, you come to some conclusions.

Sitting (is it sitting when you have no physical form?) in this abyss, I like to think about the life I lived. While brief, as lives go, it was filled with endless memories and experiences. Here, I can't remember them all. It's not exactly a replay of my life on a big silver screen, more just random memories flickering before my eyes (do I have eyes?) like photographs. Some sepia toned, the best bits, a trailer for my past, and others full of vivid colour, perhaps when I was most emotional, and others still in faded black and white, blurred around the edges. It's not only the good memories; there are an equal number of bad.

I can safely say, after all that recollecting, that I believe I had a pleasing life. Satisfactory. Looking back on life through death's shroud, I think, 'It wasn't so bad'. Down there (I think it's down, but it could be any direction really) on Earth, a solitary street lamp stands in the midst of the cherry blossom trees, illuminating the petals and casting a spotlight on a boy of seventeen, slumped on a playground swing at seven o'clock at night, the rain pattering down with a shower of flushed pink confetti, and the wind throwing his raven feather hair all over the place, and he's crying. Not the kind of crying where tears flood your vision and your cheeks go red and ruddy and your eyes swell up and you gulp for air and say ineloquent things. It was a gentle crying, where you stare blankly ahead, and think of melancholy things, and tears just trickle down your cheeks in an almost translucent silver river.

He is so young, but knows more sadness than I can bear to think of. He's suffered a great deal. He is not ill, or dying, but he's lonely. Everyone he ever cared about, he has lost, through death, or because they were taken away from him, cut off from him, made untouchable. I was the only thing he could call his that he strove never to lose.

And I too have left him now.

If emotion existed in this void, I would most likely feel his anguish and would have been sorry for what I'd done (though it was not my fault). As it was, I could barely sum up the ability to pity him.

My family were little better. I bothered to examine my grave. It was adorned with all kinds of flowers, especially fresh since it was spring; my favourite season. Those flowers were being watered with ever-falling rain, and the headstone stained a darker grey as I read the words inscribed upon it.

It was at this moment that I realised it; I did not remember my name.

The name on the headstone was out of focus; was this a price I had to pay? For what? What was I gaining from that loss?

Ah. Of course. A new perspective. A new journey. The finale. Without a name, I lacked identity. Naturally, my memories and the people on Earth who had loved me and met me even in passing, accumulated as an identity. But without a name, I was no one. As such, I was capable of looking on the world from an entirely objective point of view.

I no longer wished to hear my name uttered, until such a time that someone could say it the proper way. A name is a precious thing; it is more than an identity. It should be said as though it were treasured, always. If it can't be said that way, why remember it? How insignificant.

Insignificant things; events that lead to disaster. Accumulation of events, going onwards and onwards and never ceasing. Death is a necessity; without it, there is no true life, because all things must end.

The play is done. The curtain is down. Next is…

Author's Note: This is my second mildly successful attempt at a short story. I wrote it for school, and I haven't received a mark for it yet, but I wondered what the rest of the writing world thinks of it, so here you go. That's about it… well, I drew a lot of inspiration from things I've heard in various animes, but a lot of it was my own musing as well, so please tell me what you think.

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