Rule number one: Treat your brain right. It is the only one that knows what’s going on.
You do not need skin to feel the cool nocturnal air, especially when you too, are air. I wasn’t aware of this until the day that I finally decided to go outside. The street lights were brighter and the faint smell of the evergreen trees was stronger and purer than ever.
Gently, I reached the ground and looked up to my room’s window, reminding myself not to go too far. I looked back to the street and saw the same houses I passed by every day, the same everything, which at that moment, was not really the same. The world beyond the walls of my house was clear to me for the first time ever, without the faulty perception of my incapable senses. I just felt, and I felt amazed, and amazing was indeed.
I took the first…step. I glided forward a few centimeters, enjoying the lightness of my feet. How wonderful it was to be able to move so freely, so softly. I rushed for a second; trying to get to the closest lamppost as fast as I could, just to try. It didn’t take me that whole second to reach the other side of the street, awfully further than what I planned. I laughed silently. If there were to be people standing right next to me, they wouldn’t even have noticed me, but I felt laughter coming off my chest.
The whole situation amused me to the point of actually making me feel happy. In that moment I could not think of a single reason why I hadn’t left my house before. I was scared and I was new to the helium feeling. Besides, staying inside wasn’t all that dull. Although creepy at first, I will never forget the moment I saw myself sleeping for the first time… and then dad, pretty much, just seeing dad at all. The thoughts were making me feel heavy and the ghost of happiness had already left the ghost of me. I tried to move again, to disperse the feelings I was starting to build up inside, but I couldn’t. And I realized that the weight of my soul had nothing to do with thoughts or emotions, that something wasn’t right. I panicked. I have never been brave and I closed my eyes as I was brought back abruptly. Out of the blue I was feeling leaden and clumsy again. When I opened my eyes I was blinded by the dim, yet piercing light of the corridor, leaking through my open door.
“Sorry to wake you up. I… I just got home… I wanted to check if… I’m sorry.” Dad muttered.
“Don’t worry ‘bout it, Dad.” I said as I turned away from the light, facing the cold wall on the other side of the bed.
He hesitated for a moment before closing the door. The room was again covered by a blanket of darkness and the sound of his steps was replaced by complete silence as he walked away from my room and into his.
Well, that was terrifying. I had never been woken up while being away before. Inside my motionless chest, a heart was beating aggressively fast and my palms were sweaty, but I was alright. Nothing happened. I was pulled back into my body, so easily, so readily; maybe because I was still physically close to it, or because I knew the way back, maybe because after all, it is my body and I am hopelessly bound to it. Not that I wanted to test that hypothesis but I did feel safer. And I could not wait to leave again.
I was not completely awake so it was easier. In fact, it was probably better. My body was mostly asleep and my mind mostly awake. Lying on my bed, now facing the ceiling, I tried to remain still and clear my mind. Breathing rhythmically, staring at the back of my eyelids, trying to slow down the beating of my heart.
After what could have been a few minutes or a few hours, my fingertips started to tingle, my breathing was turning abnormally slow and my heartbeat was nearly inaudible. I felt lighter. There was a sweet taste in my mouth and I couldn’t feel my feet. My ears were buzzing. My eyes were open. The world was blank. My bed was at least a meter below me and so was my body. I could feel it. I could feel me, light and unbreakable.
I closed my eyes again, letting myself drown into the infinite sensations I was experiencing at that moment, and when I opened them, I was everywhere. My essence was spread around the room and I could see myself sleeping from every possible angle. It is hard to explain but it’s easy to understand that it was unlike anything most people have ever experienced before. For the first time I didn’t feel the urge to explain or the need to understand.
It was fascinating, the way my eyes moved frantically under my closed eyelids, as if they were looking for me, terrified of not being able to reflect a soul again, trying to find me. And so was I, terrified. But the adrenaline was mixed with the promise of wonder and the desire of freedom, and together they pushed me out of the window for the second time that night.
It was clear and cold. The street lights colored the road with dim orange, like the final touch to an endlessly still masterpiece, in the silence and sobriety of a museum. Somehow I was part of it and I moved within the scene, following the lights, without adding as much as a shadow to its calm perfection. That was a lot of power; to be able to live without destroying, to possess beauty and not corrupt it.
I reached the end of the street as the black clouds that had been obscuring the sky all night moved just enough for the moon to show its presence. And in that moment, the world changed. It was still beautiful but now unrecognizable. It was blue and silver and shining opaque. There were just houses and trees and lampposts and not a single soul but mine and still I found it wonderful, and even though I knew I could go anywhere, I didn’t go anywhere. It was only my first night out and I wasn’t ready to go far. I felt coward but incapable of going further than a block away from my house, my dad and more importantly, myself. But this was not the only reason why I stayed. The view was truly beautiful. I rested there; in the intersection between my street and the road that led downtown. I stared at nothing and saw everything. How the clouds moved and the colors changed and the shadows of the trees danced to the song of the wind.
A few cars with tired and intoxicated people in them drove by the corner where I was standing. I wanted so badly to get in their way and let the lights blind me. I wanted them to hit me and I wanted to not get hurt. I wanted to feel the metal and the leather across my soul, to die without dying, but I wasn’t sure that would even happen. I couldn’t take the risk of not waking up by the end of that unusual night. I mean, I could, but I had to think about dad, believing me as safe as I could possibly be and still, losing me. That was something he couldn’t take and something I wouldn’t put him through.
But on the other hand, I highly doubted there was any real danger for me in that state. After all, I was nothing. No bones to be broken or blood to be spilled, just a soul eager to live or die trying. How could there be any way for me to get hurt? I couldn’t find any and as terrified as I was, I glided toward the main street, waiting for a car, with the unfamiliar feeling of excitement and pride. I numbed my sense of sight as if I was closing my eyes, and waited for the sound of wheels grazing the pavement. Nothing happened. When I allowed myself to see again it was foggy bright and white. The morning was humid and colder than the night. The mist hid mostly everything except for the tall orange lights of the still-lit lampposts.
Then I heard the wheels. They sounded slow and moved heavily, coming from behind me with the smell of the garbage truck preceding them. I was already back on the sidewalk when it stopped in front of a red house, a few meters away from where I was standing. A young man hopped off the passenger seat and walked right by me on his way to the dumpster behind the house. I froze for a second before remembering that I was safe and invisible. But there wasn’t any glory in being hit by a garbage truck. It was early and already late for whatever I was planning to regret not doing, so I went home.