autotelic, autistic, assonance-hole©.


It is a cool and calm world they share. Never quite cold enough to engender a wish to depart, never warm enough to create a wish to stay; a place of inertia and stasis; a realm of careful, passing glances and murmured apologies that drift and fall apart at the moment of recognition. It is an alter-world, this place, though perhaps one should call it instead an altar-world; for all things of it and all things in it are of that variety that encompass the nebulous and the neither. No thing, once known, can be held or had; no thing, once truly seen, can exist. It is the domicile of dreaming. It is the domain of the damned.

Every being in this place has arrived here by choice, though none would admit it. It’s part of the pact, the denial and soft disdain; their contribution to shared reality, carefully cushioning one another in the name of respite, for all it most often is more like restraint. To walk this world, one has the feeling of barely checked insanity; the modulated tones and deprecating nods, eyes never quite meeting, you can’t harm what you cannot see and what doesn’t know you’re there cannot harm you.

They’re sitting on opposite sides of the shore. Backs to one another, they look over their respective horizons and send up wishes and dreams to the sky. On occasion, they remember the other is there, but it is a flash of thought accompanied by pain, so neither tries to hold onto it. Instead, a shrug, a sigh, and a shake of the head; casting it out like a daemon, returning always to the empty middle, the place of wanting where comfort of lack exceeds the hurt of having-but-never-having; the gentle remand of the proximitous is the only bond either can enjoy.