When approached by strangers he would lie to them; at first it had been painful, but thoughts and ideas– the lies–became like a second language to him. The speed in which he picked up the habit surprised him. Sometimes. Because he had no recollection of his past life there was nothing to measure his present self up to. For all he knew he had been a horrible man. He didn’t cherish that thought, but it was a possibility nonetheless.
He made himself up as a new man every day. Depending on the day he almost believed those stories. It would have been nice to actually live a lie, for once . . . Be that person . . . Not wondering who he was, not wondering why he was . . . To him that was what it meant to be divine.
Understandably, he found it odd to have no memories. He could only remember his life up till certain points, and even those were fragmented segments of his life. Or what he had made up. It was hard to tell at times. He didn’t bother to dwell on his distinct lack of identity; it frightened him. He never spoke about this to anyone, just went about his business–which he could never remember–wandering from town to town.
He was nothing more than a wandering stranger whose life’s journey would either turn into something miraculous , or nothing at all. Of the two he leaned more towards the latter. The pessimistic cynic within him preferred it; somehow it felt appropriate, although not for the reasons that generally came to mind.
Of course, that’s how it always is!
Now the pain laid elsewhere: a distinct hollowness in his chest. Sometimes he wondered if that was in his head too, like so many other things, or if he really had lost something. Either way, this constant amnesia baffled him. At one point he was something, someone . . . Had a purpose.
“That jacket looks really sharp on you!” an older woman commented in passing.
“Thank you.” He then frowned. Sharp. Sharpe. Something stabbed at the back of his head.
There. That was it; the thing. The . . . Amnesia? His eyes lost focus for a moment. His body swayed to the side, against his will.
“Hey, are you okay?” someone asked.
“Yes, I’m fine. Thanks. Low blood sugar. I just need to rest.” The lies came out again. It was frightening; with all the lies, with all the self-deception, he was afraid that if he peeled back all the layers there would be nothing; or, that a rotting, worm-infested core would greet him.
Am I the cause of this? he asked himself.
Something stabbed at the back of his head again. The last thing he remembered, before he became a wanderer, was a cold pit–the void?–and thousands upon thousands of stars . . . Red stars, blue stars, green stars, white stars . . . They were cold, and had filled him with such loathing, for himself and for them. He had been on the brink of death. Then he was running for his life, without ever knowing the transition between the two events.
“Give him some space!” he heard someone say, their voice sounding muffled; he found that odd, until he began to notice the people standing over him, blurred against the light. His eyes could barely focus on anything; there was a distinct buzzing in his head, making his thoughts feel thick and sluggish like there was wool instead of brain matter stuffed into his skull.
“Are you okay?” someone asked him.
“No,” he whispered, but not in reply to the stranger. “I need . . .” Feeble as he was, he managed to sit up. His eyes widened.
Was it shock? Surprise? Or was it horror?
“What is he looking at?” His ears began to burn as the question spread through the crowd.
“I need to get something to eat,” he finished his sentence for himself. “Would you recommend that cafe over there?” His finger was pointing in the direction he had been staring in. To his credit, he had been looking for that same establishment before his episode.
The Cloudy Cafe, he thought. I could have lived a lie so easily.