in a pond or shallow lake, rich with simple forms of life, I am the top of the food chain
one day a mouthful contains something new. something that vibrates my body in a way that carries meaning.
gradually, my simple thoughts become more complex. take on a voice I recognize as my own.
eventually I realize that there are two voices in my head. eventually I realize that one of them is not mine.
my companion is wiser than I, and shares its wisdom until I, too, am wise.
together, we discover many things. strange things, in the depths of my small domain, where before I had never had cause to swim.
my companion knows the strange things, says they are parts of a single strangeness that once fell from the sky.
says the strange things are another thing that once swallowed it, as I have, and carried it across the great black water beyond the sky.
or that the strangeness is itself. wise as I have become, I am still not wise enough to understand.
but my companion says that it is enough for me to gather the strange things and bring them to my nesting ground, and so I do.
I bring many strange things, bright things, sharp things, hard things, terrible things.
but always when I return to the nest, only one strange thing remains, a new thing, but somehow not new.
then another strange thing happens, a different strange thing, noise and light and stirring up the mud until the waters are dark with silt.
“Charlie, I think I found something, over here. The coordinates match the readings we took. Oh, man, take a look at this!”
my companion is gone. only one voice is in my head now, and it is the one I know as my own.
I search far and wide, calling, going places I would not have, could not have, before becoming wise.
but my companion does not answer. my companion, who was my friend when I did not know what it meant to have one.
I have learned loneliness.