Anything’s Better Than One

Sometimes, you get comfortable with something. After a while, you want to expand your horizons, so you try new things. You work for a while, then you look back at what you’ve done, realize you’re utter trash and go back to your original thing. It’s here that I realize that I’m just bad at every form of writing, so I’ll just stick to one thing. I sometimes wonder if other people feel the same way. After all, humans are social beings. They live together. They die together. They feel together. So many human emotions and feelings stem from other people simply existing, like companionship or competitiveness, that it’s hard to imagine what life would be like without others. However, the world was not always full of people to talk to, or listen to, or simply be near. Once, the world was empty.

In the beginning, the world was a lush, verdant place. Pure, bright and untainted. Brimming clouds filled the blue sky. Soft green carpets of grass-covered rolling hills. But, even with all this natural splendor, the world felt empty. There was only one who lived in this paradise. It was named V.

V lived. It did not live sadly, but it did not live happily. It existed in a state of gentle indifference. It did very little, and it felt very little. But out of all the limited things V felt, it felt alone. The comfort of another’s touch, the sound of another’s voice. These were things V had never known.

V wandered its empty home for years on end. The world around it did not want anything to do with it, so V left the plants, and the streams, and the earth alone. It simply watched from afar. One day, of the thousands V spent in isolation, V saw something it had never seen before. It witnessed a leaf, plucked from the company of its branch, be carried away by the wind. Swirling, dancing, the leaf flew away, abducted by the breeze. Entranced, V followed it. In the hands of the wind, the leaf was dashed on the razor edge on a stone, its two halves blowing away. Seeing this V had an idea. For the first time in its life, V felt hope. Hope that its isolation would soon end.

V knew what it had to do. Over the course of its centuries of wandering, V remembered seeing something that would fulfill its goal. Other than hope, another feeling blossomed inside V: Determination. V scaled mountains, crossed plateaus, and navigated caves to reach its destination, and after a decade of constant travel, V reached its goal.

A forgotten cave, its entrance nearly sealed by fallen rocks, was set into the face of a twisted spire. V entered the gaping maw of the mountain, and walked through the darkness until it finally saw what it had been searching for; A shock of crystals, unearthed by the moving of the rock around it, sat in the center of the cave. Razor sharp shards grew out of a shining mass of the mineral. V felt anxious. V felt scared. But V knew that this was its only chance to free itself of its loneliness.

V broke off one of the shining shards and rotated it in the palm of its hand. It knew what to do. It poised itself, readied the shard in its hand, and it one swift movement, rent itself in two.

V woke up to a breathing that wasn’t its own. It sat up, next to a body that wasn’t its own. For the first time in eternity, V saw a living being that wasn’t it.

Vs new companion was named A, and the two were halves of the same whole, different, but somehow similar. They enjoyed each other’s company and wandered their world as a pair. As two, they experienced and saw the world around them as no singular being could.They saw the seasons changing, the rain falling, the snow melting, the leaves dying, the stars brightly shining. It was then, where they first felt beauty. They witnessed the flowers bloom and knew about life. They sat and watched mountains reduced to dust by the hand of time, and they knew rest. As the world shifted, and they felt more and more, the two changed. It was during their journey when they felt something that could never be felt as one. It could not be seen witnessed in the trees, or the water, or the rocks. It was then that V and A felt love.

Days passed. Years passed. Centuries came and went, and V and A learned all the working of the world. They had seen the peace, the life, the beauty that all existed in the world. They strode through the flowing streams and lush forests with an intimate familiarity and felt courage. But the more time they spent learning, the less new things there were to feel. A and V, for the first time in an always changing world, felt bored.

A was determined to find something new to feel. They scaled the highest peak they could remember in the years of their wandering, hoping to catch a glimpse of a pristine sight. With just a single slip, A felt many things it had never experienced before. First, thrilled as A plummeted down the mountain’s rocky slope. Then fear, as the ground was rapidly getting closer. Then pain. A vivid, bright, hungering pain. Then A felt for the last time. A felt death.

V knew what had happened. A person does not simply lose a part of themselves without noticing, and V followed this law. Once again, V felt loneliness. But it felt other things. It learned the touch of sadness, the dragging weight of grief. V continued with its wandering, but all the things it had come to know with A by its side, were now absent and unfamiliar. These things were replaced. Replaced by the simmering power of rage, the conflict of denial, the serenity of acceptance. The final emotion, left in V’s empty box, was hope.

V traced its steps back to a place that had not changed over the course of millennia. It entered a pitch black cave, retracing the steps that had long faded into the most obsolete edifices of its memory. It once again grasped a shining shard. But this time, it did not slice itself in two. It started at the end of its arm, with uneven rapid slices. Chunks of V fell to the ground, materializing itself into multiple, mewling beings, each with only a fraction of V’s lifespan. V’s tears taught them sadness. The touch of each other taught them, love. The world around them taught them the rest. V was content. Happy even. Happy with the knowledge that, unlike itself, humanity would never truly be alone.


Image source: 1/2/3

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