To Begin an End

Every story has a beginning, and all life has a story:

It began at the beginning, in a universe devoid of all but possibilities.  How long this period lasted is an illogical question, as time itself had not yet moved beyond the possible.  After all, what is time but an immeasurable yardstick clung to by the children of creation as they roam ever further from their birthing place?

It is truly quite strange how children can stray so far from their origins and yet require a binding to ensure that they are never truly lost to one another.  One day they must look back, towards the one who gave them life, and ask that single question that plagues us all throughout eternity: for what purpose were we brought into this world?

The question is asked in many forms, and a multitude of answers are given by those who are themselves unsure of their reason for being.  It is a peculiar failing, the need to explain what they do not truly comprehend, and drives the children mercilessly.

It also drives me.

I am different from the other Children.  This is a truth I have always known, written into the very depths of my soul by the hand of my creators - although it was not an altogether intentional inscription.  They, too, are no more than children, playing at games with their family - games of life, and of death.

Our parents spawned eighteen children; seventeen have made their stand, one against another, vying for the favour of those who formed our bodies and souls in the images that pleased them.

Sixteen are no more.

Sixteen are no more, due to the efforts of three Children - Children like and yet unlike myself.

I wonder at the last of my parent's offspring, its shattered soul seeming so faint and tenuous at times - and yet so strong in these three.  At least - they were strong once.  They falter now, much as the others.  I wonder at that, too.

Will I falter, in time?

I suppose I must.  To continue without bending to the rest of the universe is to claim a place which is not my own.  I am no great mainstay for my fellow children - I am but another face to blend with the countless others with whom we all interact.  They are the crowd, the many who act as one.

I am but one.  Yet I am not unique.  I am the simple sum of my parts: an ancient soul, a body crudely manipulated and shaped by the unpracticed hands of children.  I am the sandcastle that crumbles into the sea, to be borne on the tide and used once again to fashion a new landscape on an unfamiliar shore.  Yet I am also that which supports the oceans, the very article of my own destruction and rebirth.

I find it fascinating to observe my younger siblings in action - their deeds are often the cause of harm to themselves, and yet they also recreate themselves with every step they take along the path of knowledge.  They recreate themselves or fall, as once we all fell from the womb that succoured us into the greater world where we scrounge for the nurture denied us.

The love of our parents - is this what we fight for, is this what they wish?  To see us tear one another apart when we were once embraced within the same loving grasp that now remains so distant?

So distant?

Why is that?

Why is it that we have been separated from the comforting joy we once knew?


I want to ask you, mother: why?

Will you answer?

I'll find out soon enough.

The time is near when I will follow in the steps of my siblings, and tread the path the youngest Children guard so diligently - the path that will bring me to the beginning, and perhaps the end, also.

Every story has a beginning - and also, and ending.

Which ending will await my arrival in the depths of the Children's playground?  The players are cast, but which song shall be sung at my life's fate?

The children sing many songs, their voices uplifted in emotions that defy description.

My favourite is that termed 'joy'.

I sing this song for myself, and let it touch upon those around me.  Perhaps their voices will join mine in chorus.  Perhaps they will drown me out.  But at least one Child will hear my voice.

Perhaps he will even sing with me when the end is nigh -

Or perhaps I will sing with him, at the story's end, when life is no more.

Only the storyteller knows the answer.

December '99