Reality Flicker

April 25th, 2021 by Diana Coman

It tends to happen mainly at night, sometimes at dawn, when some incongruous and unexpected sound would be so ill-fitted to the immediate reality and so well-fitted instead to some past place and time that my whole perception would just flicker and suddenly unplug from my surroundings to draw instead all its input from my own memory of another time and place. The mattress would become harder, the bed would shrink in size and grow in height, the whole room would come down to the ground floor and the house itself would turn around to match the cardinal points that my memory provided as real in the present and not just in the past. Even the street outside would simply change as much as required, effortlessly morphing from a short and gently curved town street with both ends in sight, with cars parked along it and rinsed pavements snugly fitting it from the sides, into a raised, wide river of concrete flowing through the open plain as far as the eye could see on either side and mostly empty at night except for the rare times when a car whooshed by, as if launched for a take off rather than merely traveling on its way to either the distant sea at one end or the equally distant capital city at the other end.

At times, even the night itself changes to fit my recollection and when that happens, the cool and breezy air would suddenly become dusty, stuffy and even heavily lily-infused, as memory frantically puts to use all those details it stored so carefully long time ago to recreate everything so vividly at a mere flicker of the right sound, the right fragrance or even simply the right time. In other words, my illusion is promptly and lavishly supplied with anything at all, for a fully rounded experience - at least if my own memory is taking me for a ride, I'll concede that it's an exquisitely well prepared one, each and every time. While many other illusion sellers certainly exist and tirelessly try their best to make me buy something from them, I have to say that I have yet to find one that is as good at it as my own memory so with all the free practice I had throughout the years, I'm not sure how would they stand a chance even if I decide one day to be in the market for pre-packaged illusions.

It is however precisely the same characteristics of my memory and the very same highly focused attention to detail that tear the illusion apart just as strongly as they create it in the first place, since they make it all the harder to keep ignoring current reality as it pokes through the recreated past in myriad of tiny ways. For throughout all these frantic changes of perception trying to cover up and take over, there would be the noticeable check-check-check for contradictions of my mind testing it all and trying to pick somehow one of the two realities it found itself unexpectedly straddling. The same part of me that stored meticulously all these details that enable now such vivid illusion is still hard at work picking and storing up just as meticulously all possible current details, finding therefore increasingly more and more contradictions until the memory concedes defeat and the perception adjusts again to focus on the present as more real than the past, at least for now, at least for a while.

Fortunately for my sanity at least, such drastic flicker of the whole perception as the above does not last very long, nor is it all that frequent. Nevertheless, it still is frequent enough and it lasts long enough that I'm aware of it even as it happens - it's a bit like watching a suddenly confused actor switching mid-sentence from one character's lines to another's, just because at that particular moment the two became so close that the points touched and the track changed seamlessly, at speed. Then, as the tracks diverge again and the new character becomes almost strikingly out of place among everything else, one gets to watch the same actor at first trying to resist yet another change but in the end still switching back again and carrying on from there undisturbed, as if nothing happened.

After all, nothing actually happened, it only seemed to have happened merely because two alternative representations, each flawed in its own ways, simply came head to head in this continuous race to win the title of "closest to real of all my currently available illusions."

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