The Nexus

I don't recommend going to the center. Not until you're ready. 'Course, that's not what I did.

I kept going. Didn't even know why, really. Told myself it was to find a way home, but it was more like I was a shark. I've been here for a long time. I've seen a lot of heartbreak, felt a lot of hope die. I needed to move. To stand still was death, and so I moved forward.

It's a deep maze. Took me a bit to find the center, but I did it. I found it.

The light inside the center was white, almost blinding compared to the multicolored ones everywhere else. Mirrors stood tall and surrounded me in a circle. In them, I saw my myself reflecting into infinity, stretching out until I couldn't make my selves out. And at the center of it all, a single mirror stood alone. It wasn't taller than the others. Didn't look much different either.

But when I looked into this mirror, I saw nothing but myself. Everything about myself. My flaws. My hopes. My fears. My shames. My secrets. My successes. My failures. All of it reflected back at me in an impartial reflection. We tell ourselves a lot of lies, and this mirror stripped me of mine. It laid me bare with nowhere to hide.

The truth of the matter was that I had travelled for so long. Wandered from place to place with no purpose. The M.E.G. were just there to point me, to give me a reason to keep moving. And yet… I still felt hopeless. All my travels were just a long, drawn out way of killing myself without actually doing the deed.

To see that all reflected back, well, I'm ashamed to say, I didn't take it too well. I screamed, cried, punched the mirror over and over again. But the glass was unyielding. My hand broke from the repeated punches, leaving me to just cradling my hand and sobbing.

I don't know how long I was there, teetering on edge between human and wretch, finally coming to terms with the despair in my heart.

It's a funny thing, despair. It pulls at you, sucks you in, promises you'll never feel anything again. It says it's the rational choice, the right one, especially in a place that's always in a dreamlike haze. 'Course, that means you don't feel the good along with the bad. You're just in a haze of nothing.

But that haze of nothing robs you of yourself. Makes you a empty husk. Frankly, what makes us human is the ability to feel. It's no wonder that those who succumb to it become wretched in this nightmare.

Now, sitting there, watching my reflections (since it was the only thing I could do through the tears), I did see myself become wretched. But I also saw other selves stay human. I sat against the mirror, feeling the war within me, and one of my reflections locked eyes with me.

As we looked at each other, I understood. I was not alone. His hand was broken too. He had seen everything about himself, and he was still there. I was still here. We locked eyes with our reflections, and they locked eyes with theirs, repeating into infinity. And we all understood. A part of us wanted to live.

In that moment, we became united as one. No longer would we be alone. I stood up, and with a legion of myself, we walked together in unison. We all wanted more, wanted hope in the face of despair. But more than that, we gained a reason to keep going.

We spread across the maze, solving it for those who would wander in. We walked into fire, so those behind us would walk on water. We held the gaze of the void so other can pass unnoticed. We will lead the way to safety, as many lives of ours as it takes.

If you're ready, and you want to understand, look into the mirror. I'll be waiting. Find me.

-Erik Corbel

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