Your name is JOHN EGBERT. You are SIX YEARS OLD.
You’ve been sitting here for quite a while now, but you can’t be bothered with just where you are anymore. Mostly, your perspective consists of the rich hues of the summer sky and the clouds who dare drift through said sky. There should definitely be something better to do and surely you could occupy your time in more productive ways. That said you are only really interested with that immense backdrop of radiant blue.
You had come here for a reason and you had definitely taken specific steps to arrive to this point. Yet it has all escaped you, you are so happy with the shade of the sky, you are so happy with the wandering clouds. The idea that you may be slightly LONELY has escaped you as well.
You are a child and all that matters is how the world is bursting with light.
It is not until you pick up on a faint rustling, on the sure promise of an arriving person, presumably a child as well, that you do remember that there is more to the world than strictly your blossoming imagination. You are gripped with that destabilizing feeling, the one that has constantly managed to seize you throughout your life, one indicating that you have not yet fulfilled the mission for which you BREATHE.
Exactly, you are breathing, and so you have no problem with this uneasiness.
You sit up straight, brushing imaginary (or not so imaginary) bugs off your clothing and picking at your hair with the certainty that it must be crowned off with a beautiful array of twigs and leaves. Your eyes have departed the sight of the luminescent sky, though there is no room for mourning as you are now able to fully absorb a different shade of luminescence.
The fields are GOLDEN, for a lack of a better word. You hadn’t quite listened to your DAD and so you are unaware of what these plants towering towards the blue heavens are truly supposed to be. Wheat? Sunflowers? Oversized mustard plants? You do not know; you know that you are hidden away in a mass of gold. Something tells you there had been a path through all of this. Something also tells you that you had thought of it as a highly comical idea as to hide away from said path.
It feels a bit DESTINED that the source of rustling should step right into your line of vision. As if your meeting had been utterly EFFORTLESS; you had simply looked down from the skies and he had been there.
Though if you are being honest with yourself you can’t truly use the words ‘stepped into your line of vision’. You would not be as rude as to say he had crawled into your hiding place, but there had indeed been a lot of stumbling and struggling involved.
It takes you a bit by surprise nonetheless. You wonder if the boy is made out of the same material these plants are made of. His hair and overall appearance is shining with the same golden quality, not but the mere quality but also the very same color. It is a bit perplexing and you can’t help but to pose the hypothesis that perhaps, just perhaps, it is the sun that is distorting the color and fabric of your world and not your imagination.
Still, you feel as if this particular child has stepped right out of your imagination. Well stepped, more like crawled. No, you can no longer avoid using that word.
That is when he all but collapses, practically at your feet, clutching at the ground as if he had gone for too long of a distance for too long of a time. You might be frozen, and so you decide to read his face as to tell the extent of his pain and tiredness.
His eyes are shut, but this is also when you REMEMBER that his eyes had been shut even while stumbling into the scene.
You are terrified as you feel cut off from all exterior help, only surrounded by tall falsely gold colored plants and a suddenly horrifyingly blue sky.
That is when you decide to SPEAK UP, even though you have never done such a thing in presence of a stranger. Actually, the same could go with any human being. You don’t speak up much is the point to be made here, but in this scenario, you inadvertently do. Though you do PRETEND a decision had been involved.
“Are you okay?”
It’s surprisingly breathless for such a person as you, and it’s also short, not so surprisingly considering the quiet and lonesome identity you have unconsciously picked up in your short few years in this world. It is just enough though and you are taken with the energy, the certitude that you can take no wrong step in this meeting.
He is on his feet in a moment, not even a moment. You blink through the daze of light and there he is towering over you, though he obviously still does not outgrow the vegetal company. No proof or clues remain as to tell you that he had been the same boy who had been crumbled on the floor, rather, he suddenly seems very in control, small childish hands fitting loosely into his jeans’ pockets, an aloof air to him, and a posture that screamed to let him lean onto something, anything.
His reply is seemingly shorter than yours.
“’Sup,” is all that he announces to you.
You can apply the word seemingly for you cannot tell for sure if it were but the prelude to some long, spirited and fluid speech. You can’t tell because with the announced word he does open his eyes.
They are like ambers, as if they had captured all the light of this bizarre day into his being, they of course only flash momentarily as his head disappears from your view.
He is on the floor again and you are extremely confused. You are quick to note the despair in his movement. This is not quite ordinary as his comportment could have easily passed off as exhaustion or an effect of the overbearing heat, you can tell it isn’t. And you aren’t so sure why you are so quick to pick up on it.
“Hey, do you need help?”
You are on your feet in no time, tiptoeing around him slightly as the enormous task that is of helping him presents itself to you.
“Nope, I’m just peachy, thanks.”
Your teeth peek slightly out of your upper lip as you did not resist the urge to grin for his face was very well hidden away in the ground. The sight is a bit reminiscent of an ostrich to you even though someone has already revealed to you that ostriches do not in fact bury their head into the ground. It’s safe to say your smile is a bit on the shy side, somehow it conforms to the rest of you.
Still, you are very much amused by his biting sarcasm, especially while being put in such a situation.
“I can help you out,” you propose eagerly.
You do recall that there is a reason why it would be difficult for him to find his way out without your connoisseur-like help. For the moment, that detail is not so relevant.
“I don’t need out.”
And somehow the two of you manage to rearrange yourself into a position where you are both kneeling, facing each other, unbearably close under the scrutiny of the summer heat. It’s a bit hazy, you do remember having to pry it out of him… Yet the sole words you can recall are of his confession.
While he speaks to you, you can barely make out his eyes, only slightly peeking from their hiding place behind his eyelids. They remind you of how your teeth poke out when you smile and so you assume that he is very much like you. He must be very shy is what you are implying of course.
“I dropped my shades,” he tells you eventually.
And it takes a bit more clarification for you to understand that he is referring to DARK TINTED GLASSES.
“Yeah, there is a lot of light!” You let out sympathetically, but in the end it proves to be the wrong choice of words.
“No,” and the word leaves no place for deliberation, it is the sort of no you would hear out of an adult’s mouth and so you are certainly shaken to hear it from him. Surely the single word would have been the anchor place for many nasty retorts, but he obviously held back.
You are almost afraid to ask, but you do anyway.
“They’re just really important!”
You take it then that this confession must have been quite sincere if he had so willingly turned to such a snappy mood.
You propose to help scavenge for them and he stubbornly resists you. It isn’t until you TAKE HIS HAND that he follows. You’ve only ever held your father’s hand, it feels distinctively SPECIAL to hold a hand that is close to your size. As you lead him through the field’s pathways you conclude that he too may be made out of the sheer light that had been composing that day.
You’re not REALLY six years old.
Though you are INDEED John Egbert.
You cannot remember any other moments of the day. Oh, of course you can. You do remember the scent of your father’s car when you had climbed back into it, dreading the long travel ahead, it had smelled the scent all cars possessed when they lounged about such arid summer heat. You do remember sinking your teeth into an apple in the backseat of said car. You remember drowsily awakening in the car under a sudden lack of light. You just can’t remember any more of the boy.
It truly feels as if you have missed your chance to experience TRUE LOVE.
Even though you aren’t even so sure anymore if the boy had indeed existed or if he had instead been a figment of your imagination, as you had instinctively believed him to be. You say this only because you have recently come about the courage to clarify some details of said meeting.
You have mentioned recollections of pathways in golden fields to your father. He insures you that those were not golden and had in fact been a corn maze. And then you stupidly realize it is that farm he goes to year after year, to purchase the perfect pumpkin specimen for some relative of yours. You can’t say for sure how that person is related to you, apparently your family genealogy is complicated, and you have the feeling you had had the front seat to understand its complicated workings, but it has all escaped you by now.
It definitely takes more than a day to get to that place, and you had always wondered why your father dubbed it important to make the trip yearly. You are starting to understand as you consider the place to be, well, the most important place in your life.
Yet, he assures you that the fields had been of green hues and nothing of golden. It is a bit vertiginous to think back to the golden boy then as you are unsure if you can even keep on believing he had been golden at all.
You do know however that you often DREAM of said boy and of chasing after him and not letting that opportunity for true love flail away from of you as it had. You don’t like to psychoanalyze yourself, you happen to have a FRIEND who already enjoys doing so in her free time.
But you can say in all honesty that when you look up to the sky, as you often do, there is no one stumbling right into your life. Never has the world been as radiant as it had been then.
You’ve come to the conclusion that you are LONELY, no matter the number of precious friendships you have made over the internet. There is something still MISSING, though you feel by now you have accomplished the mission bestowed upon you, though you seem to have forgotten it.
There is something missing, you won’t give much thought to it, but you somehow just know the snappy kid had been it.
Your name is DAVE STRIDER. You are SIX YEARS OLD.
And you are royally fucked.
You should have listened to your BRO. You should definitely always listen to your older brother. That’s really all there is to say on the matter, but you will divulge more of it nonetheless.
You are the EPIDOME OF COOLNESS, or so that is how you were raised. You were raised with the firm idea that you possess a cool image and that in no case, absolutely no case, should you let any aspect of it slip. You, of course, know that it is but a cover-up. Your brother somehow disregards that and so maybe, just maybe, you have begun to believe him.
You have begun to forget of the other defining things of your being. You are simply cool.
That idea was wiped clear a few steps ago, a long time ago.
The largest corn maze in the world is pretty fucking ironic and so your brother has made it one of your road stops. And you strolled right into it, hands in your pockets and firmly believing that you are un-fucking-believably cool.
Your brother has told you, he has absolutely ALWAYS told you to keep your shades on. At all times. You were not foolish enough to disregard it, for you had initially known of the very good reason to partake in such an attitude. However, you had been foolish enough to start believing in the poorly formed excuses as to why you should keep them on.
‘You want to keep an air of mystery.’
And so yeah, yeah the shades were supposed to be a prop to how fucking cool you were, they no longer were some handicap handed to you by the gods that hated you so.
When the wind had knocked your shades off the bridge of your nose, you hadn’t bothered to pick them back up. The wind had seemed playful to you, as if its intentions were completely pure. And never had you been so compelled as to assign a character to something… Other than human.
You were not a child raised on fairytales. The closest things you had seen to fairytale books were some insanely mainstream manga stashed here and there in your brother’s van. Your brother assured you all influences in your life were terribly cool and you had no other choice than to believe him.
But in that instant, believing that the wind had acted as your friend, yet as your leader, that felt completely right to you.
You came to regret this and to have great crisis in the future when wanting to differ from your brother’s opinions.
You do NOT wear shades to be cool. There is a GOOD reason you wear shades.
And this is something you easily remember when your eyes begin to water at the sight of the illuminated labyrinth. Never letting your cool persona slip might have been a mistake, for the pain that surges through you is just a bit more TERRIBLE than what it should have been. Essentially, constantly wearing those ironically shaped shades had been a decent idea, but only as long as it remained entirely constantly.
You should be berating yourself, you should retrace your steps. You, of course, do eventually try to retrace those steps, but you have waited too long. Right now you would rather be BLINDED and so you keep your eyes closed and hope for the best.
You end up off path, quite predictably so.
What isn’t so predictable is the voice that rises up as soon as you manage to thoroughly tangle yourself into these insanely too colorful crops. It shouldn’t be so surprising. Honestly, you should be more surprised that you had yet to cross a soul so far. Perhaps you have and they had simply stared at you as you blindly struggled past them. You prefer to blame it on all this sun and on all this light. Who in their right mind would subject themselves to such conditions?
By the time you do hear this voice you have resorted to CRAWLING. The closer you are to the ground the farther you are from all of that light. That’s not quite true though. You really are just falling apart, suddenly wishing for help. You are also suddenly forgetting all of this nonsense relating to your ‘cool’ side, remembering just how weak you are deep down. It’s not so deep down, it actually stands there, on top of your skin, of your entire appearance, waiting for someone to notice, but no one ever does. Still it gets categorized as ‘cool’.
In this case you just know you can’t look cool. You are basically ON YOUR KNEES.
You have no idea what this person has said, yet-
It feels as if the wind carried the words to you. You have no idea where they came from, you are assuming from up above. They are vibrating with a type of energy you have never recognized before. You feel relatively SAFE.
And it is that feeling of safety that urges you to jump right back into the skin your brother had so willingly handed to you. You are on your feet now, completely cool. And you let out a single syllable, truly achieving new heights of cool.
You become scared though. Are you even facing whoever this is?
You open your eyes, because, even if it weren’t for the disorientation, you could only look so cool with your eyes closed.
Flash your weird eyes. Make some clever joke. Keep stealing his breath away.
Instead, your eyes fly upward first, an ironically small shred of hope whispering to you that it might be the wind speaking to you. But it’s only crystal luminescent blue up there, no wind to push clouds into full travel. And it HURTS.
Before shooting right back to the ground, your eyes do get a glimpse of him. And he is like a piece of the sky woven into the scenery. As if someone had decided ‘Hey let’s wrap this boy up in cloth made of sky.’
Oh and maybe replace his eyes with gems sculpted out of the sky too. You don’t have time to notice anything else. You can only register the way he was sitting down, balled up, arms crossed over his knees, hiding away in tall corn plants. You feel as if he is a person soaked with MAGIC.
You cannot be certain for you are hiding your face away into the ground, your hands clutching at this same ground as if you could pull it back and reveal a night sky instead.
The rest doesn’t really matter. You don’t remember. You remember his breathy windy voice calling out to you throughout the blinded memory though, as you kept the charade to hide your eyes away.
“Don’t worry, I’ve got your back!”
But you can’t say he had had your back, rather he had had your hand. And for some unfathomable reason you held on. You think you might have been positive he had been a SPIRIT. A reincarnation of wind. A ghost who had died out there and helped troubled children like you. He isn’t HUMAN, you can’t bring yourself to think so.
He hadn’t really led you to your shades though; he had led you OUT.
The rest is forgotten too. The memory only holds back together at the moment your older sibling slips his own pair of shades onto your nose. He wears shades just like yours because he too is COOL. You know that’s a lie. He wears shades just like yours because he is trying to keep you from being LONELY.
As soon as your eyes are shielded away everything slips back into focus and you are so angry at the tear stains that were surely decorating your face. Your brother slips in a few words.
“Ready to hit the road bro?”
His voice doesn’t lead on to any trouble. He isn’t scolding you for having lost your shades. He isn’t scolding you. He isn’t even acknowledging the mishap. But from behind the darkening barrier you can see his own eyes and their worried shine. You also recall the windy voice having exchanges with your brother’s.
But that is FORGOTTEN.
Mostly because you are NOT six years old.
You are much older and cherish the memories left of the day. The world had been so COLORFUL and ALIVE. And you can’t help but to wonder when you cross other people if their eyes are as bright as the hidden boy’s had been on that day.
You tell yourself it can’t be because you have convinced yourself that the boy had indeed been a paranormal happening. He had given you the chance to glimpse at the real world though, even if only for a little bit.
So it has come to your attention that your brother had indeed started out your childhood as if he did not have to handle such a problem child, understandable as he had been so young when he had been burdened with you. And so mostly the two of you hopped into his van and went on all the trips he had always wanted to take. Maturity and responsibly had eventually caught up with him and, having to deal with the problems of you being the problem child that you are, you are now very well settled down.
You don’t ask for much, or for anything really.
But he drives you up to that stupid farm every summer. At your special request and he doesn’t question it. Though you can tell he WANTS TO. You are both too prideful to speak of the subject. And so you do indeed spend an entire day in an overheated car to get there.
And you dig out your camera, the one you had modified yourself, and you snapped away for a few hours.
And that was that.
Sometimes at night you would prop up the shades onto your forehead and you would use a flashlight to see some of these pictures. And you are continuously DISSAPOINTED as the pictures indicate green as far as the eye can see, but all you can remember is GOLD and beings made out of SKY.