Romance Drama

Did you ever notice how reality just… is? Like, it’s there, for its own sake, perfect and complete just the way it is. Nothing needs to load, there’s no glitches, no lag, no error 404 signs. Reality never calls in sick, it never decides to just ‘not be there’ and stay in bed the whole day, leaving us to wing it on our own. I mean, what would it look like if reality stopped existing? 

Anyway, these are just some of the questions I keep asking myself as I observe cars, buildings and people passing by through the bus window. I’m not listening to enlightening podcasts today, as I usually do when taking the bus, but rather I’m listening to some music. Still, my mind wanders off into contemplation.

Are we experiencing reality fully? Truly

I take a look around the bus, noticing the other passengers. A group of teenagers rambling about some cool things they did. A woman talking on the phone, oblivious to everyone around her, scolding the other person for something they did wrong. Another woman, holding a bag of groceries with one hand while holding the hand of her little girl with the other, telling her to brace each time the bus makes a turn, unless she wants to ‘tumble all over the bus’. An old man seated next to a young woman, his jaw and eyes judgemental of the woman’s browsing on the phone. Two muscular guys conversing loudly while holding the metal polls, arms widely outstretched.

As I look at these people, I can’t help but think that there is something fundamentally wrong in the way we live our lives. It’s like we’re doing all these things, going to all these places and striving to become like this or that person, but we’re never really here

Like reality is. 

We’re always someplace else in our minds. On the phone, talking to ourselves, having imaginary arguments with other people, worrying about tomorrow, longing for yesterday, trying desperately to escape the now.

The bus stops. I let go of the pole and step off. Immediately my face is hit by the heated air, smelling strongly of hot asphalt and sewage. The airconditioning of the bus leaves my skin cool for a brief moment before the hot summer sun burns the protective layer away.

I mind my step as I walk through the crowds of people. They remind me of small pebbles being carried in all sorts of directions by an unseen, but powerful water current. None of them notices me, but somehow they don’t collide with me either. I get the feeling that even in the thickest of crowds I am utterly isolated from everybody. And though it makes me feel awfully lonely, it also makes me feel comfortable. 

No one cares. No one judges, since no one even notices. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. 

I concentrate on the music playing in my ears as I make my way from the bus stop towards the park. I want to sit somewhere under the trees and think in peace and solitude. It’s funny, solitude. As lonely as I feel in the crowd it still manages to bother the hell out of me with all the chatter and the noise from all those mouths. Even with the music in my ears I can still make out people’s conversations, though I try not to focus on them.

I often look at things as I walk. A bird picking through the trash, the beautiful play of light and shadow on the rough surface of pavement and cracked asphalt, a person walking with a face deep in thought, probably like mine. What are they thinking? Are they asking themselves what life is? What reality is? Or are they thinking of food or sex? Perhaps how they’re going to pay the bills? Perhaps who did them wrong that day?

I sigh as the song comes to an end and I have to listen to five seconds of meaningless gossip as I wait for the next song to start. For me, music always helps. It melts away the pain of loneliness, fear and stress of living. It makes life very simple and joyful. Why can’t it always be like that? Why does the music always have to end?

My thinking once again carries me out of the here and now, just like so many times. I forget all about reality and immerse myself in fantasy. The music helps with that too.

I don’t even notice when I reach the park as I’m so preoccupied with naming everyone who ever did me wrong in my mind. As I finally enter the cool shade of the trees, I am reminded of reality again, and I immediately feel ashamed of my silly thoughts. When did I get lost in old hurts? When did I slip from reality? 

And reality is still there. It never left. Even as I left into fantasy, reality stayed right here, waiting patiently for me to come back and notice it again. It seemed to be right where I left it, here. Perfect and whole and just endlessly there.

“Everything all right?”

It takes me a while to realize someone is talking to me. From the crowd of mesmerized zombies, someone notices me.

“Hm, what?”

I pull the headphones out of my ears. It’s a girl.

She smiles. “I’m asking if everything’s all right? You look like someone just walked all over your toys and ate your birthday cake.”

I blink, trying to process the switch from my inner conversation with myself to this stranger’s peculiar remark.

“No, yeah, I’m fine, thanks.” A total lie. 

The girl cocks her head at me. “Which one is it then? ‘No’ or ‘yeah’? And ‘thanks’ for what exactly, I haven’t given you anything.”

I blink again, confused.

“Is something in your eye? You seem to blink a lot.”

“Yeah…” I shake my head, feeling like a complete idiot. “Sorry, you caught me in a bit of an awkward moment. I was talking to myself in my mind.”

Smooth. I regret saying that immediately.

The girl raises one eyebrow, but does not run away screaming what a weirdo I am, as I feared she would. Instead, she nods her head with understanding.

“Then I’m sorry to disturb you,” she looks down, a little embarrassed. “I hate it when others do that to me, interupt my thoughts with stupid questions.”

“It’s okay,” I quickly say, wanting her smile to return for some reason. “You were just being kind. You know, caring. It’s nice to see someone care for a change.”

Her face lights up and my heart begins beating faster. For some reason my mouth wants to match her smile.

“I don’t usually do this,” the girl says. “You know, asking random people if they are okay. But you really seemed distressed so I had to ask.”

“Well, I’m glad you did,” I say, trying to hide my awkwardness. “I was in a whirlwind of negativity back there.”

“Is that so? What were you thinking about?”


“Ah, stupid! There I go again, and I just said that I don’t usually ask strangers questions like that!”

I notice that I find her cute. My body lets out a chuckle.

“Funny thing, I can’t remember what I was thinking just before you spoke to me. But before that, I was wondering about reality. You know, how it’s just there? Know what I mean?”

The girl seemed to ponder my question and I thought she would find it weird. But after a whole minute of silence, she made no excuse to run away. Instead, she slowly nodded.

“I think I do,” she says, looking into my eyes as trying to see what’s behind them. Trying to see if I understood my own question!

“You do?” I ask, feeling a rush of excitement. “I’m not the only one thinking about this stuff then?”

“It seems I’m not the only one either,” she says, her eyes showing excitement as well. “Before I noticed you, I was just thinking how beautiful all the colors are. How the sun’s light falls on the gravel path of the park and how it reflects off the smooth surface of the leaves. It’s like a master would paint the scene and make it an experience for us to be in.”

Her arms move as she talks, passion sparkling. Then, as she notices what she’s doing she laughs nervously.

I nod in excitement, having a hard time believing someone else understands exactly how I feel about reality. I took a good look at the girl. She is tall, but not as tall as me. Her hair is fiery red and falling in soft curls on her exposed shoulders. A light breeze plays with the edges of her skirt and every time she smiles, the corners of her mouth curve like flower petals. She is beautiful. 

“It’s beautiful, reality,” I say, staring at her like an idiot. She must have noticed the look in my eyes as her cheeks blushed and she let out another nervous laugh. 

“I’m surprised someone else understands what I’m even saying,” she says and corrects a rogue strand of hair, tucking it behind her ear.

“Me too,” I say. “I mean, I thought I was the only one. You know, the only one who sees things when he looks.”

The girl nods. “I know what you mean. The last human on Earth, in this crowd of zombies.”


For some time we just stand there and look at each other, taking in both the ‘thereness’ of reality and the relief of not being the only ones with such thoughts. All of a sudden, I don’t feel so alone anymore. And I think neither does she.

“What’s your name?” I ask.

She opens her mouth to answer, then pauses, as if she just got an idea. She smiles. “I would like to be called Now.” 

I blink again. “Now?”

She nods. “Like the present moment. It’s the only time when you can observe the beauty and perfection of reality, don’t you agree?”

I have to smile. “I think it’s a good name. Now.”

“What about you?” she asks. “What would you like to be called?”

I think for a moment. Then the answer pops in my mind and I grin. “Here.”

She smiles. “Here?”

“Yes,” I nod. “Also like in the present moment.”

We both take a moment to appreciate the significance of our new names, each understanding what the other meant with them.

“Here and Now?” she asks.

“Here and Now,” I say.

She steps closer and I do the same, feeling a delightful sensation rise in my stomach. We stand a foot apart. Our hands find each other’s and our eyes meet. 

We stare at one another, at reality that is in front of us. I feel gratitude to have found another person, no longer being the last one alive in this swarm of modern zombies.

And then, we kiss.

And reality just gets a whole lot better.

April 30, 2020 10:25

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Karin Mabry
02:41 May 05, 2020

Omg. That was so freakin lovely. No one writes about the present moment or the completeness of reality. They are some of my fav things! You had me at 'now', lol, am following.


Harken Void
08:06 May 05, 2020

Thanks for the lovely comment Karin, made my morning :)


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