[The Final Illusion, 831 words, Genre: Experimental]
* Image courtesy of Dirk de Bruyn
Alex sat there with Mr. Crawford. Alex was a local attorney who focused on the final wishes of the deceased and Mr. Crawford had just finished his last will and testament. Like all of Alex’s clients, they would usually deliver a reflection of their life, Mr. Crawford was no exception. Yet, as Alex would hear, Mr. Crawford’s reflections were not the standard that had been delivered to him over and over again through the years of his work.
“There is something about death that fascinates me,” Mr. Crawford began, “I am not morbidly attracted to it like some, however, my time here on this planet has made me come to realise a few things. Mainly that everything I was once brought up to believe is an illusion. As a child and growing into an adult, I witnessed and was subjected to somethings that helped me realise the first illusion of the world. That being innocence. My innocence was taken from me first and I started to see the world in a much darker shade of grey than others. Innocence does not exist as I once thought, nor does it belong in this world. That was the unveiling of the first illusion and like with all great illusions, once unveiled, my world would never be the same. I saw that in some respects innocence had its place, but was never the same as I once thought it was. Instead innocence had been just another word for ignorance. That realisation took something away from me. But, I would say, at least I have my friends. My friends will help get me through this world in which innocence has no place. What a fool I was! As I grew into a man, friends entered and exited my life. I suppose in one way friends do exist. But friends are caught up in living their own dreams and uncovering the illusions for themselves, so much so, that they cannot always be there to assist you in achieving your own journey. The illusion of what a friend meant, or what I understood a friend was, was unveiled. Friends still exist in some respect, but will never be the same as I once thought they were. I grew up and found a partner, she was not the first, but I had a realistic understanding of the worthwhile attributes I desired in a partner by then and found one. Together we raised a family. And I said to myself, ah, now family, family is something that I can live for. Things went well. We raised our children, a boy and a girl. Then after they had grown up and flown from the nest my partner served me with the divorce papers. The problems had always been there, but without the children there was no distraction and all those old problems boiled to the top. The family that I had lived for being just another illusion and it was torn apart just like with all the others. And once again, I thought, the family does exist, it just doesn’t exist in the way I once thought. That illusion was shattered so I decided to bury myself in my work. I thought; work, work, work, that has to be it, that has to be the only thing left in my life that makes any sense anymore. I admit it, I am a fool for thinking such things. I buried myself and busied myself with my work and my own dreams and career ambitions. I was a television personality who filled a particular niche in the entertainment industry for an older male and became quite successful. There was a point there that every woman wanted me and every man wanted to be me. But the fame and success wavered and I was no longer the subject of attention. The career and work that I buried myself was an illusion too, I retired shortly after that, completely distraught and disillusioned. I suppose it is, as with all of these illusions that I came to realise. They were all real at some point for me. Real enough for me to dedicate my life to anyway. But there is a magician working behind the scenes and his name is time. And slowly he will reveal the illusion of the world to you. At this point, there’s only one illusion left. That of life, existence itself. The thing that I have come to realise about these illusions is that in one form or another, they exist, but not as I once thought. So that is where all this speculation comes in about the afterlife and whatnot. I know enough to know that life is some sort of illusion, but what sort of illusion is it?”
Alex spoke without thinking, “Probably we just disappear into nothing and don’t exist at all.”
Mr. Crawford looked at Alex before replying, “Thanks a lot arsehole, you really know how to sap away the mystery out of the magician’s trick.”