I come from Fluke where sound no longer exists. Some time ago, a group called ‘The Noise’ tried to recoup sound but epic failure resonated. ‘The Noise’ was exterminated shortly afterward and extricated from the nation’s memory. I was only thirty years old and at that age, memory was not yet monitored. Thirty here is equivalent to three in nearby earth. We, at Fluke, like to be singular.
My grandmother sympathizes with the fact that I live without sound. She tends to forget that I never experienced sound therefore I am not living without it. This metaphysical existence of something that cannot be experienced is deceptive.
I did experience sound. We all did. Only once. We were told not to talk about it. So we never did. Anyway no one could hear this other than the expanding matter in my dominant hemisphere.
Being a Flukian, you are compelled to physically attend two ceremonies: the Genesis and the Expiry, and to spiritually attend the Resumption. Attending Genesis is no sweat. The moment you are conceived you find yourself in the Genesis ceremony. No need for dressing up. Everybody shows up naked.
I recall her was there and she was extravagantly beautiful. Her is no longer a Flukian. She has disappeared six hundred days ago in the wilderness. The moment you leave Fluke there is no way to return. I will always remember her. She used to tell me ‘I want to expire elsewhere where my ancestors breathe.’ I never really understood what she meant but to keep my ignorance in disguise I never asked.
In Flukian lexicon, there are only one hundred and fifty one words that can be used in writing. Any alternative use of language is considered an acute infringement. No one really minds this law cause no one really speaks around here. During Genesis, the Chief whispers in your right ear one hundred words and fifty-one in your left. This technique determines your everlasting left and right channeling. That’s the once that never repeats except in your own head.
Now that I turned fifty, I was assigned a new real job, bus driving, inevitably a much more thrilling job than head counting. It was action-packed. I was in charge of the dwelling zone route that carried construction workers to the mountaintop and down sixty three times a day.
There was a Flukian who frequently rode up on the thirty-second round and down on the sixty-first. He had an airborne attitude. One day, he was shaking his head up and down to a rhythm playing in his own head. Suddenly, he stood up and shouted ‘Self’. ‘Self’ is a left ear word to be exact. I stopped the bus. He continued, ‘Self…Sound’. Everybody stepped out and stood traumatically scrutinizing the man. ‘Self… Sound. Self… Sound.’ I could see his anger escalating uncontrollably through my rearview mirror. His gaze was fixed at the ceiling while shouting and stamping his feet psychedelically. The crisis went on for five minutes until two Flukian officials sprang swiftly inside the bus.
That same day I heard that someone’s Expiry was taking place in the public square. Besides one’s expiry, you’re not obligated to attend anyone’s but it seems like a recreational activity for most Flukians. I was curious to be there.
I kept an eye on the Flukian male. He seemed serene. His skin was luminous. His eyes were glowing. He was alive. I kept waiting for him to say a word, but he was immersed in a peculiar silence. I noticed him scanning the indefinite space; the puzzled faces and the crystal sky while moving his eyes in a consistent flow just like water, levitated of its heaviness. ‘Be a Self’, he said. He looked straight into my soul. ‘Be a Self’.
I threw an impulsive glance around me. I immediately realized that we were inaudible. The indefinite space embraced only the two of us. The Flukian male started to gradually expire. I thought about her. I tried to retrieve her face from my memory. I felt impaired as though her was extricated from me just like Sound before Genesis.
The Flukian was expiring yet fixing his maverick gaze on me. I could see my reflection crystallizing in his pupils. The more he expired the more my self-reflection magnified. Only then, I realized I was attending my own Resumption.