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“Okay…” Harold is beginning to feel that something is not right. His mind is a bin of fuzz and he tries to climb out. “Okay…What’s up?”
“John Lennon knew the truth, man: I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.”
“Glenn, I’m too tired. He was also a walrus. What’re you talking about?”
“It was not your fault. It was just my path.”
Something is noisy, like rustling fabric in Harold’s ears. “I can’t hear you.”
“Yes you can, I’m shouting in your face! Listen!” Glenn leans even closer, close like when they were boys and it was after dinner and Glenn would hold Harold down on the ground and breathe horrible garlic-breath into his nose.
Now Glenn’s soft blue eyes and his mouth surrounded by downy young-man’s whiskers fill Harold’s vision and he’s not shouting at all. His voice is stern but quiet and suddenly very, very clear.
“Harry, I forgive you. That means you forgive yourself. That means you can wake the fuck up!”
Harold wants so, so much to make his big brother proud and happy. He feels a great cry wrench itself up from his guts. “I am, Glenn, I am awake!”
He is sitting up in bed, but nobody is in the room, and there is an icy fire searing through his chest, a buzzsaw slicing him in half. A nurse bustles in as Harold slides down onto the pillow and she babbles cheery gibberish as he slips back into a fathomless, gray absence.
Later, in secret, Harold will remember, and hold to, every word. But for this timeless moment, he drifts in perfect molecular unity, distributed across the interstellar distances between quantum particles, where logical mind has no purchase. Right now, Harold does not even know that his wounds are on the mend; that he has already begun to live by an all-new truth. He is, and was always, whole.
Brent Robison’s “A Partial Catalog of Harold’s Major and Minor Epiphanies” was chosen by juror Abigail Thomas for honorable mention in our 2007 Literary Supplement short story contest.