The Other Side
Written by: Leni Sosa
All he had to do was cross.
One step and he was on the Other Side.
He had tried to look through the gateway into the other dimension to the west.
He thought he could see it all – the black mountains and little structures and insect-like creatures his people called Roans.
But the old man had just arrived from the Other Side and said his vision would fail him.
“You think you see, but you don’t. You must cross to see it. Here, you will only see with the eyes you have today – eyes that have never crossed.”
The old man was thought to be tainted – an untouchable – but the boy did not understand why everyone disliked him.
The boy remembered the old man had always been kind long before he left and became old. Now the man seemed to take no notice of how others felt about him.
“My parents told me to never cross – that world is filthy and the people are disposable.”
“It’s a choice. Your choice … make it … but make sure it is you that chooses.”, said the man. “If you cross, you will see the magnitude of the lie and truth, but they will all abandon you. The others … they will never see. They prefer blissful ignorance. They see themselves as superior, but their arrogance limits their sight. If you stay you will never know discomfort or pain, but you will never know anything but this illusion. There is a cost, of course. There’s always something one must leave behind to grow.”
“Why did you come back?”
“To cross to the North. There are green shimmering lights in the skies, I am told. I have to see them. This place may not let me cross again and I may never be able to return west, but I must see it for myself. Maybe I will build a boat in the North if I really want to return west and wish to take the risk.”
“What is a boat?”
“You will know if you cross, and if you don’t, you need not know. It will only leave you with a yearning bigger than you’ve ever known.”
The boy never stopped wondering. The years went on and he turned into a young man. He never really quite believed what they had told him, and he often thought of the old man, who had more lines on his face than any he had seen before.
One night, after he was initiated into manhood and told that he needed to start looking for a wife, he found himself standing at the gateway.
He had explored every crevice of his world and never met a girl who understood him or his longing for more than what they knew.
Filled with exhilarating fear, he took one single step into the Other Side.
One single step is all it took.
The mountains were the darkest green and the skies were purple, creating a glow onto everything below. He heard voices booming, patterns of sounds filling the air and the creatures were all moving together. It was intoxicating and he found his feet light as feathers, moving towards the sound.
The closer he got the clearer his sight became, and he was perplexed to find human faces that seemed to be expecting him.