This Will Really Help Him
An installation is being set up in a large gallery. People mill about outside, waiting for it to be ready.
I have been asked to test the installation. I enter the white cavernous room with a very high ceiling, sit on the cement floor and wait for the show or experience to begin.
For a moment nothing happens. Then, something shifts. At first, it seems to be thunder. Then a wave of pixelated water, digitally produced, washes down in front of me. My eyeballs—which feel separately aware from my mind—determine that it is not actual water. Although it falls in a torrent, I am able to perceive every tiny moment as if it were happening slowly.
The second after I register that I am able to do this, it turns to real water and slams down onto me. I know that if I can stay conscious as this is happening it will be an awakening or at the very least, a moment of knowing the true nature of awareness. My utter joy as I stay present and aware for that one millisecond before and as it slams into me is perfectly pure and complete.
Then, I merge with the water and the obliteration. There is no directed or central self. I am complete awakeness or deadness. I do not exist. It is bliss.
At the precise moment the water slams into me I think, “This will really help him.”
After the test, I leave the installation and walk down the hallway behind two people I recognize. It takes me a minute to understand that it is Reggie Ray and Emily Bower, softly chatting. They enter a small, shitty kitchen and discuss something they do not want me to hear over a filthy drip coffee maker from the 80s. They wear blue and white striped shirts and ill-fitting khaki pants.
They know that I am there but pretend I’m not in the hopes that I will go away. They do not want me to hear whatever it is they are discussing.