The In Between

I remember the first time I stepped inside a wall.

I walked by the ringing phone. It had been ringing non-stop. My mom asked me who it was and I said, “I've quit bothering to find out.” I took the steps to the attic and peered out the small window. I saw a black van pull up out front and a team of agents jump out. I knew they were here for me. I heard them entering the house and calling out for me. I heard my mom scream for just a moment. The attic was bare, but there was a tall mirror on the wall. I stood in front of it and put my hands on it, pushing with all my might. It was like a wall of gelatin or mud. It was thick and resisted me but slowly deformed around my arms. With constant pressure, I kept moving forward, not allowing it to force me back. I pushed all the way through the mirror and stepped inside the wall. A great pressure was released as the last part of my body slipped in and I felt the mirror and the wall bounce back into their original shape and consistency. The other side was darker than the room I'd left and the colors were muted. The entire wall was transparent to me. I could see the whole attic. But I could see the agents rush in with guns drawn. I saw them search for me. I saw them look into the mirror. But, they didn’t find me. I was on the other side.

I remember passing through a wall in slow motion, my eyes open. I could see the wood and metal and sheet-rock. I could see what was inside of it. I could see the elements. The cells, the molecules, the atoms. It was like being inside a fun house. Sizes and distances seemed to shift and deform. I could feel time pausing, stretching out. My mind tried to understand what was happening. But there was so much information. Too much information. I reached my arms out and felt the touch the past on one side and future on the other. I saw them stretch to impossible lengths. Vibrating into dimensions that I do not have names for. I could see what was, what may have been, what will be, and what may be. I could touch them and tweak them and turn them in my hands. But it was too much. We are meant to pass through this place. Not dwell here. I close my eyes and pass through the other side of the wall.

I learned to step into walls backwards, back first, every time. It's easier on the old human mind. I found I could tolerate staying there if I focused on where I'd been instead of where I wanted to go. The past is easy to see as a single path, the path you remember. Staring into the future with all its possibilities can drive one mad. The space between walls is a liminal space in the purest sense. There is the physical space, with the components used to build it. And there is the space beneath all flat surfaces, under every plane, behind every reflection. A metaphor. That was where I found The In Between. Where I met them. Those who chose to stay. I was welcomed to The In Between. The music was generic muzak. The drinks were watered down. The appetizers were bland, even too bland for me. The people were dull and unambitious. We are meant to pass through this place. Not dwell here.

Once, I moved without moving. I shifted my awareness. I found myself in a windowless room. No doors either. I saw a potted plant and observed a drop of water on one of the leaves. My vision seemed to zoom into the droplet. I saw its reflection. It was reflecting the entire universe. Like looking at a black hole curving light. I saw everything in that drop of water. I saw the back wall of the room as a line, like a tiger's eye, and, on one side, was the room I was in, and on the other was everything else. For a moment, I shifted myself perpendicular to normal space. For a moment, I perceived a higher dimension. And when I shifted my perception back down, I did so on the other side of that line. I was outside of the closed room. I was standing on the other side of the wall. I hadn't moved in the normal sense. I hadn't walked in any of the normal directions on an XYZ access. I hadn't simply waited years for the room to decay and moved through time. I'd seen a direction that has no name and moved through it without thinking. Without knowing how. And then, I was outside.

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