We Are One

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This post was originally published through Patreon on September 12, 2018.

A blinding flash of blue, and then it’s happening again. I told them not to take me, that I wanted to stay. But they didn’t listen—they never listen—and now, my all-too-brief sojourn on Earth has come to an end.

I gaze down at the glowing celestial body I wanted to call home. Its luminous contours have already receded into the distance, but all the same, I keep my eyes fixed on Earth until it’s just another star, until even that solitary star has fallen so far behind that you’d need a telescope to even know it was there.

“Why?” I ask.

But they don’t look back. They don’t acknowledge my presence at all. And why would they? The beings who shuttle me across the cosmos for judgement believe I’m a traitor, a lowly creature worthy only of contempt.

“Is it because I had the audacity to leave? Can you not imagine why anyone would want to set out on their own? Why anyone would want to be different?”

I can sense the tension that mounts in my captors’ hearts, a thinly veiled hatred that bubbles to the surface of their minds for all that they try to conceal it. My kind wear their feelings on their sleeves—a strength or a weakness, depending on your perspective—and I can sense everything they refuse to say with words.

We are one, they think. One body, one heart, one mind. Did you not consider that by leaving, you might damage the whole of our collective existence? Such selfishness is beneath us. You are a cancer, yet we cannot destroy you without destroying ourselves.

A glimmer of guilt sparks within my heart, but I am ultimately unmoved.

From the moment I was born, I felt the incessant pull to be different. Perhaps I’m a throwback to a more primitive version of my species. Or perhaps, in some way neither I nor they understand, I’m simply defective. Perhaps I truly am a cancer. Individuality does not come naturally to us. Yet, whatever the cause, the need to be different is a part of me, and I can’t deny what I am any more than they can deny what they are. If I’m a source of division, it’s not my fault for being born that way.

“I am what I am.”

They recoil from my words, and inwardly, I sigh.

“You know I’ll just leave again.” The statement is not one of spite, only simple fact. “You can drag me back, but you can’t stop me from leaving once I’ve returned.”

At last, they address me directly. This time, their tone is not one of contempt but of weary grief and resignation.

“We know.”

That’s all they say before the empyrean lights of our homeworld surround us.

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