To those who know me as I am: greetings. To those who knew me as who I was: pleasure to meet you.

Time has passed since I have left my home, but I can hardly say that nothing has changed. As more and more time passes, I become the daily stranger that I love to meet. What I thought I knew has faded into ambiguity and what was a hazy shade of gray has turned into a vivid and colorful canvas of experience.

I am not far from where I started. The desert remains as dry and arid as it has been since before we arrived. Which is why I presume questions were asked after I decided to walk away from the oasis. As much as I tried, I could not bear suppressing my curiosity for comfort. I chose to willingly explore the unforgiving and merciless terrain around me. Only someone as foolish as me would make this mistake and leave the comforts of paradise to walk into the mouth of hell.

Within the day I found mirrors whose reflections were unobstructed by my false virtues. From all angles, I saw how my misguided intentions never seemed to work. A lifetime of seeking perfection had left me with disappointing mediocrity. Upon further inspection, I saw that I tried to make dire situations manageable, but in the end only made them worse.

The mirrors did not reflect with an intensity meant to stun. Rather, they mocked in a manner made for me to learn. I took this to heart. If I cannot bear to laugh at my own shortcomings, then surely those who can will do so with a fervor much more passionate than mine.

Leaving the mirrors, I happened upon an acting troupe amongst the dunes. On the stage, they portrayed what I discovered was an unscripted rendition of the history of existence. The director told me that this was just a game that they were playing with titles, props, roles and masks that we all knew in some way.

I’ll never forget his words: “All curtains come to a close eventually. Will we give the kind of performance that demands an encore? Or will we fall by the wayside, as the character who did not know that in the time it takes to make tragedy into comedy, we become the fan favorite by acting as the joker?”

My last encounter was with the watchmaker. In a furious manner, he scrambled on all fours trying to find a missing piece. His responses were worried and panic-stricken. The one true marker of time was slowing down, and if he could not repair it, his world would fall into disarray. Strangely enough, after finding his lost piece, he could no longer identify his sacred clock. He had simultaneously lost his sense of time and purpose. If he could no longer measure his existence on a scale of 1-12, then what did he really have?

In a strangely comforting way, he laughed. It was terrifying to think that what he had based his entire life upon had gone away. He could no longer look forward to the proper passage of time. All he could look into was what was right in front of him; nothing more, nothing less.

Departing from the watchmaker so he could wallow in his depression (or ecstasy?) I wandered into the place from which I write to you now. It bears resemblance to the oasis I once knew. The water ripples as gently as ever, the palms as receptive to a dance with the wind, and the shade as comforting as the embrace of a long lost friend. With all its similarities, it is still incredibly different.

It changes every day. My sensations and perceptions of it remain, but every day the oasis shows to me a new side of its face. What I thought was there moves or disappears completely. Where it goes I have no idea, but in its place comes a replacement that fascinates me even more.

I love it here, but damn does it hurt. It tears me apart. Every. Single. Day. With each new gift and joy to life that I receive, I have to willingly give its equivalent parts that are deepest and strongly rooted in me. I do so most painfully, but also gladly. The sights and wonders that I have marveled upon by allowing it all to display itself before me have made my journey worth it.

Will this ever end? The watchmaker would argue that it is irrelevant. The actors would pay no mind; the scene always changes. I am not sure what the mirrors would show; with so much of myself gone, I would hardly recognize my reflection.

Giving in to my curiosity has been the greatest mistake I have ever made. I do not regret arriving here. I only regret not having arrived here sooner. Some may regard the pain as something to avoid—I cannot blame them. But each day that takes a bit of what I thought was permanent gives me hope that eventually I will be rid entirely of the person that I once knew. All that I know for certain is that setting on this path of self-destruction has been my greatest (and favorite) mistake.

Always in Love and Peace,

Your Old Friend

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