He could not get comfortable. He wasn’t in pain, just slightly uncomfortable. The cushions were soft and the couch was spacious but he kept shifting his weight, unsuccessfully trying to find a spot where he could relax. His neck hurt and he felt fat. His shoes were too tight but the floor was cold and he didn’t want to take them off. The TV was blaring on about some horrific war and his moronic team losing again while the market kept falling and inflation kept rising.
Perhaps it was the stressful, unfulfilling day at work cramping his neck and back into painful spasms. Maybe he had drunk too much coffee trying to motivate himself to be productive during the day? Maybe he’d just snacked on too many nuts and chocolates just now trying to make himself feel good?
Maybe it was just a shit world and he hated being alive?
“Shall we get some takeout?” he asked his wife next to him on the couch, “Maybe a pizza?” As he said it, he regretted saying the words. They really should be trying to eat healthily. And they spent too much money on takeaways. They should really be trying to save money as the cost of everything just kept rising but his salary stayed flat.
His wife barely acknowledged him, she was staring transfixed at the TV. Why was she so interested in the rubbish on that box, he wondered?
“Sure, honey,” she mumbled, “Whatever you want.”
He nodded, wholly unsatisfied at the answer. The moment he started ordering, she would change her mind. He knew this as it always happened.
“OK, Dominos’ has a special on–” he started before she interrupted him.
“Why don’t we pop to the shop and get some healthy stuff? Maybe we cook tonight?”
He nodded, knowing that this was the right thing to do. He too tired to argue. God, he really did not feel like cooking. Or leaving this couch, no matter how uncomfortable it was.
“I’ll drive,” he said, standing up and moving to get his car keys, “Let’s be quick. I have an early day tomorrow. Breakfast meeting across town. God, why do people organize such things? Fucking hate breakfast meetings.”
All he wanted to do was relax. Or get comfortable. He was so tired he could sleep right then and there, but he knew the moment bedtime came he would lie awake, tossing and turning, as he worried about work and bills and this nightmare that he was trapped in…
“And that’s how it works, really,” said the shimmering being of light, “Good ones transcend and bad descend, locked in The Physical.”
There was an audience of light around the shimmering being that was speaking. The light rippled in celestial colors so beautiful the angels themselves would weep if they saw them.
“Yes,” the Shimmering Being said, its voice pure heavenly music that blessed the very air it traveled through, “I’ll take one more question and then we really need to be getting on to the next cosmic lesson.”
“What exactly is The Physical?” asked a swirling essence of pure light, glimmering dreams whirling in its infinite depths, “You keep saying that the bad ones get sent down to The Physical, but what exactly is it and why is it so bad?”
The Shimmering Being glowed. Perhaps it was smiling or laughing but the process was so breathtakingly beautiful that civilizations would have gladly died for the mere privilege to glimpse such a thing.
“Good question,” it began, picking it words carefully, “The Physical is a lower Plane than ours. It is most horrific in torturing those stuck in it. Not only does it fix their forms into heavy, slow, painful dark-material, but it also offers just enough good to make the bad that much worse. There is only one escape from The Physical, but its trap is so complete that its victims almost never escape. They keep clinging to the good while the bad keeps torturing them.”
His phone’s alarm cut through his dreams and, groggily, he flicked the snooze and rolled over. Then he remembered his breakfast meeting.
Fuck, he thought, I really do have to get up. Traffic was going to be horrendous. His wife was asleep next to him and he leaned over the kissed her, mildly jealous that she got to sleep in and slightly horny because they had not had sex in weeks.
Sighing, he rolled out of bed and moved to the bathroom. He had a headache and his neck and back ached. Actually, he felt worse than when he had gone to bed last night. How was that possible? Wasn’t he suppose to feel better after a good night’s sleep?
Fucking bullshit, he thought to himself.
At that point, a strange, fuzzy memory popped into his mind. Had he dreamt about shimmering beings and clouds of infinitely beautiful light? Some cosmic eternity? He could not remember what they had told him? Or had he actually been one of them? It is was agonizingly beautiful and, strangely, his soul ached and longed for whatever it was that he had glimpsed in his dreams…
What the fuck, he thought, as he flushed the toilet and wandered downstairs to make himself a cup of coffee. He felt terrible. He wished he was dead, or, at least, still asleep.
Fucking bullshit, he thought to himself again.
Sighing, he put the kettle on. His dog trotted up, muzzling him gently with her snout. He leaned down and patted her. She gazed up at him, pure love in her eyes, and he smiled.
Life wasn’t that bad. Surely, work would get better and his wife did love him, he was sure. Maybe tonight they would make love? Life wasn’t that bad, he just had to get through this rough patch and things would get better. He was sure of it.