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chapter(the_first)

chapter(the_first)

Jesse Patrick Bohanan

...of Heaven is a Parallel Universe.

There was once a girl who grew into a boy in its mother's womb. Its genitalia dropped, and it became a she no longer, but a he. In another, parallel Earth, this did not happen. In fact, in another, parallel Earth, this consciousness was never conceived—nor were the consciousness' parents, nor their parents again. An endless cycle, yielding up to nothingness absolute.

For what is black but the absence of color? And what is white but the presence of all colors? History, then, is truly black and white: Black at one extreme, where consciousness has never emerged; and white at the other, where consciousness has been conceived in its totality. But the black and the white converge, as all things do, and whether they move toward this convergence or away from it is the goal of all rational consciousnesses to discover. (Not that all consciousnesses are rational. But for now, let us focus on the ones that are.)

The endless cycle of light and dark, played out upon quantum mechanical and relativistic theory, exists forevermore, until one force is brought into such great opposition with the other that the scale is tipped, and down, down, falls all semblance of perceivable reality, whereas the reality in and of itself remains unchanged. In absence, presence must in time arise; and in presence, so too must absence grow. So it is with the conscious race of beings known as humans, then: In absence, presence; in presence, absence.

In time is formed the cessation of measurement, the cessation of time itself, for without observers, no time can exist. Time is merely a hologram projected by three-dimensional minds of a fourth dimension that they cannot directly perceive. As humankind evolves and grows into something more, so will the mind evolve into the fourth dimension and project a five-dimensional hologram.

Things were simple in the presence of this new consciousness, though. No thoughts were had of such physical and metaphysical factors. "It's a boy!" read all the greeting cards. Yes, things were undeniably simple. But as with all things simple, it grew in complexity, almost as if in protestation of its inherent simplicity: evolution, in and of itself.

A day flew past, uneventful save for the birth itself, which was, I suppose, quite an event. It has been related to me, anecdotally, that the boy urinated all over the CRNP overseeing the birthing, immediately upon his release from the confines of his mother's womb—a comical event for the family, to be sure, if perhaps an awkward one.

There is another universe, parallel to this one, in which this didn't happen in the first place. However, perception of the space-time continuum as linear due to a true perception of not time, but space alone, allows humankind to remain oblivious to such factors. It, humankind that is, marches ever onward toward either eternal bliss or eternal suffering, depending only upon the smallest incident—the flip of a coin, perhaps.

Oh, did I mention he (the boy, the baby, the former female) had some… complications during the pregnancy? And the birth? And the life? No, of course I didn't. Looking over the manuscript here, I can see that I left that part out. At least, insofar as I left out the fact that individual consciousnesses can be complicated.

For you see, the individual consciousness is a universe unto itself. It grows in form and stature, or shrinks to nothingness, all depending on its own perceptive capabilities and utilizations of said capabilities.

Well, no matter. I'll relate the story of the boy's life to you now. No sense going back from whence we came, even if we are referring to such an action in the metaphorical sense. (In the literal sense it would be quite impossible for one to be "born again," at least in this particular era and perceived parallel.) Anywho, it seems most logical to at least remark on the pregnancy.

It was complicated—the pregnancy, not the boy, although the boy became complicated over time—and it was dreadful. (Another anecdote: It has been related to me that the birth itself was equivalent to "shitting a pumpkin," an act I can scarcely conceive of attempting.) The mother, Rebecca we'll call her, was in constant pain throughout the time of childbearing. Nausea, vomiting, headaches—you name a symptom common in complicated pregnancies, she likely had it. But Rebecca was tough. She wouldn't go down without a fight. And that was almost her downfall.

You see, when a woman gets pregnant, has severe symptomatology, and fails to report the aforementioned to her friendly neighborhood OB/GYN, things tend to go horribly wrong—as they did in this case.

The nausea, headaches, and vomiting didn't subside over time. They only became worse. And as they worsened, Rebecca's resolve to not see the doctor strengthened. She was utterly convinced that conventional medicine would only make matters worse. So when she passed out while visiting her sister Martha's apartment, the ambulance was almost too late. Almost, but not quite. It was a specific feat of observation, on Martha's part, that saved the day, or at least the child's life and consciousness.

Martha was a practical woman—practical in the sense that she refused to have sex with, let alone marry, any man on the face of the planet—at least not until she received a sign from God, a metaphysical being that she took to be the penultimate observer. That was Martha's version of practicality. "Observe not for thyself, lest thyself in turn be observed" (Exodus 20.4 KJV, paraphrased). This came in handy when she was reprimanding Rebecca for being the terrible sinner she was, what with having a child out of wedlock and all: Without having observed Rebecca's discomfort, how could she possibly have anything positive to say about one who whined so much?

Martha was not cold-hearted. She merely spoke the truth, or at least her observably deluded version of it. She was honest to a fault, although she didn't see her own faultiness. It's irrelevant anyway. Martha committed suicide about two years after the boy's birth. She always did say she would go out in a flash, but relatives always pictured something a bit more… glorious. Her suicide note consisted of but one phrase: "I'm going to hell." One more hash mark on the "eternal suffering" side of the page then, eh?

But I'm getting off track. If Martha ever did anything of worth in her life, it was her call to 911 that brought the ambulance to her apartment's doorstep. She had observed Rebecca's suffering, despite herself and her religion. Of course, she probably did more of worth than just that, but that was far and away the most important thing, at least in my reckoning.

Rebecca was only seven months pregnant, but she was going into labor. Oh, and did I mention she fainted in Martha's apartment? Yes, yes I did, but I didn't give you a reason for it. Well now you know: She passed out from the sudden, intense pain of her contractions.

And oh, what contractions they were! Martha, in all her years of prudish nosiness, had never once seen or heard anything like what she saw and heard of Rebecca, most likely because Martha had never once stopped to truly perceive anything at all.
The first ripples and spasms of pain washed over Rebecca in a pulsation of terrifying proportions. "The baby!" Rebecca cried. "The baby is coming!"

By Martha's reckoning they still had quite some time to wait for a savior to be born again, and Rebecca's was not immaculate conception. What to do, then? Help a poor sinner such as her sister? She was still debating when Rebecca's water broke. Oh shit, thought Martha. I suppose helping a sinner in exchange for the potential preservation of a saint is a worthy enough cause when examined from the Principle of Utility. (Actually, Martha had no idea what the Principle of Utility was, but if she had, she likely would have expressed such a thought. I hope.)

Martha sprang into action, grabbing the cordless phone off of the bedside stand. (Yes, in this age where cellular smartphones were the normality of form, Martha still paid for a bloody landline.) She dialed 911, said a few magic words over the line, such as "My sister is about to kill herself and her baby!" and prayed for a response from both God and first responders.

The police broke into the scene first, as what Martha had described did not bode well for child safety laws. When they realized what was actually occurring, and that Martha had completely exceeded her minute capacity for verbal language and was cowering on the floor in terror of the K9 unit, they called in the medics for both women.

The ride to the hospital was uneventful only for Martha, who had passed out cold and slammed her head into the floor. She was concussed, but only just enough to damage a few synaptic fibers—perhaps the fibers key in keeping her from committing suicide. But such is life when one observes none of the potentialities of fate.

Rebecca continued spasming in ecstatic pain, in growing intensity. There was a sort of perverse pleasure she felt in giving birth. The pleasure was perverse only insofar as the societal norm was concerned—in reality, the logic behind enjoying the birth of a new potentiality is readily apparent, especially when such a birth is occurring through one's vaginal tract. Yes, Rebecca always had enjoyed sexual intercourse with men of… girth… but none quite so well-endowed as Xartha's banana-shaped head.

There was something special about Xartha's head-shape—special for better or worse. It was, indubitably, shaped in an oblong manner, likely due to the fact that he was the result of a medically induced birthing process taking place two full months before his expected date of arrival. Xartha—for that was the boy's given name—was a happy child.

There was morning and there was evening the first day. And the universe saw that it was within expected parameters for a particular potentiality and pronounced Xartha's birth to be "acceptable."