I love you more than this world – Chapter 1, Part 0

Dedicated to the women I have fallen in love with and continue to love. You may never understand how I feel. Despite us being strangers, you have afforded me tremendous patience. All of you mean more than the world to me. I wish you and your spouses the happiness you deserve, and more.

Hadrian Solmnus

Chapter I

Hello Darkness

Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

She stood at the front of the conference room in a fiery crimson flannel sweatshirt and jeans. Her green eyes sparkled beneath the xenon conference room lights, an invigorating and resplendent smile pulled across her raised cheekbones exposing her straight, sparkling teeth.

Krista’s hair was cut short into a tomboy haircut. She wore zirconium earrings that gleamed magnificently in the white light and appeared several orders of magnitude more valuable than their bargain bin prices would have otherwise indicated. In a way, her earrings captured the essence of her soul: plain, stunning, and beautiful.

That’s how Allan would have described her at least. The energy with which she carried herself as she began the presentation was infectious. He found all the worries of his life, career, and solitude melting away before the warmth of this diva who had appeared before him from out of nowhere, upfront and center stage. He tried to look away from her, feeling the familiar way her beauty was tugging at his hapless heart strings, orchestrating a symphony of sentiments that he knew all-too-well marked the foundations of infatuation: love that was misunderstood by people and trampled by the callous machinations of human society.

Instead, he tried to engage himself with small talk with the two other engineers sitting on either side of him. Both were front-end JavaScript engineers, one of them was named Jessica, the other Jeff. Jeff worked at a small firm called Scales of Progress which did contracting for government organization focused on data analytics and visualizations. Jessica, meanwhile, worked as a UI engineer for another small firm that focused mostly on client work for small and medium-sized businesses in the region. Compared to them, Allan did more backend work. He developed industrial software automation for manufacturing.

“I work at a company called KMS Squared,” Allan told Jeff and Jessica. “It’s located across the street from the Rochester Institute of Technology. We manufacture high-energy RF power generators that power plasma chambers for semiconductor manufacturing.”

Allan said all of these things in a simple, matter-of-fact way. In his mind, he felt an admixture of two separate emotions: pride for his job and his position, for his intelligence as an engineer and his contributions to an industry at the cutting edge of science and manufacturing, and shyness that he might come off as show-offish, which was not his intent. Through his interactions with other people, Allan knew he had a profound level of intellect that surpassed the vast majority of humans he dealt with. He did not try and impose this fact on them, and instead, tried to make them comfortable by acting stupid and silly. He realized most people were small and intolerant; narrow-minded creatures who could not understand his emotions and his brilliance. Allan truly lived in a separate world from the rest of humanity, even as he walked the same earth as them.

In his heart, he felt no condescension towards other people. In much the same way that he watched ants and insects, creatures much less than him, he watched people. They were curious, distant, miniscule. Their behaviors did not make sense to him. In similitude, the ants could not comprehend the gargantuan humans who existed in a world so much beyond theirs. The analogy extended to humans, who like the ants looking up at people, could not fathom the spirit of Allan.

Allan was like the ocean, vast in its depths, profoundly powerful, strong, sweeping. He could both destroy and create, in torrential tsunamis and peaceful waves. Like the ocean and the Earth, Allan was himself beholden to forces far greater than he: the gravity of the sun and solar system, the supermassive black holes that orchestrated the galaxy, and the awe-inspiring force of the Lord and Creator of the Universe, Allah, the almighty. Indeed, to Allah, Allan was but a pawn, a mere pebble if not less, like a speck of sand on a beach. In this cosmic web and hierarchy, Allan loved his Lord more than life.

Certainly, he loved God more than any woman. They could never fathom this, especially those who called God a fictitious entity of make-believe. People would ridicule an empirical man of science like Allan for subscribing to such a fairy-tale, to this man in the sky and His Biblical and Quranic verses. Such people were foolhardy and limited of understanding. They could do nothing to impede the strength of a being as incredible as Allah, and of God’s servant, Allan.

“Our power generators rely a realtime embedded system to generate the small-signal digital waveform using an FPGA and DSP. This waveform is then channeled through power amplifiers into the kilowatt ranges to produce the signal that drives the plasma chamber. Because of complex impedance, electromagnetic power can be reflected through the transmission medium back towards the generator… so our devices monitor the complex impedance and tweak the frequency of the output in realtime to perform impedance matching to ensure maximum power throughput and minimize reflection.

“Me, I’m the software QA engineer for these generators. I write the automation and infrastructure to test our power generators and ensure they’re behaving according to spec for our clients.” Allan finished with a smile.

“I mostly write all my automation in Python. Lovely language,” he gestured to his screen, at the code he’d been working on quietly before the seminar began.

Allan was attending this meetup at the advice of his therapist who had encouraged him to get out into the world to deal with his depression and anxiety. Now on the tail end of his twenties and fast approaching the big third decade of his life on this earth, he was the epitome of the saying that money didn’t buy happiness.

***

Allan had attempted to write novels in the past. They turned out to be too meandering, and he wasn’t sure who he was writing for. There was no central plot, conflict, or anything resembling the archetype of a good story. As a result, his novel attempts were little more than wayward fantasies, a boy lost in his daydreams, so to speak. He wrote about immortals, one immortal in particular, “Serrellanos Arclaud” whose name was a portmanteau of his immortal parent’s names: Serrathanos and Estelle Arclaud.

Allan dreamed that Serrathanos and Estelle conceived of Serrellanos, the first true immortal, by creating their own splinter dimension that existed coaxially to the primary universe’s timeline. Therein, time flowed differently, but had effects upon the real world.

It was Allan’s real-life parents, whose relationship had always been terrible, that Allan wanted to mend in this fantasy. He wished more than anything else that his parents could have been in love with each other as God intended, rather than bickering constantly over the smallest and most impertinent things.

Allan detested his mother in real life for her nature. Dayraksha was a lazy, jealous, material person who counted pennies and spied on her husband, never giving him a moment of respite or solace. She never tried to support him, instead, she lay in bed playing games on facebook and getting worked up over things her husband should or should not have posted. Yet his mother arrogantly believed she had every right to be such a worthless and despicable character. Except for Kesha, the youngest sister who had gotten her PhD and settled down to live her own life in California, the rest of Allan’s mother’s side of the family were leeches that lived off the wealth of their father, Allan’s grandfather, believing they were doing right and just in the world, even as they left their families to suffer.

Dayraksha’s brother Khafka, Allan’s uncle, and the only son to the Darque family, was a fat stupid who pretended to know-it-all; he acted smart, but just walked about the house all day doing nothing, lost in his own thoughts, listening to shitty pop music. He didn’t contribute to anything; if anything, he made life more difficult. He used his inheritance to go on vacations and see to his needs in life, but he never once conceived of holding a steady job. Instead, he saw work as being menial and beneath him. As a result, his ego inflated as his cloud nine puffed along to nowhere.

From his father’s side of the family, Allan had plenty of successful uncles who had been successful by working hard in life; one of them was a banker and broker in Australia, another, a regional vice president overseeing banking operations in south Asia, another owned a travel agency and manufactured clothing and textiles.

Allan’s mother, stupidly jealous, saw it naturally fit to convince herself of a contorted perspective of all these uncles as thieves and terrible people. She would fume through the house about the things those uncles had done or said to her, most likely taken out of context, decades ago. She claimed her husband was more interested in the spouses of his brothers than his own spouse. She was right in this regard: everyone else was certainly living a more interesting life than the twisted and broken Dayraksha.

Dayraksha was the evil that had been asphyxiating the Darque family for years. She acted like a desiccated husk, “oh your father used me to birth you children, and this is what I get.”

Dayraksha, quite simply, had no notion of how to live life, or what made life beautiful. The only things she cared about were taking pictures to show how beautiful she was as she posed in a dress she’d spent three or more hours putting on. Posting these pictures to facebook and getting likes accounted for her sense of fulfillment in life.

In contrast, Allan had deleted his facebook account numerous times, recreating it only to stay in contact with those people he deemed pivotal in his life. He did not care to share his life with the world, as he was sure the world did not care much for the details of his individual life either. Allan was neither pretty nor famous, he did not have many friends, and he did not care to modify his lifestyle in an attempt to take more photos and post to facebook and instagram and twitter. Instead, his concept of life derived from what he valued most: his hobbies.

Allan loved writing fiction & poetry, playing electric guitar, and playing fighting video games. He’d often wanted to become a novelist or game developer running his own company, but had not yet published his own book nor begun work on his own game. He had an entrepreneurial spirit about him when it came to certain projects, a gung-ho “get-it-done” mentality that made him perfectly suited for indie ventures. But alas, for all of Allan’s skill and passion, work and life had a way of sucking up all his time and energy and leaving him with barely enough to keep on working on his hobbies outside of work.

A self-taught programmer, he had made his career by paying attention to the details and caring about the final product. For Allan, code was more than just a means to a paycheck. For him, code reflected his very soul.

It was painful for Allan to have to apply his passion for programming to a job he did not care much for, whilst his game development career floundered. This at heart contributed to his depression and anxiety. But it was not the only seed for his maladies, as loneliness also haunted poor Allan. He had no girlfriend. Nearly thirty and still a virgin, he looked helplessly as all the incredible and beautiful women around him were scooped up by other men.

He didn’t want much. Mostly, he wanted to be able to look into someone’s eyes and someone’s face and be comforted. His thoughts were not perverse. It was the harrowed longing of an artist or songbird looking upon the most beautiful flower. It was the desire to hold snowflakes in the palm of one’s hand, knowing such flakes would melt instantly. Despite the seeming possibility of Allan’s deepest wishes being granted, of him finding companionship on this plane of existence, he held onto life in the ultimate struggle for his own fate and existence. This was his jihad, though few could understand.

Whether other men were more deserving of women than he, Allan could not say. What was it that Allan lacked, if anything? He long pondered upon this quandary only to draw blanks. Perhaps he lacked something, perhaps he did not. Allah knew best, for Allah gave and took and was a mercy for all mankind. Allan knew it was not in his role to make such judgements as to who was worthy of receiving Allah’s blessings. Indeed, while Allan was alone, he was incredibly blessed in countless other ways, and could not find it in his heart to complain. Allah was infinitely kind, all-knowing.

And thusly, Allan took upon himself the tragic role of loving women from afar, unable to do much save gaze upon them longingly. In consequence, his capacity for love grew, even as his heart hardened into a diamond about a quavering tenderness.

***

Serrellanos stood at the edge of a precipice in a crystal cavern. From all around, the rocks emanated a blue glow that lit up the cavern so that everything was visible like in the faint hours of twilight. Deep in the crevasse below could be heard rushing waters.

He continued to stand there, peering into the inky black depths that awaited him below. It was not fear that gripped him. As an Immortal, he knew he would survive such a fall. It was not uncertainty. Rather, it was a familiar gnawing, a clawing. A vacuous sensation in his heart where memories lurked.

In the crevasse, he heard the laughter of women he knew, women he had once loved. Krista, with her sparkling green eyes and hair cut short, her laughter was audible most of all. Serrellanos knew not what it meant. His tired mind played tricks on him, perhaps. He wished it would end, this sensation of loving a person he hardly knew, but nothing could silence his emotions.

A sigh escaped his lips, but he did not move. Then, he stepped forward and fell.

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