Aris sat down with his friends right in the thick of a debate. Aris always loved debates, this one however was not a topic he particularly thought of. Are we just what society wants us to be or is it all genetic? He scratched his head in deep thought and for once didn’t hop in to these regular debates his friends seemed to have. Aris’s freckles were peppered across his face, concentrating a little on his pug-like nose, complementing his hazelnut eyes that sat under his messy eyebrows.
Later that day Aris stretched his lanky body across his bed. His white skin glowed strangely paler than usual in the moonlight.. He couldn’t get the debate from earlier out of his clustered mind to allow his eyes to rest a couple of hours before the next days exhaustions. He thought about how similar he is to his parents and if genetics has a role in that or was he like that because he chose to be such?
Aris got up earlier than he had to, as if last nights horrible ‘rest’ wasn’t enough to ruin a day that hasn’t even begun yet. He struggled to pull up his skinny jeans, tripping onto his bed as he tried to put his clumsy legs inside. A large sweater rested on his shoulders and almost reached his knees. To go with his oversized clothes, Aris put on his worn-out nikes and forgetfully left the shoelaces untied. He shuffled lazily downstairs into the kitchen and started spreading Nutella onto some left over toast. Aris watched as his mother walked in and did the exact same. It got him wondering again- did he like Nutella because his mum liked Nutella or is Nutella actually just he best thing in the world and it’s completely normal to like it?
Aris squinted his eyes as he walked out of his house- it was a bright, sunny day but cold winds reminded him that winter was coming. He lived in a pretty decent neighbourhood, kind of monotonous but hey, since when did anything ever appeal to teenagers? A couple of blocks down, there was the neighbourhood park which Aris would have to walk through to get to town if he was going to meet Eddy. Aris noticed how the park never seemed to age although there were telling signs of Autumn-bronze leaves scattered across the grass, exposing the tress. It was a little early but already there was a father and son playing baseball or at least going through some drills. Aris realised he had some time to spare and decided to watch them. The father was stern and strict, the boy quite the opposite and looked as fragile as the leaves on the trees.
The task seemed pretty simple but the child was struggling. His father tossed a ball and all the boy had to do was hit it as hard and far as possible. Aris observed as the child continued to disappoint his father and his baseball bat. He was completely engrossed in the situation now, almost as if it were personal. The child started to shake from the pressure and was on the brink of caving in. “Don’t give up, don’t give up” repeatedly crossed Aris’ thoughts. That phrase sounded awfully familiar, Aris realised.
Shuddering, Aris put his hands in his pockets and walked away in haste realising he was a little late. His reputation already exceeded expectations and he didn’t need to help add more to it. Aris’ mind was a mess now; the debate still fresh in his mind and now that strange feeling from the park bullied it’s way through. They continued to clumsily dance about in his mind until Aris was snapped backed into reality after walking into the wrong shop. “I need to stop day dreaming before I end up in another town”, he thought.
As he entered, the cafe’s door set off a little ring to allow everyone to know he just walked in. Aris always thought that was always a little funny, he felt like a star and someone else was announcing him to the place. Aris quickly went straight across to the corner of the cafe, picking the comfiest couches to sit on. He had to, knowing Eddy they’d be here for a while, spit firing ideas at each other.
Aris went back to thinking about that weird moment he experienced earlier. “Why did that phrase sound so familiar? Who did I even hear it from? It’s as if it wasn’t me who was even thinking that…Was it from a movie? Tv show?…hmm maybe it was-”
“Aris! Hellooooo? You in there buddy?”
Aris refocused his eyes onto Eddy who seemed a little agitated, probably has something to do with the fact that Aris ignored him for a good five minutes before realising there were other people on this planet who existed.
“Yea Eddy sorry, I was just…never mind. Got any ideas?”
“Woah slow down Aris, you gotta take me out on a date first before you can excavate my brain for ideas”
“I thought that’s what this was?”
“Ha-ha alright this is getting a bit weird now, means you’re paying for tea. Come on, pay up”
Aris handed Eddy a bunch of coins and allowed him to figure out how much it was. Eddy didn’t seem to have a problem with that, almost skipping towards the counter.
“Man what is wrong with me? I can’t seem to focus today. I keep day dreaming. Ugh, but it feels so weird. First my mum with the nutella today morning and then the park…I mean, what’s really going on? Am I slowly losing it? That debate about who we really are…Am I-”
A coin buzzed past Aris’ ear.
Aris again had to refocus his eyes onto his surroundings.
“That’s happening too often today” he thought.
“Your tea’s going cold, you’ve been staring at me for a while now Aris. I wasn’t serious when I said this was a date. Where are you even drifting of to? I hope you’re thinking about ideas and not just ignoring me for fun.”
“Oh yea…sorry..thanks..for the tea”
“No problem buddy, you paid for it anyways”
“Oh…anyways yea I was thinking about an idea for a movie. I’ve got the general script written out and everything already too. I feel like this is really the one Eddy.”
“Great cause i’m wasting way too much money in these cafes and coffee shops”
“Ok sure thing Eddy”
“So where’s this script or whatever?”
“Oh man, I must’ve forgotten it back home in my backpack”
“What is wrong with my mind today?…I’m so out of it” thought Aris
“Aris why are you so out of it today?”
“I’m not, just forgot one thing is all. Anyways I can tell you what happens in this movie by heart. The movie’s about this superhero who, due to nearing his end of heroic acts, begins to train his sidekick into becoming a superhero too before he retires or whatever. The twist is though, after the superhero deems his sidekick isn’t quite up for the task he changes his mind and decides not to train him anymore. The sidekick becomes bitter and wants revenge. Trains himself to become a supervillain, forcing the superhero to come out of retirement to once again save his city.”
Eddy just stares at Aris in disbelief through his glasses.
“Please tell me you’re joking Aris.”
“Huh?…I didn’t think it was that bad. Is it not-”
“Aris there’s already a movie on that. Have you not seen it? It’s called “Revenge”. Got all of Hollywood’s hotshots in there. You just wasted plenty of time buddy I feel sorry for you.”
“Wait… what? Revenge?”
“Oh god” Aris thought to himself. “I have seen that movie. Was a great one too. Wow I was completely convinced this idea was completely original and would take us to the next level. What is wrong with me? This doesn’t add up. I would’ve remembered at some point during writing about Revenge. What a waste of time. How did I not realise?”
Another coin buzzed past Aris’ ear again.
“Alright Aris, you’re not even here anymore so I guess I’ll leave too then. We’ll talk tomorrow or something, when you’re not being…weird. See ya later.”
Aris hadn’t realised the time. He quickly downed his cold tea and made his way out of the cafe.
“It’s incredible. Almost as if everything is crashing down today. What else have I been influenced by? Am I even me? Or pieces of other people? First my mum, the ‘dont give up’ and now Revenge…Who am I?”
Aris walked straight into a lamp post.
“I’d better sit down before I kill myself.”
Aris thought about walking back towards to the park from where he came from earlier today but decided against it. “Too weird.” he muttered out loud, as if to convince himself. Instead, he turned away from the park and decided to take the long way back home. After a couple of twists and turns Aris found himself at the creek and plopped himself down on the nearest bench.
“If i’m not me but just pieces of other people then what’s the point? When people ask me who am I, do I just give them a list of names of people I know? Surely I can be influenced by others but still be myself…but then what does being myself even mean? Are we our thoughts or actions or are we both?”
Aris got up hastily and began to pace about back and forth, pounding his brain for answers as if he were searching for gold. The sky began to darken, casting shadows around the creek as if to mirror Aris’ thoughts. It was only an hour later when Aris realised the moon and stars were staring back at him. He swiftly made his way out of the creek, the moon chasing after Aris as if he had the answers to life itself. Aris began to run too, in and out of the light as darkness swallowed him whole and spat him out repeatedly. He slithered into alleways, desperate to reach home as quickly as possible.
“Home would be safe. Home would be nice.”
Aris glanced behind him, afraid his thoughts somehow manifested themselves and were now intimately pursuing him. He didn’t realise he took a wrong turn and slammed his feet into the ground before he smashed his head into a dead end wall.
There was graffiti, not so elegantly sprayed across the wall that towered above him, but Aris realised that that wan’t the point. Aris sat down and gazed at the wall. The words glared at Aris and Aris examined them himself. The monsters behind him faded and his heart stopped racing as if it were competing in the olympics. To him, only the words and Aris existed in a place where there was no space or time.
Aris got up calmly and made his way back home feeling a lot more reassured and focused than his has been all day long. He turned his back onto the sprayed words but knew they would be tattooed upon his heart for eternity.
The words that forever changed Aris’ life were:
“What I hate is ignorance, smallness of imagination, the eye that sees no further than it’s own lashes. All things are possible. Who you are is limited only by who you think you are.” – Egyptian Book of the Dead.