Peer Review by AlienFromPluto (United Kingdom)

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Do You Ever? #novelistofthefuture

By: The Great Gabs-by


Sometimes, when the sun scintillates brighter than it should, do you think your eyes change their hue with all the beams refracting against every corner? When the air is so rigid the dust motes seem to spark flames, do you stop to stare? When the water is so still you see another person staring back at you, do you reach out to touch the surface thinking that this encounter won't ripple?

Sometimes, do you ever?

Do you ever get the feeling akin to your toes tingling in a prickle of déjà vu? Akin to walking just one step forward. Hearing just one last word before a sentence closes. Feeling the last thing you touched. Then, suddenly, the world's tints are contrasted, saturation at full mast. All sounds morph into blurred audio tapes, stringing into fragmented vibrations so low you can barely hear them. It's as if you're submerged in a lake the colour of your burning memory, submerged in what soon burns your eyes into a bright, white light. Yet, an even brighter, much whiter light coruscates and rips through your mind like a rogue star, creating a fuzzy image of the last one step you took. The last word you heard. The last thing you touched. Then, it disappears in a flash, swifter than it came. The only souvenir that you are gifted with is the brief tenderness from having seen a dream in a wakeful state.

And when the day rises from the East again, that souvenir will collect dust and you will forget.

Do you ever feel as if your blood is helium, soaring higher than the skies of a density chart? You're like a balloon, released upon inflation. Released upon your birth. You continue rising and rising and it never stops. Was the sky always this cerulean blue? Are the clouds as fluffy as cotton candy? There is always a chance to reach out and skim across its hazelnut white. And one day, you do. You find out clouds aren't fluffy. They're just water-----wet and holding the weight of nothingness. You find out the sky isn't blue. It's just some illusion you can't grasp onto really well. Something about light and refraction and angles you don't want to know. What good is it to know the stone-cold facts that sliced through your truth?

Or were they just castles on clouds, fantasies that purely purred to a dulcet dream?

Do you ever feel a fiery, devil-may-care pinprick against your heart? The kind that urges you to do outlandish acts that make adults cry words spiked with animadversion. You could stay at the rooftop and slide into class after missing the whole day of classes despite being a straight-A student. You could spend everything on a wall of paint and buckets, splashing the nearest wall in the alley with your art. You could walk on a translucent flooring storeys high, blasting music, blocking out the rest of the world. You could walk on the beach for a long time, and when the sun goes down and it's almost dark, you could hold the hands of some stranger who's all alone and tell them that they are loved. And if they think you're drunk, tell them they don't know a thing. You could do this, the recklessness raging you forward. However, the pressure gets lower as you get higher. The air in the balloon expands and after seeing the sky and the clouds, you pop without a sound. You fall all the way down into the tiny oblong of grass in the largest spread of wide empty space-----a piece of land without use.

All the rash urges ebb away.

Do you ever wonder if part of this isn't real? That you're whispering in a dream and coaxing a nebulous hue from your memory so much so that the wisp of reminiscence becomes artificial? You don't feel like this body is yours. Your best friend can sit beside you and you take one long glance at the features of a well-known shadow but you don't recognise it. Those features of a sketched physiognomy registers in your head and you know who it is but it doesn't feel real. Then, you realise gradually that you do recognise your friend and the one you can't recognise is yourself. You've been so washed out by the world your own face isn't within your ken.

The moment plays over countless times until déjà vu thins away into shapeless air. Until the balloon doesn't come back down from sky and the clouds. Until there is nothing left to pinprick against your heart.

Until you are only left to wonder about the times you asked yourself:

Did I ever?

Despite the imagery and beauty of the senses, this prose is mainly about being so bleached and washed out by society that we start losing our innocence and wonder that children usually have. We stop wondering about things. We stick to cold, hard facts that make the world go round. We stop the imagination that we once had when we were little. We don't stop to see, think or ponder. Even the slightest things like déjà vu can give people the feels and others, nothing at all. And all we can ask ourselves in the end is 'Did I ever'. Was there a time when I wasn't what I am now? Was there a time when I could stop to admire something small and insignificant to the working world? Was there a time when I had something to really liver for? Did I ever?

Message to Readers

PLEASE READ THIS REAL SLOW SO THAT EVERY LITTLE BIT SINKS INTO YOU PROPERLY. Wouldn't want you missing anything out. Enjoy!!! and feedback always appreciated:))

Peer Review

Moved me? MOVED ME?! I practically moved to Singapore to find you, oh great Gabs-by! No, but seriously, I think there is a message in here that once read (SLOWLY) can be understood. In a way, it reminds me of the master piece `The Little Prince'. A story that when I first read I did not quite grasp it until further re-reading. You've subtly introduced the losing ones innocence, much like one would ACTUALLY lose ones innocent. You barely notice it, until it creeps up on you, and you can scarcely remember being a child - young and innocent and blissfully ignorant. Once you take a step back it seems impossible to imagine that you once believed all the magic in the world, `Did I ever' really ties in with this. The Little Prince is very much about child vs adult and in your short piece you have managed to do the same. Well done!

I'd honestly like to know if there is a way to be brought back to your child-innocence. Is there a way for an adult to revert back? Or a teen? I mean, a teen hasn't fully immersed themselves into adulthood (though they act as though they do). To deepen the idea, I feel that you should perhaps stress on the child-like kaleidoscope view of the world. Perhaps adding on to the `fluffy clouds' and `blue sky'. Though, if you were to do this perhaps mention something that links to the soaring and sky, for example flying like birds or angels. Also, the view of the world from the less imaginative view would be awesome. What changed? You mentioned society is the one sucking out imagination but in your actual piece you haven't mentioned society doing the changes. Just knowledge. Perhaps focus more on societies impact? I honestly feel like this is beautiful the way it is.

Reviewer Comments

I've said what I mean to say, the piece is amazing. I'm glad you asked me to review this because this was awesome. I know I'm pretty bad at criticism, but I just couldn't find anything I'd change.