There was a time when the world seemed limitless. It expanded in all directions and went on forever. I could choose any road and go as far as I liked without ever reaching an end. At some point, that changed. Everything flattened and I approached an edge that wasn't originally there, nearly careening right off it into nothingness. As I teetered there, my toes curling over the precipice, the expanse was dark with not even a pinhole of light to betray what it held. It could have been everything or nothing at all. I reached out, felt for a handhold, found none.
It was then that I woke shaking, a sheen of cold sweat on my forehead. I threw my legs out of bed, slipped on a robe. I descended the basement stairs, the night silent house chose not to betray my movement. I tore into boxes, searching for something I knew was there but not in which one to look. As I went through them, I found other pieces of use, pieces of myself. I'd put them away thinking I'd never need them again but had been too lazy to throw them away. There was the piece that liked to write. There another that spent time on her body without shame. This one was comfortable being alone. That one, oh, that one wanted to be living art - song, and dance, and canvas.They were dazzling in the dank and glinted, beckoning me to take them into my arms, consume them, make them part of me again. A tentative sniff revealed nothing. I touched the tip of my tongue to one and it was at once sweet and tingled like a 9 volt battery. I put it whole into my mouth, swallowed without chewing. The tingle radiated through me, reaching the tips of my fingers, flashing like a sunspot behind my eyes and then there wasn't enough. Every box revealed something I'd been without, something I needed. I swallowed them all but never felt full. I stayed in the basement, taking all of them in until dawn shot through the windows. I knew there was more there for me, but someone was sleeping above and would soon themselves wake. Their dream was not dark, was not flat - theirs was limitless but only because they had taken my world from me, given me theirs in a poor exchange. I tended what I'd been given, but nothing could grow except the dark and it had nearly swallowed me.
I took the stairs slowly, begging the house not to give me away again. I slid into bed as if I'd always been there and soon he woke, kissed me good morning. I tried to keep my new old pieces, now reincorporated, from showing, but they shone brightly behind my eyes, emboldened my laugh, refused to again be contained. They were my world returned to me - limitless, the roads were mine to take and they were everywhere. It was then that I chose one - leading away from him. I left him reaching, his call echoing to me as I increased my lead. I could hear him saying he missed me, but he couldn't follow, didn't wear the right shoes, hadn't the means or motivation to go barefoot.
It was a long and lonely dream I'd been living, all the while sleeping next to someone else. Everything, or nearly everything, had changed while I slept. But as the world had changed, so had I.