A Meeting with the Self (Flash Fiction)

Bob sat down on a white leather chair. He adjusted his tie that felt tight around his throat. Sunlight beamed in through the window and set the white floor ablaze with light. In front of him sat a man at a small desk. The wood was old and worn. The man was identical to Bob in every way. There were one and the same. The man opened a thin, manilla folder and carefully turned the loose papers laying inside. “Well,” he said. “Are we going to have the same talk yet again?”

Bob sighed and repositioned himself in the chair. “It’s only a small divergence,” he said.

The man smiled and closed the folder. He turned his gaze to the bright sunshine pouring in through the window and nodded. “Don’t forget who you’re talking to,” the man said.

Bob looked out the window as well. He couldn’t see a thing even though he knew the sky was clear. It was only the whiteness of light. “I don’t know what to tell you,” Bob said.

“You don’t have to tell me anything,” the man said. “There is nothing you can tell me. I’m you. I’m your innermost desire. I’m your hopes and your dreams and everything you could possibly be, and I’m not waiting for you to say something. I’m waiting for you to act.”

Bob looked down and dug at his fingernails. They were clean but he dug at them anyway. “It’s not so easy,” Bob said.

“It is,” said the man. “It is easy. You simply act. You don’t delay, you don’t find excuse or reason to put me off. You act. And through action, you achieve.” The room went silent as the two sat quietly with each other. The room, white from corner to corner, was small but felt infinite.

“I don’t know why I put this off,” Bob said. “Is it fear? Is it something I don’t understand?”

The man smiled and laid his hands on the desk. Bob could feel the smooth wood against his own palms. “You don’t have to understand,” the man said. “You only have to act. Don’t you realize that?”

Bob shrugged. “I guess so. I mean, if you know then so do I. Right?”

The man smiled again and nodded. “Stop solving things,” the man said. “Your purpose isn’t to solve the mystery of why it is you have a goal. That mystery must remain a mystery forever, lest you truly lose your way. To know your purpose is to soil it forever. Embrace the mystery as a companion by your side, not a foe that needs confronting.” The man patted at the thin folder on the desk. “The adventure is the pursuit, not the understanding of why the adventure is undertaken. Do you understand?”

Bob looked at the man and saw his own eyes. “No,” he said.

The man who was himself smiled back at him. “Good. Then go. Be.”

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