Metaphysics 101 by Mark Joseph Kevlock

Dottie falls in love with a man more concerned with philosophy than reality; by Mark Joseph Kevlock.

"I wish you'd stop asking questions that take up the whole class," Dottie said.

She and Humbert were walking together.

"I know. But I can't help it. This is stuff I just need to understand."

Dottie thought about taking his hand. But that could lead to a lot of things.

"I'll try not to do it today," Humbert promised.

Moments later, Professor Carlsbad called on him in class. "Yes, Humbert?"

"What is the true first step, then, to begin us all upon this worldwide shift in consciousness?"

Dottie sighed and sat back in her seat.

Professor Carlsbad took his usual grip upon the edges of the lectern. That meant he was in it for the long haul.

"Well, Humbert, I would say a recognition of responsibility for our own existence would be the best place to start. The chief tenet of Xavier Freeman's philosophy is that we all create our own reality. Once this is accepted, it only follows that each and every event contained within that reality is of our own making. We choose our joy, and our sorrow, and in what measure we shall experience each..."

Dottie dreamed of a September wedding, when the leaves were just beginning to turn. It was mid-April now, the semester winding down. Were she and Humbert in love or weren't they?

"I guess it's about blame, really," Humbert said. "You can't blame other people for your problems, if you've accepted that you created them yourself. The concept of an oversoul, a superior self, somewhere off in a higher reality is a fascinating one, however. Almost as if our bodies here were merely envoys sent to experience, for a time, corporeal life..."

"I'm ready anytime you are," Dottie mumbled.

Humbert ate his veggie burger and stared out the window of the student union hall.

"What are we all here for? Imagine, if we really are in control, then we can be as happy as we choose to be! We can live the most fantastic lives! Abandoning sorrow is as simple as making the decision to do so! The freedom!"

Humbert's passion was at its most infectious when he began talking in exclamation points. Dottie had hold of a dreamer, she knew. But perhaps that was the reality she desired, most of all: to help him live out those dreams, and share all the joy along the way.

One day a gigantic crack appeared in the eggshell sky. Scientists dubbed it a transpatial anomaly. But Humbert told Dottie what it really was: a tear in reality itself.

"Are we pouring out or is something else pouring in?"

The two classmates stood in the center of campus staring upward, too spellbound to be horrified just yet.

"We could all drain out into the nothingness. Or it could drain in, drowning us."

It didn't seem quite real, Dottie observed, when you looked straight at it. Like death. A concept almost beyond our experience.

But there it was, just the same.

"I wonder if anyone has tried, yet, flying a plane into it..."

The energy tear grew larger, or perhaps just closer in the sky. That, too, like death, descending upon our lives.

"Humbert, what if we got married, would that be okay?"


Score one for Dottie's persistence.

At night the energy ribbon glowed with a coruscating luminescence - like moonlight unsure of itself.

Nobody really thought it was the end of the world.

But it was definitely something.

Dottie and Humbert sat upon one of the park benches in the center of the quad.

"A universe beyond our universe," Humbert said. "We always try to imagine what that would be. But the attempt to do so is pure folly, don't you think? I mean, if we could imagine it, it wouldn't really be another universe, would it? Like all those sci-fi stories where alien societies operate so remarkably similar to our own."

Dottie thought maybe she would get undressed to garner his attention. At least she hoped that would do it.

"I wonder if that has happened before, in the past? I wonder what earlier Man might have made of this?"

The ribbon sat above and gave no answers.

Everyone went on with their lives.

"Maybe we'll just wake up one morning inside of it. Or it inside of us. Maybe we'll never know the difference. Maybe it's understanding that's sweeping over us. Wisdom like a wave."

Dottie had been picking out wedding gowns. She had the choices narrowed to twenty.

"What if it just hangs there until we accept it as part of our imagination? What if we come to understand that imagination builds the world? We could start imagining things the right way. We could take control."

Dottie kissed him, because she felt like it. Humbert didn't mind. After the kissing, Dottie had a question.

"Is it possible to be married, and in love, and figuring out all this other stuff along the way?"

"Sure," Humbert said.

Sometime after the wedding, as October came around, the energy tear one day cried itself right out of the sky and vanished.

"We could be living another reality right now," Humbert said.

"I certainly am," Dottie said.

No one really ever understood what it was. Like love. It was hard not to notice, when it came around.


  1. I like the opposing concepts of reality presented in the context of a relationship. I think Humbert should just get on with life with Dottie before she imagines somebody new!

  2. I liked the delineation of the characters with the line, "It was hard not to notice."