Part One

Wednesday, 23 March, 2022

It’s good to be back here. It’s been a while. It feels like years. Everything looks the same, and sometimes places that always look the same can make it feel like time is running faster. Right now it is making me feel old, to be back in this cramped Newcomer dorm, looking out this window down at the big Sunflower Field, where people wash their dishes every day after lunch.

I can see the vegetable gardens in the distance. Now, in the morning, most Newcomers are out there working. Later they will come to the big Sunflower Field and dance naked under the sprinklers. Then they will have lunch, and then they will wash their dishes in a big metal tin, which will be placed right in the centre of the big Sunflower Field – they’re very strict about those kinds of things here, about centres. A lot of people don’t know what it takes for things to stay always the same. The ceramic plates will glow under the sunshine.

It’s always sunny here. It’s just one of those places where it’s always sunny. I can’t really explain. You’d have to be here to understand.

Then they will pile up the dishes on the sparkly green grass, and then the Kitchen Staff will come and collect them. The Kitchen Staff are the only ones allowed to put the dishes away. They have been here for a long, long time. They know where everything goes. There’s a place for everything around here.

I wasn’t born here. I was born on the Outside, as they call it, capital letters Outside - but I’m in the minority. Most people here have never been anywhere else. They aren’t interested. They have to finish building The Bomb.

Ah, it’s good to be back! It’s always sunny here. Tomorrow morning I start working again, just like everyone else. It’s been a while – it feels like years, but it probably wasn’t more than a week or two. I’m not sure, sometimes it gets hard to keep track of time. Not when I’m here, though. Not when I’m here. Here everybody knows what day it is, and what they have to do tomorrow, and when it is time to do what. Every Saturday we go mussel-picking on the beach, and every Sunday we cook them in a big pot, outside, in the middle of the big Sunflower Field. Every Monday we get up before sunrise and spend the whole day complaining about having to get up early every Monday. We lay out cushions on the sparkly grass, hundreds of cushions, on and beyond the big Sunflower Field, cushions of every imaginable colour. We sit and wait for the sun to come up. When the sun comes up, we chant. That’s pretty much all we do around here. We watch the light change, and we chant. It’s not so bad. I miss it when I’m away.

I don’t think I want to work in the vegetable gardens again, it’s always too noisy and full of Newcomers. I don’t think it would support my personal process of dissolving anymore. But that’s something I’ll have to discuss with Bebe when I see her.

Wednesday, 23 March, 2022 - Evening

Today ended up being a strange day. Last night was a Big Fire night, so that’s what everyone was talking about at lunch. It sounded like a good one. No one told me exactly what happened, and I wouldn’t have dared to ask, but the little I heard was enough to know that Jonah almost certainly had sex with maybe more, maybe less, but around five women, of which at least three I have met. I can’t say a word about it though, not to him and not to anyone else. I’ve been away, after all, I’m sure some people would find it obscene if I started talking about things like that already. I haven’t seen Jonah yet. He usually eats lunch with the rest of the Kitchen Staff, in one of the areas that are forbidden to Newcomers.

It’s only been a day and I’m already feeling scared again. What made me want to go away in the first place is catching up with me even quicker than I thought it would. The truth is, I’m still very far from being considered a part of this place, someone who really belongs here, and that’s because there is way too much “me” in me. I’m scared that I won’t have enough time to complete my process of dissolving before it’s all over. I heard The Bomb is nearly finished, it’s so close now. I’m desperate to dissolve into We-ness, to let go of the burden of being a separate entity. I’m scared, and tired. It was a long train ride here. And then the fields... the fields that you have to cross. I’ve never seen such big fields. They’re gigantic. They’re bigger than what you’d think the size of the whole world could be.

Friday, 25 March, 2022

I spent the day with Jonah yesterday. We are still In Love, that is what Bebe said. I didn’t ask him about the Big Fire night though, or about anything that happened during the weeks I was away. We sat on the big Sunflower Field for some fifteen minutes, our arms wrapped around each other’s shoulders. We didn’t talk. He laughed nervously, as he always does. I tried to kiss him, and he laughed nervously.

Then we had a meeting with the rest of the Us, which I had asked to be invited to - it was my chance to say how much I wanted to be one of them. I think it went well. They cheered after I spoke, because they cheer every time someone says something about themselves they hadn’t said out loud before, and then we chanted a bit. It felt good. I think it was a really good meeting, really good for them to get to know me better, so they can support my personal process of dissolving. It’s lunchtime now, I have to go - but I promise myself I will continue writing in the evening, I need to start writing more. The more I can put things into words for myself, the more I’ll be able to tell them to people, which Bebe keeps saying is what will make me dissolve faster than anything else. It gets hard sometimes. I’m determined to stay committed to the process, I have to be. Before it’s all over.