31

That night, I went to bed smiling. I quickly fell asleep and found myself back within the fifth portal. It was different this time; I still wasn't sure where I was, but everything was clearer and I could see, hear, and speak.

“I'm ready,” I said.

“Of this you are certain? asked the beggar.

“I am.”

The beggar then changed appearance in front of my eyes. His clothing turned gray, he held a book in his hand, and a black baseball cap materialized on his head. He slowly raised his head.

“I am your suffering. I was raised in fear and have been following you your entire life. I have been waiting for you to release me.”

“What happens to you when I do that?” I asked.

“Like a lone wave in the ocean, I will once again recede into the beauty of the One.”

“How do I let you go?”

He showed me the book he'd been carrying with him. Its title was The Witness. He told me that the book held my pain, as well as the secret to releasing it. He held it out for me. “Whenever you are ready.” Without hesitation, I put my hand on it and closed my eyes.

I was at Eric's movie premiere. I sat near the middle, on the left side of the auditorium. The man in the black cap was not anywhere to be seen, but I could feel his presence within me. I wasn't sure if I was still dreaming or not and didn't even bother to check my watch, deciding that it just didn't matter.

Eric was on the stage, talking. “Well, that's all I have time for before we start the movie. I'll be around afterward for any further questions. ...

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