Christopher sits facing a young woman with short dark hair and green eyes, dressed in an orange jacket with pocket protectors.
Phaedra: (blinks and looks around her) I’d forgotten what it like in the Cauldron. Fourth wall space, beyond the confines of my universe, knowledge pouring into my head I couldn’t possibly have.
Christopher: Welcome back. Lately my visitors have all been from Of Cuckoo Clocks and Crystal Coffins, a story in progress very different from A Symposium in Space. What knowledge do you have now that you’re here?
Phaedra: Well, I know the scribbler is doing a reading from A Symposium in Space at 4:15 p.m. P.S.T., which is a time zone on Ancient Earth. (She blinks.) I must be back in the past.
Christopher: And I’m from a universe completely different from yours. I grew up in a matriarchy far more sinister than your Intergalactic Democracy, if I consider the Gardens of Arachne from an outside perspective. It’s funny what you see from an outside perspective.
Phaedra: A matriarchy? I suppose you could call the Intergalactic Democracy that. Men can’t vote at present. Not that there are many men around in the Intergalactic Democracy. You’re the first one I’ve spoken to. Um, you are a man, aren’t you?
Christopher: Sometimes I wonder. I’ve been so many people in the Shadow Forest. Not all of them were men or women. Absorbing so much thought and feeling from so many different individuals, being a part of so many happy endings, when the very ideals of happiness shift from perspective to perspective, all of that changed me.
Phaedra: Huh? I’m not sure what you’re talking about.
Christopher: Neither am I.
Phaedra: What you’re saying is you’re not sure who you are, let alone what you are?
Christopher: I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Phaedra: And whether you’re a man or a woman might have been important once, but you’re no longer certain if it matters?
Christopher: (he pauses to consider her words) I’ve never thought of it quite like that, but yes, you may be right.
Phaedra: Wow, I’ve never met anyone who thought like you before.
Christopher: Thank you. Your questions are making me think.
Phaedra: Well, Sokrat says it’s through questions we reach the truth. Each question is a step towards wisdom.
Christopher: Sokrat may be right. I think I’ve used that method myself to understand things, by asking questions. Damian used it, too.
Christopher: Someone who was once very close to me.
Phaedra: Like Pausania was once close to me. I lose her in A Symposium in Space and find her again. Or perhaps she loses and finds me.
Christopher: I envy you. I wish I’d find Damian.
Phaedra: Have you been looking?
Christopher: There are places I’m afraid to look.
Phaedra: It sounds like you know where to find him.
Christopher: It does, doesn’t it? I’m worried that he’s changed. That he’ll no longer be Damian.
Phaedra: We all change. It can be frightening, but it can be wonderful, too. Don’t be afraid of what Damian has become. It won’t make finding him any easier, will it?
Christopher: You may be right about that, too.
Like what you’ve seen of Phaedra? Want to get to know her better? Here are buy links to her story, A Symposium in Space…
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