THE MOTH EFFECT (1:1:3:25)

I open the front door to the apartment building and the Sun's rays hit me as if I had been in darkness for years. I notice that the plants are beginning to grow, and I can only hope that they grow properly. I start to think about how the Sun's rays, as powerful as they may be, how they don't reach the garden, and how sad the zinnias that were there before must have felt.

In the distance I see Mary getting out of a parked car with a bouquet of red roses, and this image reminds me that it's Mother's Day, but I've never figured Mary for a mother. Maybe the roses have nothing to do with the holiday.

Mary passes by me with a fur-coat that probably cost an animal its life. Insult to death. I'd like to think that the animals that are killed for their fur were primarily killed for their nutritional value. There can't be any righteousness in killing an animal simply for its properties in appearance. Only to gain in the selling of fur or leather.

I can also tell that she's drunk when she walks pass me, and that she's not conscious enough to notice that her driver is yelling out her name because she forgot something. I end up having to help her in that department.

Lynne told me that red roses symbolize love and romance. These red roses remind me of Maria, but in particular, they remind me about two dreams I had about her a couple of years after we met. Maria and I both worked at the same place, and often times we would end up working at the same times. I usually walked to work, but one day when I was halfway there to work, it started to rain. It really started to pour. Maria, who drove to work, saw me walking and she stopped and gave me a ride to work.

We had been together for at least two years and then one night I have this dream. I'm walking down stairs. I hear this woman sitting at the bottom of a staircase crying. I ask her what's wrong and she looks up at me with big watery eyes.

The scene shifts like dreams like to do, and we are inside of a house. I look at her hand and I see a tattoo. I ask her what it is, and she tells me it's a butterfly in the shape of a heart. I ask her why, and she says to me, "Because it's through fate that we find our soulmate." I didn't have as good a memory then and I didn't start writing down my dreams yet so I can't remember the dream so well, but I can remember what she said about finding your soulmate with the help of fate clearly.

The butterfly effect theory basically states that one event, no matter how big or how small, can effectively influence the course of the future. One question often associated with this theory asks if the flap of a butterfly's wings in one part of the world can cause a natural disaster in another part of the world.

I gather that her tattoo meant that regardless of how random or senseless some things may be, coincidence has nothing to do with us finding our one true love. Our soulmate. That we find the ones we are suppose to live the rest of our lives with through fate.

The next thing I know, I'm lying in bed with the woman. Sometime later there is a banging on the door, and all I can hear is the name Diane ringing through my head. The woman gets up out of bed and goes to see who it is, and it's Maria on the other side of the door.

A few months later after having that dream, I have it again, but different things happen. It's the same woman in the same house, except this time I don't cheat on Maria. I tell Diane that I have to leave, that I'm not attracted to her flame, and she becomes furious, but before I go to turn away I notice that her tattoo is on her right hand this time. It's plagued me for years. In the first version of the dream, the tattoo is on her left hand, and in the second version, it's on her right hand. That one little change.

Because of free will, it sometimes seems as if we all write our own futures. There is a man who sets up dominoes to fall in a specific order in a specific way. He hits the first domino. The beginning. Everything goes to plan, and finally the last domino falls. The ending. He does this until he feels confident that he knows what will happen every time. Now he sets them up again the same exact way, but this time he gives domino number sixty-seven a free will. He hits the first domino to start the sequence.

Everything goes to plan until it gets to sixty-seven. Sixty-seven has removed from its spot and has wondered off, ruining everything. Now this man knows that he cannot predict what will happen if these dominoes have a free will.

I've just come back to my apartment building after visiting my parents' home, a nice big fancy house that they left for me some odd-numbered miles down the road. I go to that area once every few months because it's where I spent my childhood. Everyone probably longs for their childhood in their adulthood for reasons I shouldn't have to mention. Down the road a few blocks from the house is the church we all used to go to. My mother, my father, my brother and I.

I didn't know it back then, but my father didn't believe in God. Or Satan for that matter. Most people who don't believe in one don't believe the other. He never said he didn't believe in him, but I know he didn't; I know he went to church simply because it was the one thing my mother ever asked him to do.

He was a good liar, he had everyone fooled. He had several different masks so that you couldn't associate his face with his character or his role.

After my mother committed suicide we stopped going to church. My father and I, I mean. My brother was no longer around. I'm not even sure if the church-going people would want us to keep attending service, considering the good book says suicide is a sin.

Some even-numbered years later my father developed cancer and it killed him. Maybe it wasn't the cancer, maybe it was because he was so angry that he wouldn't be able to continue his quest for knowledge. Up until even now I question whether knowledge is a good thing or a bad thing because the gaining of knowledge by humankind is a double-edged sword. It can be what saves us or what destroys us. Someone said that an individual's gaining of knowledge either brings them closer to humankind or it causes more and more of an isolation from it.

I open the front door to the apartment building and I see Lynne checking her mail. She looks at me and smiles, and takes out all of her mail. I say hello and we both begin to walk towards the stairs. She asks me if I want some junk mail and tosses me some of her mail. It's junk mail. I read the name who it was to be delivered to, "Lynnette Parker." I guess she didn't take Silvio's last name.

On our way to our apartments Lynne tells me that there was an old woman here looking for me earlier. Joe's mom. Lynne gives me one more piece of paper with a name and an address on it, but no phone number. It appears as if Joe's mom, Kathleen, wants me to visit her. I thought I was out of the whole Joe thing once she came back.

I put down both the junk mail and the piece of paper that Lynne got from Kathleen on the table and I sit down on my couch and I think about what she would want. And then the phone rings. That damn ringing sound. I pick it up before it makes me go deaf and I hear a lady on the other end. Joe's mom, Kathleen.

We end up talking about Joe's condition, and about how the doctors say even if he does wake up, they are not sure if he will be "normal." In other words, they are not sure if he has suffered any brain damage. She also gets me to agree to come visit her on the upcoming Wednesday even though she lives on the far side of town.

Is it our brain that determines who we are? Is Joe the way he is because of the way his brain is constructed, and if he has indeed suffered any brain damage, will that change who he really is? We've seen the victims of stroke and how the ones who suffer from brain damage change completely. How they stare at you blankly. How they can't recognize people they've known their entire lives. How they can't do things they did before. How they can't continue their quest for knowledge because they have been compromised.

If Joe wakes up and there is a screw loose up there, will he still be Joe, or will he put on a mask that no one recognizes?