• Styles Yugen

Marble Machine


Sometimes life can feel like you’re a marble in a great machine. You go around and through so many different corners, only catching glimpses of the other paths as you go by. You drop through holes in the floor, landing hard, and flow right back into the ratrace with every other marble out there.

It’s always downhill in that machine, as a marble only rolls in one direction. Sometimes you wonder if you actually can choose which path you can take; sometimes you even wonder why it’s always downhill. But it never stops. You’re just a marble after all. There is no way for a marble to choose its own path or affect its own destiny.

Then one day you find yourself being lifted up, high into the sky, and deposited only to start downhill again.

You go around and through so many different corners again, only catching glimpses of the other paths as you go by. You drop through a hole in the floor, landing hard once again, and rejoin the eternal downhill ratrace.

But this time you recognize a path, one that you took before on the last go round. This time you recognize the drop through the floor and know what to expect.

This time was different and you can’t tell why. Was it fate that led you to those paths? Was it some cosmic coincidence that led you to fall through that specific hole in the floor just the same way?

No, you think. It can’t be.

And once more you’re lifted into the heavens, only to be deposited to start the downhill race once again. But this time will be different, you vow.

This time you will choose which path to take.

You go around and through so many different corners, waiting for just the right one to present itself. Then before you know it, they’re all past, and you’re falling through that same hole in the floor. You land hard, just as always, and rejoin the ratrace.

You kick yourself for not choosing faster and despair because you know you’ll never be able to choose fast enough. Fate will always decide your path for you; cosmic coincidence will dictate your life.

Except just as you reach the bottom, you hear something: the marbles around you clacking against one another; the pinging of marbles against the machine; even the great machine itself, whirring away.

It makes you feel very small, and you think about it on the way back to the top.

This time you decide to listen to the sounds.

You go around and through so many different corners, recognizing many of them as ones you’ve been down before. You fall through a hole in the floor and know what sound you’ll make before landing hard. You recognize the sounds coming from each different path, and in that moment, you can hear the music created by the great machine.

All the marbles, all the paths, all the drops and turns and twists make up the notes of a song. Destiny is what you make of the machine and its song.

And you’re part of it.

Styles Yugen, signing off.


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Science Fiction and the pursuit of escapism, 2020.