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Three Little Boys

By Mohammed Abouelleil Rashed

Three boys stand in the middle of a huge room. The walls, floor and ceiling are a dazzling white. The light is spread evenly across the room allowing no shadows to surface off the ground. In all directions: an endless sea of whiteness.

‘Shall we start walking?’ one of the boys asked.

‘Which direction?’ responded the other.

‘Does it matter? It all looks the same from here.’

‘Well, if it doesn’t matter then why walk at all? We’re better off standing here’, he firmly declared.

‘But if we walk – in any direction – we might stumble on to something, anything’, the first boy implored.

‘But I can’t see anything from where I am standing, just a vast desert of whiteness that has no end.’

‘But isn’t there a chance we might encounter something that would break this whiteness?’

‘Well… most likely we’ll just walk and walk and find ourselves in a spot identical to where we are now.’

‘What do you think?’ They asked in unison. The third boy had been silent so far.

‘Hmmmmm… while you were both debating whether to walk or stay, I’ve been thinking of a way to get out of here.’

He reached in his pocket for his favourite pen, and in a few graceful movements traced the outline of a wooden chair. The chair materialized in mid-air, and with a soft ‘plonk’, settled on the white floor. He sat down. With a few extra strokes he created a drum and placed it between his thighs. He started playing his favourite rhythm.

With each beat, a blob of colour appeared in the vast white room. He sped up and the room began to take shape, colours spreading across the vast whiteness, seeping into each other and creating magnificent hues and shades. The three boys found themselves in the middle of a mosaic formed of thousands of colour patches. Their senses awakened. Suddenly they realized that they were no longer concerned about staying or going. There was so much around them to contemplate, enjoy, and marvel at. But then the boy stopped playing the drum and silence fell across the room.

Slowly, their surroundings began to change. The visual extravaganza was no more. The colours lost their lustre and gradually faded away. Within a few moments, the beauty that surrounded them dissolved and they found themselves again in a vast emptiness.

‘Well’, the first boy asked, ‘shall we start walking?’

‘Which way?’ the second answered.

‘Does it matter? It all…’

Suddenly, both boys fixed their gaze on their companion. He was holding his pen again, tracing a small wooden door in the middle of the room. He opened it, went through and disappeared.

© Mohammed Abouelleil Rashed, 2008
Ph.D. Medicine
The Centre for Behavioural and Social Sciences in Medicine.