There’s a glass dome.
Inside the dome, there lies a beautiful place. We can see it through any screen. There, people are normal. They are all quite similar, and all fairly happy. They are sometimes hurt, in the ways we are hurt, but there are ways that we are hurt that they do not have to worry about, and ways we are commonly hurt that they rarely are.
Sometimes people inside the dome give me odd looks. “Well, if you don’t like it outside there, why don’t you just come in?” Occasionally, others understand a bit better. “You could pass, if you just did your hair differently. Why don’t you?” Some understand better still, and stand near the edge—even come outside. They don’t understand perfectly, but they understand that they don’t understand. That means a lot.
One day, while chatting with Jordan on our opposite sides of the dome, I saw something glittering on her side. “What’s that?”
"What?" Jordan turned her head, then looked back to me with a grimace. “Ah. That’s the dome.”
I furrowed my brow. “But this is the dome.”
Jordan shook her head. “This dome is easy to move through, so we call it the gauzy dome. That dome”—she nodded her head—“is impossible to get through.” She rolled her eyes. “They just say we’re not trying hard enough.”
I opened my mouth, then closed it. I couldn’t think of a polite way to say, You do the same thing, so I just said, “Thank you.”
A thought had occurred to me, and one I thought important. I set out to test it. I walked for months, stopping wherever I thought I saw something.
I was right. There were other domes—I saw dozens. Some of them had other domes in them, like the one I’d grown up closest to. It was obvious, once I was looking. Some touched other domes, and being in either seemed to make it easier to go to the other.
Then I came to a very large one. It was peculiar enough that I hardly recognized it as a dome at first. Every dome I had come across arched away easily, like someone had taken a half-sphere and planted it in the ground, to grow and shrink as necessary. This one was different. It arched toward me, not away, and the material was lighter and somewhat opaque, more like gauze than glass.
I went still.
Then, very slowly, I craned my head back. It arched up and over, in a perfect line that kept me separate from…well. Them.
It’s always ‘them’, isn’t it?