One morning last summer a resident of Sweetditch went to his neighbor, a man with whom he’d become close over a number of years, and described a recent experience which had troubled him. He said that he’d found himself suddenly awake at 3:30 three mornings previous. He’d gotten up and walked down the hall towards his living room. As he moved down the hallway he observed a dim light radiating from the living room. When he gained a full view of the living room he saw a glowing orb—less than four feet tall, about two feet wide—hovering above the middle cushion of the couch. The orb seemed to revolve to better perceive him, but the man could not discern eye-like organs, or distinguishing features of any kind. The orb persisted there, the man looking at it, for approximately two minutes. Then it flickered once or twice, and disappeared. Perplexed, the man sat up in the living room awaiting the reappearance of the orb. After thirty minutes of waiting, he went back to bed and slept soundly. The next morning he woke up unsure of the reality of his experience. He’d slept fitfully the next night, and was unsettled by his unsuccessful attempts to divine a meaning.
When the man finished his story, his neighbor attempted to brush the story off as a dream, some misfiring synapse, and so on. But the man persevered in his conviction. The neighbor, seeing his friend so sure of his experience, felt his expression soften and then surprised himself by saying, “The same thing happened to me three nights ago as well.”
The man and his neighbor took some time to talk over the details of their experience and found that they corresponded exactly. The men decided to share this strange coincidence with another neighbor. When they did, the neighbor at first attempted to dismiss their experience, and then at last confided that he’d seen the same thing.
The men went around their neighborhood, and eventually called an assembly of the city, and found that all the men had the same experience on the same night, but no one except the first man had felt moved to share, explore, or test his understanding of the experience.
The women of the city experienced nothing like this, and tended to view the phenomenon and any mention of it as a strange case of male solidarity—binding themselves together over an imagined event of dubious significance.
Amongst the men, the man who first broke the silence for a time enjoyed a privileged place in the company of his peers, but as the months have passed, the male community has begun to consider him obsessively concerned with understanding and assigning meaning to the experience. He now pursues these questions alone.