It is all well and good to believe that you will know it when you find it, that it will be so obvious you could not miss it.
You’ve been down that road before, and on several occasions were certain that you’d found it in her face, or hers, in her smile, or her laugh, or one of their soft touches and caresses.
You were wrong each time, a facsimile at best, an avatar if you wish, so you are determined to be prepared this time, for there must be a this time you are certain.
You have read all the best books, consulted on the internet, careful to sort the wheat from the chaff, skimmed the cream of the offerings, and have practiced reading the tea leaves.
You dare not miss it so you maintain a high level of vigilance and a focus that is not easily interrupted, ready to spring, but know that it defies logic, that the mind is useless in its presence, and that it is the heart not the head that feels true love.
It’s a question of faith. You have to have some even if you doubt it, in fact your doubt is proof you have faith if only in doubt, for you know you cannot prove doubt, you just cling to it as a matter of faith. Your faith need not be religious though much of faith is, it can be philosophical or whimsical if you prefer. It can be most anything unless you are certain of everything in which case you are immortal, on death’s doorstep or simply a fool.
It is the wet season when the rains wash the village carrying off the detritus of poverty. On the adobe wall of the ancient town hall some villagers say a face appeared one morning. To some it was the face of Christ to others that of an old man a former mayor, perhaps, to most of the tourists from the nearby resort no more than random discoloration of the aging plaster that clung to the beams by the force of will. They arrived by bus and rusting pick ups, bowed to the wall and reached out gingerly like children touching the flame of a candle. To the mason it was a job that would feed his family for another week.
First appeared in Erothanatos, Vol. 3, No. 3 July 2019, Pg. 40
They hide in corners, and you think you can see them, but you cannot be certain for they are vague and could be no more than wishes, but belief is sufficient. As you grow older, the number of corners grow and a universe of but eight corners is now itself tucked in a corner of memory. One corner hides the face of the man who adopted me, watched for two years, before departing suddenly, and the only item I have is his diploma rolled up in a tube where my own accomplishments are rolled. In another corner the day I met the man I now call father is so deeply buried only his present, increasingly absent aging face is all I can see. Memories are elusive, appearing and disappearing without warning day by day the oldest evanesce and that corner is filled by another memory grown vague.
Denial grows easier with practice until you get to the point were even the existence absolute proof is little more than an obstacle to be skirted. They know it is easy, a facile task to an audience that wants to believe. That is the key, for wanting to believe is enough to make the false true, and even beginning to step deeper into the swamp will not stop them, for even as the water rises about them they see what might be and ignore what is, and what will be, for a promise believe is always enough, until it isn’t.
He only wants to live forever, or if not, at least until a week from Thursday. Important things always happen on Wednesdays, he is convinced. He has no logical reason for his belief, but it is his and he will not be shaken from it. “It is a matter of faith,” he says “and you can borrow it or leave it, but it’s mine.” He does like to own things, and ideas are the greatest things in his world. He is certain he will die on a Wednesday, not that his death will be all that important, though he wouldn’t mind it so, but he wants to be cremated, wants some of his ashes left in a church, any church, just to let them know we are all created in God’s image and this Wednesday will for him, Ash Wednesday.
He was no longer sure quite where he found it, or whether it was talisman or just an amulet, but he didn’t believe the distinction really mattered at all. He carried it with him everywhere he went, was sure to put it ins his pocket each day. Many said it did nothing for him, brought him no better luck, no change in his circumstances, but he was quick to point out how much worse things might have been had he never found it.
I spent much of yesterday trying to draw perfect enso. You would think it easy to draw the simple circle, one easy stroke, but my efforts suggest otherwise. It is my Western mind, my teacher once suggested, always linear, this moment next to that, and then the one that must naturally follow. If not a straight line, a line nonetheless. I tried to tell him that was not it, I am not as linear as he imagines, but all he said was “mu,” rang his bell and called for the next student. Anyway, he said as I departed, “keep trying, giving up your monkey mind can occur in that moment, in every moment,” and I want to believe him, certainly, but my ill drawn circle calls him a liar.