Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Coffee with the Devil. (chapter 3)

It was one of those days, you know, late summer getting cozy with early autumn to produce a crisp mix of clear blue sky, piercing sun and a nice chill in the air, just that bit too much for the amount of clothing you decided to wear that morning.

Having nothing to do, and, maybe even rarer so, not feeling any guilt about it, I decided to take a stroll in the park. It was nice. Dry-land skaters carved curves and pirouettes in the tarmac, dogs ran free despite the ban on free-running dogs, even the bums were cheery, non-pressing with their alcohol-fueled presence. My phone rang. I frowned.

"Hey, it's me."
"I noticed."
"How?"
"My phone played the Nokia tune."
She giggled.
"I hate the Nokia tune."
She giggled again.
"... So, what's up?"
"You wanna come to the entrance?"
"Sure."

I made my way to the park's gates, rusted solidly in an open position for as long as I can remember. The cast-iron and granite had been overgrown, with ivy and passion-flower, organic matter slowly eating up the artificial. It was okay. They had time.

She stood there, bundled up in various layers of (oddly fashionable) garments. As I approached, she grinned, sidled up to me and planted a kiss on the corner of my mouth. Pressed a paper cup of hot coffee in my hand, and slipped her arm in mine.

"C'mon, let's walk."
I nodded, and sipped my coffee. Nearly burned my mouth.
"Watch it, might be hot."

We walked for a while, in silence. Well, almost, anyways. She was humming some current poppy tune, smiling. I wasn't sure if she tried to annoy me or not. If she did, it wasn't working. It was far too good a day to be annoyed by such things.

"Can you love?" I asked.
"Define love."

I had to think for a while.

"Giving purely from yourself. Care, energy, that sort of thing. Wanting the subject of your love to be nothing but happy."
"Without expecting anything in return?"
"Ideally, yes."
"Tricky. You think anybody can do that?"
"I'm not talking about anybody, I'm asking you."
"Okay..."
"...So?"

She was silent for a bit, sipping coffee as we rounded corners.

"Yes. I think, somehow, it's all I can do. I want this place to be happy, this world, God, whatever, to feel complete. It's why I ask these questions, show people the workings of their ways. Funny, that."
"What?"
"You asking me these things now."
"Why?"
"Because that's not usually how it goes."
"Do you usually let people know who you really are?"
"Not really. Sometimes. Rarely."
"So you think it's weird that I'm curious?"
"Not at all. Guess I should've seen that coming."
"You mean you didn't?"
She just gave me a look, and smiled somewhat mysteriously.

"Can you love?" she asked.
"Of course."
"No, I mean, can you love the way you described? Wanting nothing in return?"
"I like to believe so..."
"...But?"
"But I think I'm not there yet."
"Why?"
"Because I'm still young, and... I don't know. There's always this fear of giving too much, leaving myself drained."
"Fear." she smiled.
"Yes."
"Why? Don't you believe that everything you give, comes back to you eventually? It does, you know."
"Yes, I know that. But knowing it is not the same as feeling it."
"You don't feel it?"
"Not yet."
"How come?"
"Not sure. Too much on my mind still, I suppose."
"Maybe you just think it's inappropriate to be that wise, so young?"
"...hmm... Maybe, but I don't think so. All I know is that I still have fear, somewhere."

I finished my coffee, and offered her a cigarette. She declined, and I lit mine.

"Don't be so cautious," she said.
"I know. I try."
"Don't 'know'. Feel." She touched her fist to my stomach, knuckled it briefly.
"I'll get there."
"You really think so? Isn't that too easy a way out?"
"No. If it happens, it happens at the right time. Wu wei, and all that."
"Ah, Taoism for the modern man." She chuckled. "Can backfire, you know. Make you lazy."
"I can see that happen." I had seen it happen, before, with myself.
"Sometimes, you just have to take the dive."
"Even if it doesn't feel right?"
"Sure. Take the dive, bite the apple, hurt, or get hurt. Learn. Grow."
"Like Nietzsche?"
"Hmm?"
" 'Everything that doesn't kill me, only makes me stronger...?'"
"Exactly. Is a very Taoist thing to say, you know. All you do makes you who you are, and will be."
"But isn't it also possible that it weakens you?"
"For a while, maybe. That's when you learn, grow. Hey, you were the one with the wu wei, remember? So everything that happens, happens for the good. Thus, you will come out stronger."
"Okay..."
"Don't let fear suck you in too deep. You'll end up like her."

She pointed at a girl, seemingly roughly the same (apparent) age as herself. She was standing in the balding growth of a copse of trees, regarding us. Odd figure, streetkid, obviously. Pretty, in a wild sort of way. I hadn't seen her there. The moment she was pointed at, her eyes grew, and she ducked away. Gone, just like that.

"See?"

I was speechless. She was... I don't know, but something just happened.

"You... know her?"
"Yes."
"Friend of yours?"
"I like to think so, but I don't think she does."
"How-"

But then her phone rang, and she picked up. Spoke quick, fluent Brazil Portuguese. After some time, she hung up, and smiled apologetically.

"Gotta run, kid. Take care." She pressed a kiss on my cheek, and took off, leaving me there, bewildered, on the spot where three worlds met, and left one standing without a clue.

1 Comments:

Anonymous KSK said...

Hey Murk... I'm totally hook on this story. Great work!!! More More More please...

11:28 pm  

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