Something of This World

As a blue-fire sun came up over the sea, milky and iridescent, there was no sound, there were no motorized noises, the world was sleeping and nothing moved but the water and the sun. The time was not important, but the thick of atmosphere and the damp of unknowing was. Jitters at the cold of morning. Trembling at what could not be said. Lydia moved to make something fluid of her anxiety. Always.

She wanted to be known as someone who knew herself well and was comfortable with that, because she did and she was, but she was never comfortable with the capacity of other people to see these aspects of herself clearly. Too much at stake, she would say. One came to think: too much at stake to take a chance on being misunderstood.  But why?  Why at every moment was so much at stake? I loved this way of concentrating universal truths and global risk into the idea of what another might hear.

In this way, her intensity overtook my capacity for calm or solemnity: these I gave to her, these rights and incantations I placed under her control, hoping there would be a cosmic reward. We would battle together, and we would rest together, and she would see that I understood what was at stake and for that reason, was able to see who she was. But one believes what makes the most bountiful world of comfort and knowing, in the moment; it is nearly impossible to shake this temptation, to walk in broad fields of zen discipline, clear of mind and flowing with the diaphanous mystery of what is true, or might be, and not inject our desire, our need, our insecurity.

She would see or not see what I knew of her, but not because I did or did not; she would see it because her soul was caught up with mine in a way that made sense to her, that gave plenty to her personal mythology. Lydia came and went like the tides, and was a kind of respiration.  We breathed together, and waited together for the sunrise, and we moved toward a certain dream we never openly discussed and never put a name to.

The mystery of what collapsed, when I realized she would not be there the following day, is the mystery of what goes into willing, the will to give oneself up for something of this world, something impermanent, something the stoics would warn you will become like dust and earth and be reshaped tomorrow into something else.

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