Wednesday, January 28, 2009

LOST, Mel's back from the dead, etc.

Hello bloggers.

For those of you who have been faithful reading this blog since its inception in 2006, I want to congratulate you for making it this far, having stuck by me through all of my crazy phases (musical theater, movie reviews, Dexter, Firefly, travel-blogging, and all other randomness that the title of this blog encompasses). My most recent phase has been dipping into the realm of short stories and poetry, due to the wonderful forum of

However, I fear some of you may have assumed that I have lost my regular Melissa blogging voice, amid fantastical tales of sculptures, pagodas, dragonflies and the like. Never fear, I still exist. I and my voice.

In honor of the recent return to Lost, I wanted to revist some of the questions I had the season finale of Season 4 in my previous blog entry here, as well as perhaps address some new questions which have arisen since Season 5 commenced exactly a week ago.

My former Season 4 questions:

Is Claire dead?
I still stand by the theory that Claire died in the cabin explosion, which explains why she was hanging out with creepy Jack's Dad in Jacob's shack. Her enigmatic stare and her obvious lack of concern for mothering Aaron leads me to believe that Claire is actually dead and whatever we see of Claire is just one of those crazy corporealization things that the Island tends to do, materializing people that are actually dead.

Where did the Island go?
Now we know that the Island (or at least the people on it) are now skipping through time. Trippiness to the max.

Is Jeremy Bentham really John Locke?
Yes, I was skeptical at first, but now I realize that the Oceanic 6 (and maybe John Locke himself?) coined the term Jeremy Bentham as a reference for Locke to use off the island, to maintain the lie that everyone on Oceanic 815 died in the original plain crash. I think now the real question is not whether or not Jeremy Bentham is John Locke, but how dying (and apparently cryogenically freezing himself in a butchery?) will save the Island and the people living on it. Hmm...

By becoming the Head Honcho Other, will Locke now become evil and manipulative like Ben?
I don't know if there is anymore validity to this theory. There DOES seem to be two dueling of destinies going on. One, between Locke and Ben, living parallel lives leading up to their appointment as leader of the Others. The other dueling of destinies is between Ben and Widmore, which i will get to in a minute...

Why didn’t Locke just strap that heart monitor to his own arm? (Jin might still be alive:()

Moot point. He didn't know that the heart monitor had anything to do with the bomb. Sad for Jin.

How the heck has Richard Alpert not aged?
I am more and more intrigued by Richard Alpert (or Pretty Eye Guy as Jeanne's sister calls him). He doesn't seem to age and he apparently has had a long-standing position of authority among the Others for decades. I want to know where he came from and why he doesn't age. My question from before as to whether or not Richard himself time traveled (due to his uncanny interest in John Locke from birth) was decisively settled in tonight's episode.

Is Sun trying to wreak revenge on Ben, her dad or Widmore? Or all three?

Hmm I'm a little fuzzy on what happened last week, but she seems to be trying to play all three of these suckers. No offense, Sun, but I think you're biting off more than you can chew at this point. Interesting to see how this corporate battle plays out. Sun is going to be a key player in the Ben vs. Widmore conflict, I'm wagering.

Will Jack find redemption? (and finally shed that Grizzly Jack beard?)
I believe he will find redemption. And he saved off that God-awful Mountain Man grizzly beard, so that was a relief. I think I cheered when he did that in last week's episode.

How will Jack get everybody to go back to the island?
Funny how the more intriguing question now is how will LOCKE get everybody to go back to the Island. I've wavered in my interest in Locke throughout the seasons. He's been kind of a percolating, slow burn kind of character, but this season, the writers are really letting it rip as far as John Locke is concerned.

Was Charlotte born on the island?
I THINK this was answered. Actually, right now, I'm a bit more concerned as to why she is the only one whose health seems to be adversely affected by the rigors of time travel (and possibly radiation from the hydrogen bomb?) I think her inability to cope with time travel has something to do with the fact that she has earlier childhood ties to the island.

Is Sayid Jack Bauer incarnate? (those were some wicked, flippy leg mano a mano moves)

I think he is. And if you disagree, check out the nasty butcher knife in the dishwashing machine action from last week.

How has that time-traveling twist really been at work during the past four seasons, unbeknownst to us?

I think this will begin to unravel. Now we know that a time-traveling Locke influenced Richard Alpert to seek him out as a sort of chosen-one for the island.

How exactly did Ben go from his little ice cave to the middle of the Tunisian desert?
Time travel/teleportation. Now we know. When and where in Lost is completely relative.

How can Desmond really expect not to be found by Charles Widmore?
Again, moot point. He strode into Widmore's office with confidence and resolve (not to mention a wicked awesome coat and scarf), sooooo different from the deferential, insecure Desmond of several years ago. I love how much Desmond has changed. And they named their kid CHARLIE. Ah, I miss Charlie Pace.

What are the whispers!??!?
I really think this has something to do with the time traveling aspect of the show. Past, present and future colliding will allow for some crossing of communication lines on the Island.

How does Ben control the Smoke Monster? Will Locke have the same power? What IS the Smoke Monster?
Talking with Jeanne and Alecia tonight, i realized that I am more interested in the duality playing out between Widmore, and the Smoke Monster is one of the ways this is working out. If Widmore truly is the one funding the Dharma Initiative, it seems to be this epic battle for the soul of the Island between Ben and Widmore. Widmore builds a security fence to keep out the Smoke Monster, an apparently effective device. Ben summons the Smoke Monster to kill Widmore's men in retaliation for killing his daughter. I don'tk now if we'll ever figure out exactly what the Smoke Monster is.

But ESPECIALLY now that we know that a young Charles Widmore was originally one of the Others, this demonstrates even more how obsessive and invested Widmore truly is in the island. He apparently lived and knew the Island inside out as a young man. However, assuming he eventually funds and directs the Dharma Initiative, it will be interesting to see how and why this war between the Hostiles/Others and the Dharma Initiative people played out.

Who is Jacob?
I really am beginning to at least consider more and more that Jacob has something to do with John Locke. Perhaps Locke IS Jacob. I don't know. But now that we know this entire season is dedicated to Locke skipping through time and influencing the past and trying to get the Oceanic 6 back to the Island, it's entirely possible that he influenced Jacob in some way.

And Widmore possibly has no regard or respect for Jacob (as is evidenced by his suspicion and dismissal of Locke's claim to know Jacob), although I'm not quite sure what that means.

Will Sawyer and Juliet hook up (eww… please no)?
They still might. But actually Juliet has grown on me now. She can apparently expertly handle a firearm, AND she can speak a dead language and keeps proving over and over what a valuable, smart, resourceful team player she is. I know she wants to get back to her sister and nephew, but, wow. She kind of looks like she belongs there on the Island. And if the writers play this right, a Sawyer/Juliet thing may actually work. But he's still smitten with Kate clearly, so that ain't happening anytime soon..

I am continually amazed at this show.

Other random thoughts....

-Faraday's mom MUST be Eloise Hawkings a.k.a. Creepy White Haired Lady from the jewelry shop.
-Penny's got a huge target sign on her back. I hope she survives. For Desmond's sake.
-I want to know why Aaron is so important to the island. First, the psychic tells us he must "not be raised by another." But now, the Claire vision (assuming the Island conjured this vision) told Kate not to take Aaron back to the island. Kate's raising him (she's the "another" in question now) and that apparently is against the Island's design or wishes.
-Are we rooting for Ben or Widmore? Or neither?

So many questions.

If you all have any theories to contribute, please share:)

Monday, January 26, 2009

weather report

moments seem sweeter
colors, sharper and more vivid
laughter, more heady and pure
and Time,
far more precious

like rare drops of rain
falling soft and pure
upon the lonely, cracked earth
my thirsty soul revels
in the deluge
and i am
drenched in love
in song
in art
in complete and utter

these tiny treasures
spill and splash upon my face
soaking, enthralling my spirit


quick, love
let me dance
let me drown
before they dissipate
only to return to the sky
as a mere mist
a vapor

a beautiful, immaterial dream.

i'm confident they shall return to me again
whether in a flood
a summer storm
or morning mist

though whether here or there
or when
i cannot say

but until then
i tilt my cup toward the resplendent sky

and pray for rain.

Friday, January 23, 2009

If these walls could speak

If these walls could speak
They'd whisper sweet apologies
With regret in their stone-cold eyes
For the limitless heights to which they soar
Come with a terrible price
Crush and melt a man's very own soul

If these walls could speak
They'd sing a solemn dirge
For the weary backs upon which they were built
Chains and anger clanking in the bitter winter wind
Brick and mortar held together
By the stale, sickly sweetness of blood and sweat.

If these walls could speak
They'd send me their stealthy, sotto voce tones
Warning of shadows pacing the watchtower
Bastard enforcers of fate, of fear and self-loathing
Their rifles aimed at pulsing, throbbing, messy hearts
With an executioner's glare

If these walls could speak
They'd resound with all the insanity
And the howls, the riots, the unspeakable acts
Behind translucent sheets, under tables and behind closed doors
Upon the maimed, the marred, the unforgiven

If these walls could speak
They'd pray down that invisible hand
To carve their sorrow and shame
Upon my flesh and bone
With their haunting tales of angels and demons
And beautiful, fallen ones
Wrestling, warring for human hearts.

If these walls could speak

I'd silence them all.

If only Grace would pour her light down upon me
To melt the steel, the limestone, and the razor wire
Dissolving the patterns, the lies and the illusions constructed
by my imagination.

If these walls could speak, why,

They wouldn't speak at all.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

on prayer: troupe

we are quite the act, you and i.

a dance
a tango
a messy, freeing entanglement
of arms and legs
of hips
of breath
of movement

your hand upon mine
and upon the small of my back
rhythm and passion
and i lose control
over and over
and under
and beneath
fervent summer nights

we inherit the risk
and the whirlwind
while we shimmer together
drunk with wine
with words
with intimacy

the stars blink and smile
and watch our shadows
glide across the floor.

still, my love,
i have traded you in

and i assume the role of master
innocently, maniacally
pulling your strings
jerking your movements
twisting your head
into a garish, ghastly

how i shape this discord
to harness your motion
to choreograph your steps
to contrive and conform into

a safe, pleasant, harmless thing

where i always come out on top
and i rule the world

and so i emerge
perfect and scar-less

a heartless being
a lifeless doll

shake me up, my dear
before i rob myself again.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Short Story: Quest

I went urban exploring for the first time with a small group of friends. Toward the end of our little adventure, an intriguing red velvet wooden box caught my eye. My friend Brian retrieved it, I imagine my friend Jeanne felt as intrigued as I and I promised both I'd write a story about it.

Here it is.

I had heard rumors of the hidden world.

The boy perpetuated the mystery, the intrigue. He claimed to have discovered a portal to an alternate world, but I did not believe him. All I had seen was an empty field and a long white wall that stretched to the long dirt road. The local townspeople had an unwritten contract with all the village inhabitants: No one crosses the wall.

The wall, he declared, is the doorway. We must only pass through it.

Breathless and nervous with energy, he had the glazed look of a boy who had traveled far and wide, to the deep and high places. He insisted on the magic of the place, that we should follow his steps.

I and my friends, we debated on whether we should follow.

Like the Pied Piper, his lilting song of confidence mysteriously compelled us across the field, and before we knew it, we were at the brink of the secret place. The forbidden wall.

I saw no opening. How shall we pass through, we demanded.

He said nothing. He only smiled and leaned forward, nodding at us to do the same.

Hesitant, I touched the wall, then followed suit. A whoosh of bright light enveloped me and I felt propelled forward.

Felt my atoms swirl around, connecting and reconnecting, attaching and detaching, and the light shimmered around.

Suddenly a cold shiver rocked my body and we crashed through an invisible barrier.

Reeling from the shock, I slowly stood up and looked around, amazed.

How the scenery had changed.

Our band of explorers filtered into the courtyard, wide-eyed and exhilarated at the unknown and mysterious that was ours for the taking.

Yet the decay and havoc greeting us both jarred and filled my senses. I imagined the clash of civilizations, of technology, of cultures. Obscenities sprayed in red and black upon the plaster and stone echoed of other wanderers and vandals who had passed before us. Miniature seas of broken glass lay in glittering sheets upon the broken cement and weeds. The chaos of the landscape seduced us into our own personal forms of delight and mischief.

Still, the echos of the place that once was filled my imagination.

I envisioned fantastical dragons swooping down from the burning sky and an emperor robed in regalia to a cheering throng of spectators, swathed in red and cold and a brilliant array of fireworks exploding across the evening sky. I smelled jasmine and burning incense and perfume. I felt an atmosphere, charged with electric anticipation at the crowning of the emperor's new queen.

With these visions in our heads, we raced and flew from rooftop to rooftop, defying gravity, striking brilliant poses against the clear blue sky. Scaling giant rock formations and scrambling up vine-tressed walls, impromptu and amateur acrobats straining and striving only for a new perspective, a heightened panaroma. We roamed the open-air faux temple, a pantheon and graveyard of fallen gods, now profaned with the juvenile scribblings.

I understood, then. The magical world was not one of a noble quest or a daring rescue. There was no ring to find and destroy, no dragon to slay and no palace to defend. The glory of this place was in the brokenness and the decay. The unlicensed freedom it brought.

We split off in various directions, confident we would find each other again. We raced back and forth calling forth to one another, yelling in triumph as we discovered various treasures. These treasures transformed us. One found a thick wooden stick swathed in bright crimson. Leaning upon this staff, he became suddenly wise, a sage with soft, twinkling eyes of wisdom. Another found a broken horse hoof in the dark recesses of a cave. He became a daring warrior, hitting targets with precision and mightily shattering rocks and roof tiles with defiant glee. Still another found a brilliantly pink lotus, and she transformed into a beautifully regal lady in waiting, rose-colored satin and silk robes. Yet another found the frayed edges of a worn map. She became an astute, celebrated cartographer, charged with unlocking the mysteries of the farthest reaches of the empire.

I looked on at my companions with envy at their discovered treasures. I had still not found mine.

The magic of the day seemed to dwindle with the setting sun. As shadows lengthened, we trudged back to our starting point, retracing our footsteps to the white wall.

I noticed the halo of light surrounding before I saw the box itself. It sat atop the rooftop, gleaming in the sunlight.

I wasn't even sure how the box was loosed from its original hiding place. I could see sunlight striking the red velvet, brilliantly illuminating it among the broken tiles, dark and splintered window frames and jagged glass shards of the long-abandoned pagoda.

The boy, noticing my enchantment, said nothing, only smiled. He sprung and leapt, lighter than air, upon the tiled roof, freeing box from its lofty hiding place, handed it to me. I wondered at its mystery, tracing the worn, frayed edges, intrigued by the mystery locked inside. I tapped the side, listening to the satisfying echo of the hollowness.

I wondered at its purpose. Had some passionate love letter, or some tear-streaked confessional been tucked away in the hollow for safekeeping? Had it housed spice packets or cigars or some trinket from a merchant ship? Had it been the sacred hiding place of a child, full of mundane treasures that spoke of warm summer days beneath the cherry blossoms?

I ached to know. I looked for an opening but it was sealed shut. I tucked it away in my satchel, intent on unraveling its mystery in private, away from my fellow travelers.

We reached the threshold and I braced myself for the journey home, the wrinkling of the universe across a infinite, seamless fabric of time and space.

I watched my companions disappear one after another through the wall. I was the last to go. I pressed my body against the wall and braced myself for the icy shock, the disassembling of myself. Nothing. Puzzled, I leaned forward again. I only felt the warmth of the wall.

Panicking, I imagined myself trapped. I dug around in my satchel for my knife, thinking I could cut or scrape my way through the wall. My hand brushed against the soft velvet of the box.

Suddenly, I understood.

Why I could not pass and why the sunlight of this place seemed to illuminate the box for me and for me alone.

Quite alone, I knelt down, knife in hand and gently pried open the box. With some effort, I gingerly separated the top lid from the bottom frame, cutting away through layers of dust and disuse. I lifted the top and peered inside. I saw dark green felt lining the bottom and the sides, but no treasure. No keepsake or locket or partially burned letter. I felt along the inside, hoping for a secret lock or catch or spring inside. I pored over every inch of the box with the delicate care of a surgeon, but found nothing. I thought I had smelled the faint odor of crushed flowers, but shook my head at my overactive imagination.

Disenchanted, I tossed the box aside. I laughed out in derision, at the mystery unraveled, the thrill gone. It lay upon the broken stones, dulled in the receding sun.

But then, a thought.

I picked up red velvet box again, suddenly charmed by its lack of pretense. Shall I merely abandon my treasure? Dare I discard it? After all, it had faithfully carried the stories of its journey toward me upon the gentle breeze, which had long eroded with time and moth and rust. I tasted the salty winds guiding the sails of the merchant ship that brought it here from afar. I saw the glitter of jewels and spices it once held. I smelled the perfume of the heartbroken lady who kept her soul's secret locked away in there. I felt the wood of the teak tree her lover had chopped down to carve this box for her, to burn and bring her warmth with fire, to build their secret haven.

And it was mine.

I felt myself transform.

With a secret smile upon my lips, I stepped through the wall, leaving the box behind.

I caught up with my companions later.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Tension, Dialectics of Thinking and Philip Yancey

Tension. Lately, my heart has been overwhelmed with the intricacies of human thought, motivation and behavior. People perceive situations and process information and experiences so differently, it's a wonder the world hasn't yet exploded (or imploded) from the chaos and pain this tension creates.

I discovered the dialectics of thinking my freshman year of college. In an oversimplified explanation, this is the general concept: For every idea (thesis) there is an opposite idea (antithesis). A reconciliation of these two ideas in a paradox creates a new idea (synthesis). For all of the dialectical theory's flaws when applied to economics, political systems, philosophy and everything else, I do see this kind of thinking played out in the mechanics of faith, introspection and relationship.

Over coffee with a friend the other evening, she drew attention to one of my quirks: I tend to explore ideas from every facet, embracing the extremes and truly contemplating them, trying to reconcile the validity of two opposing arguments. This makes me come across as remarkably inconsistent and indecisive, as I am always adapting when new thoughts or opinions are introduced.

Open-mindedness to a fault.

I've been wrestling with this aspect of myself more and more recently, trying to understand and expose both the pitfalls and glory of such a mindset.

I am a firm believer that for every Truth or Value, there is not one but TWO opposites. That every value is the mean of two opposites. This tension plays out beautifully in the story of the gospel. Faith and works. Grace and freedom. Jesus, both God and Man. God, Three yet One. Kingdom, both here and not yet.

It plays out in relationships: logic and emotion. alone time and community. Vulnerability and boundaries.

We are constantly living in a state of tension, trying to reconcile opposite ends of the same paradox.

I tested nearly 100% N on the Myers-Briggs test. Meaning, in my own thoughts and in my relationships with people, I'm usually [constantly] unraveling meaning and dissecting motives and searching for underlying patterns in everything. It can be exhausting. And it can get me into trouble, especially if I began to perceive things that are not really there. I think I've toned down in this a lot in the past couple of years and have been able to just let go and live in the moment and not be so concerned with unraveling other people's motives or reading into people's reactions. Other people--friends past and present--have graciously [but brutally] shown me that the reality I perceive may not be the same as the reality they perceive. Or more importantly, reality as it is. It's been hard, it's been challenging, but extremely necessary.

But the extremity of this tendency of mine does resurface.

And I'm realizing more and more: we're all approaching True Reality from opposing perspectives and trying to meet each other on some common ground.

I'm in the middle of reading "What's So Amazing About Grace?" by Philip Yancey. I'm moving through the pages slowly than I typically do, trying to savor the words and wrap my mind around the truth. As much as I have thought about [and experienced] grace over the years, I do not believe I have contemplated it to this intense degree. It's really kind of earth-shattering to me, how the patterns of grace are so contrary to the patterns of ungrace that are ingrained in the DNA of the world. Yancey talks about the "atrocious mathematics of grace," explaining this as someone giving up something that costs them everything to someone who deserves absolutely nothing. And how unnaturally far and removed that seems to be from our own day-to-day experience in the economics of being human. I've understood that idea theoretically, maybe even theologically, but translating the atrocious mathematics of grace into every day relationships and attitude is a bit staggering to me.

I'm still processing. The implications are overwhelming.

So far, 2009 has been this crash course in communication and perception, revisiting and reworking the validity of intuition. 2008 was a wonderful year in which this tendency of mine learned rest and restraint.

It'll be interesting to see where this leads in the upcoming year...

Friday, January 2, 2009

Short Story: The Sculpture

This was my accidental foray into a genre known as magical realism. I say accidental because I did not even know that magical realism was a genre until my friend Billy enthusiastically informed me. Gabriel García Márquez (of 100 Years of Solitude) is apparently a recent famous author who is known for this genre, although I have yet to read any of his novels. According to Wikipedia, magical realism is "an artistic genre in which magical elements or illogical scenarios appear in an otherwise realistic or even "normal" setting."

This is my exploration of the tension between reality and idealism, specifically rooted in Western cultural assumptions of romantic love.

I went to the Gallery today.

I had long anticipated this moment. Though it had been months since I had last been to the Gallery, the image of the sculpture burned unmistakably clear in my memory. In my time apart from the sculpture, I often took pleasure in re-creating the memory in my mind.

The statue stood in the center of the enormous circular rotunda, set with windows which poured a steady waterfall of light to its central figure. Grand and majestic, he rose from the dais like a mythical god. His marble form was poised and alert, and every stone muscle, taut with discipline and strength and resolve. His flawless proportions elicited a sense of order and grace. His face, perfect and glorious, turned slightly upward. His impossibly blueish eyes, though marble, seemed to radiate a natural source of light from within. He gazed enigmatically, piercing the souls of all who looked up on him.

Years ago, the statue had been carefully restored and transported to the gallery from its former dominion, from the ruins of a temple, somewhere in the Mediterranean. For centuries, throngs of adoring patrons flocked to the statue, eager at the prospect of catching even a glimpse of his famed beauty. Lines formed and wrapped out the Gallery door and down the street, nearly for miles. Frenzied tourists descended upon the gallery in gaggles of haphazard lines, elbowing impatiently for a chance to have their photo taken with him, though no photograph could do the sculpture justice.

Scholars, historians and even philosophers endlessly debated over its creation and the wonder of its meaning, though none could pinpoint or unravel its mystery. Capturing the wonder and imagination of even the most famous and skilled artists, the renowned statue had inspired poetry, symphonies, and even an opera by one particularly enraptured soul. Curiosity piqued at what music this sculpture would inspire, I went to hear it for myself last autumn.

I remember sitting in the velvety opera hall, allowing the beautiful tones of the arias to envelop me and cause my spirit so soar, even for a brief moment. Yet even as the applause and excitement of the evening receded, I left the opera hall disconcerted, for I had realized the terrible, beautiful truth: All such attempts to capture the immortal were flawed and hollow at best.

And it was if this sculpture encapsulated the very Ideal locked away in every human heart.

I remembered my own early mornings of stolen moments and lazy afternoons I would spend in the gallery. I came as often as I could spare these moments. After all, the ever-changing sunlight altered each attribute, highlighting the subtleties and inspiring contemplation and an infinite myriad of emotions. Mesmerized, I would spend hours in front of the sculpture, studying it from every angle. The contours of the marble sculpted perfectly resonated with something stored up in my own heart, though I could not quite define it.

His beauty unsettled me.

Sometimes I brought my guitar, strumming softly, allowing the sculpture’s beauty to wash over me and motivate my soul as I plucked the strings, singing and humming almost unconsciously. Occasionally (though I am certainly no artist) I brought my sketchpad, merely allowing the infinite lines and shapes that I saw reflected in him to impress themselves upon the blank sheets of paper. Still other times, I brought my diary, scribbling imperfect scrawls of poetry and impressions upon crinkled pages. I could never re-create anything remotely worthy, but I could immerse myself in this. In him.

I felt I knew this sculpture as intimately as I knew my own heart.

This is how my feet carried me toward him today.

Breathless with anticipation, I pushed through the glass double doors of the Gallery that I knew and loved so well.

The clean, white corners of the display hall created a light, airy sense of space. A blank canvas, no doubt, upon which each visitor projected her deepest, most sacred dreams.

Today, the moment of reunion was even more glorious and intimate than I imagined. The gallery was deserted, save for a lone soul sitting on a bench, though I barely noticed him at first. Dust motes swirled and floated around the immense statue like delicate snowflakes, shimmering as the multicolored sunlight streamed in through the upper windows.

I slowly circled the stone statue, marveling and reveling in the moment of being reunited with my treasured sculpture. In a rush of emotion, all the memories of the hours I had spent in that room came flooding back, overwhelming me.

So absorbed was I in admiring the statue, I almost didn’t notice the young man sitting on the bench. He was sitting thoughtfully, his posture both relaxed, clearly enjoying the peace and tranquility of the room. Only briefly distracted by him, I returned my gaze to the statue.

The boy spoke, suddenly interrupting my thoughts. “Do you like it?” he asked.

Irritated to be disturbed in my thoughts, I hesitated. Though unruly locks of hair partially hid the boy's face from me, I realized the sincerity of his tone, that he sought a genuine answer. I thought of how to answer his question honestly. For truthfully, the thousand emotions and impressions betrayed my utter fascination and ardent obsession with statue, rising and burning within my chest, I thought I might burst. “I do. Very much,” I said simply.

The boy seemed to read the complexity of my expression. He nodded. I felt inexplicably understood.

“Do you know the artist?” he asked.

“The artist? Of course, I do. The artist is…” Suddenly, I was shocked to realize and remember that for all of my hours in the gallery, I did not know the artist’s name.

And nor did anyone else. For though archaeologists and scholars had relentlessly tried to discover the identity of the sculptor, all efforts had come to nothing.

The mastermind, the beautiful, sensitive soul behind this work of art remained a complete, utter mystery.

“I do not know,” I sheepishly confessed.

"I know the sculptor." He leaned forward. “I can tell you the secret. Do you want to know?”

Intrigued, I stepped closer to him. Forgetting myself and all sense of etiquette, I suddenly realized that, more than anything in the world, I yearned to know the artist’s name. “Tell me.”

Delighted, a slow, mysterious smile played upon his lips. He leaned toward me, inches from my face and whispered, “No one. And everyone"

Incredulous, I laughed, amused at the absurdity of his claim. "That is impossible."

Still, he insisted, "No one. And everyone. I should know. I was there."

Illogical paradox, I fumed. “This statue is thousands of years old! It is ancient, and you are so young. You are only a boy!” Disgusted, I pulled my face away from his and nearly walked away.

Suddenly, he turned to face me fully, and I was shocked at what I found, staring into the infinite blue of his tender expression.

Looking into those beautiful, ancient, all-seeing eyes, I suddenly understood. For his glorious, piercing gaze was an incandescent window into another universe that held all the mysteries of this world. Of my heart, of every heart.

At once, I knew his words to be true. This was indeed the soul that had witnessed the creation of my beloved sculpture.

Suddenly I felt quite small. "Why are you here?" I asked, both intrigued and intimidated by his presence.

"Vandalism," he replied merrily.

"Vandalism?" His words did not quite register.

"Truthfully. I came to destroy the sculpture." He gestured to a sledgehammer at his side, which I had not noticed until then.

My heart cried out in protest. "Destroy it?"

His eyes danced and sparkled, but not unkindly. "Why, yes."

A indignant fire rose up within my chest. I momentarily thought about grabbing the sledgehammer from him to defend the sculpture I loved so dearly. "But why?" I nearly shouted.

He sighed softly, a beautiful, ancient sound. "Its essence is Real. The most Real there is. Is that not what drew you here day after day?"

I trembled slightly, feeling utterly exposed at his words.

"Oh, the essence is certainly very Real. But the statue itself is not. This Sculpture is a mere refracted reflection of reality. The partial refraction is swallowed up in the beauty of Reality."

I uttered a quick, derisive laugh. "Not likely." But I stood motionless.

"Consider how many hours you've spent here, lost and mesmerized in the beauty of this trinket, this trifle. Despite its utter perfection and the obsession it creates, you remain unsettled. You know you do. For it is the false perfection that disconnects you from the true Reality."

He handed me the sledgehammer. "Go on. Do it."

I stood frozen, sledgehammer in hand. How could I destroy it? The sculpture that I adored and lived and breathed for? Turning toward the boy, I reared back, feeling the gravity of the moment. I thought about crushing him.

No one. And everyone.

I turned slightly, closing my eyes, allowing the momentum of the moment to propel the hammer forward.

I heard nothing but the sound of shattered glass falling around me like drops of rain.

I saw nothing but soft, blueish hues and tones of the boy's eyes explode in brilliance, flooding the Gallery at the sound of the breaking.

I felt nothing but the marvelous surge of joyous intuition as the other universe descended in the Essence unleashed.

And I was stunned to discover at last, how fragile the sculpture really was.