I know a boy. He’s a traveler. Has been for ages. His heart gets heavy when his feet don’t move so much.
It becomes encased in lead when his mind is stagnant.
“He used to be such a nice boy.”
He would hear people lament. They don’t know him so well. What they see now, on the outside, fills them with horror and disgust.
“I feel like I’m watching some macabre underground film.”
One eloquent young lady’s interpretation.
On the inside, they can only hazard a misinformed guess. Flirting with mental health issues on the way. Crude attempts at categorization are just that. Crude. Labels fly like poisoned arrows. Straight to his naked and exposed breast.
Rationalization takes on a gaudy, neon hue. To even ask the question implies the answer will remain forever inadequate. Irrationality seeks to deliver rationality. Never the twain shall meet.
He likes trying new things. He hates people who won’t. He doesn’t care much for their myriad reasons. They don’t want to expand their horizons.
So he tries. And he tries. And then he tries.
Intrinsic motivation dictates that he does for the love of doing. There are no prior rewards in place.
A lot like education. Another thing he loves.
His travels took him to Tokyo, Japan in August 2003. A city with between 8 and 12 million inhabitants. Depending on where you view the city boundaries to be.
Boundaries can be a strange thing. Sometimes set in stone. Sometimes as fluid as the river of time itself. They are there to give us guidance. They are there to be transcended. He tries to transcend boundaries. He thinks more people should.
He has tried many pills. And found his own rabbit holes.
He met fellow travelers in this vibrant, vexing, concrete metropolis. They started out as sole traders. Now formed a solid partnership. A surgeon and a nurse they be. You couldn’t have scripted it better if you’d tried.
I dare you to try.
This merry band had a merry bond. They had performed together before. In a dark, dingy place. Other people watching intently. Marking the moment in their collective memory.
This time saw an enlightened crowd. In both senses of the word. It wasn’t dark. Light flickered flirtatiously. The voyeurs stared with less steel in their eyes.
They had come to be amazed. To view acts that defied rational description. In the world upstairs. And they would see what it’s like to not see.
The boy was not new to this ritualistic play. Previously. Without trepidation. The edges of his oral pothole had been forced to sit tightly together. Sutures and latex. Candlelight and catharsis. Nurse and patient. He endured his discomfort. Spat out his pain for the audience to gorge on. They stood lifeless, sucking everything in. In symbiotic silence. He fed, they ate.
This symbolic show of suture and surrealism was a watershed for the boy. It marked him. He traveled through places never before ventured straight. He transcended those boundaries. The physical plane no longer his gaoler.
Now he was a bridge. To be inserted over the gap. Between the suspended lands of joy. A circuit breaker.
A different taste altogether.
The suspenders were a fellow people of resistance. They swung from far and wide, hooked into their own way of life. They had connections.
There were young and there were youthful. Adventuresome and audacious. Exciting and eclectic. They had fire in their eyes. Electricity running through their veins.
The boy was a traveler. He was bereft of the locals’ oral means of communication. Language barriers are there to be crossed. Bridged as it were. He was already a bridge. This did not prove to be problematic.
Communication comes in a multitude of forms. Here, common purpose was enough. The souls of this splendid evening united. Suspenders, cutters, carers, image makers, onlookers and ritualistic practitioners. All as one. They shared more than a common goal. They shared each moment. They shared each other.
They tried. They did. They didn’t need to be dared to do so.
The boy waited patiently until he was asked to the stage. Cross legged. On a chair. Alone.
This was his next step. Having sewn the seeds before, he was prepared to ascend. The music on. The lights trained.
The curtain slowly revealing his naked torso. He was ready. So were they.
Surgeons usually re-connect what they have sliced open. This particular time it was knot to be sew.
It started sharp. And continued effortlessly. A sliding of metal. Eyebrow to lower eye-socket rim.
An expression on the face of the boy. Ethereal contentment. Imagine the lucidity of his emotions. To feel the heat of your own blood. Flowing freely and without regret. Down the front of your face. Must be a wonderful thing.
Some mused. Some knew. It certainly looked that way.
His surgeon was doing a good job. Sew precise and tidy. Tying each suture individually. Three is the magic number. Yes it is. It’s the magic number. Therefore 3 was to be. Each entry and exit. Times 2 for the eyes.
The music slid and slithered like a soporific serpent. Through the crowd. Onto the stage. Into the boy’s heart. ‘Dreamtime’ the Aborigines of Australia call it. That time when the earth was created. No distractions, just creation. Everything new. As it was on that platform.
Our eyes are really parts of our brain. They have a direct link. Without them we are blind. That does not mean we cannot see. Without sight we can begin to look in other ways. He saw without his eyes. So much more than he had ever thought possible.
External, physical pain soon relinquished its hold to the inner sanctum of emotion. The music faded into background mode. Sensory perception was dulled. Heat. Light. Sound. Touch. All gone. Silence echoed from the faces of the resistance. A surgeon’s scalpel began a cheeky interlude. More redness flowed. More warmth was felt.
He sat there. Eyes sewn shut. Face covered in blood. Looking like he’d suffered. Biblical punishment. From a long gone era. This surgeon had stitched then sliced. An unusual order as surgeons go. The boy looked in the most terrible pain. To be honest. Nothing could have been further from the truth.
Part 1 was done and part 2 was to come.
Lotus is Buddhastic is boy. Boy is Buddhastic is Lotus. He sat there. Perched. Moved yet unmoved. Touched yet untouched. Eyes bled shut. Heart. Mind. Body. He just sat there.
The surgeon had performed his topsy-turvy operation of sorts. Nurse glided in to weave her wicked way. With him. Arms rested. Canada meets Celt. The goddess of ‘kinbaku’ guides the tender hands. This way and that way. Up and over. Across and under. Criss-cross, loops, bows, knot for the faint of heart. Nor for the faint of arm. Like our 8 armed friend of the deep, the boy acquired his own 8 tentacles.
Instead, these were crafted from glowing pink catgut. They bobbed and weaved. They waxed and waned. Effortlessly through skin. Out and round. I discovered later that the boy was only aware of 2 or 3 of his extensions. So lost in his own world was he. His physical interface had conspired to mask sensations normally experienced.
And so he sat, highly strung, up, there on his wee plastic chair.
20 new holes. 2 new cuts. Lots more blood. A million molecules of serotonin. A deluge of dopamine. A new insight.
A lot of respect. An overabundance of thanks. A friendship or 2 strengthened. A lucky boy, that boy.
He sat there transfixed on nothing. Half his own weight. He drifted to the sky and beyond. Unaware of what the resistance were thinking. Pain’s last remnants. Collected like the pools of dried blood around his eyes.
A sudden shift. Away from deep, soul-tickling music. His audio channel was immediately threatened. An up tempo menagerie of sickening sounds. Abruptly he returned. Fire was in his belly. Racing towards his head. Capillaries, veins, arteries. Boom. Boom. Boom.
An acute realization. The fragility of mood. The songs you play. Those little notes. Vibrating the air. Straight to your ear. Chemicals in your brain. Bummer.
He was now just a boy again. Thread and plastic and open. Bleeding. Bled.
On top of a chair.
At the front of a stage.
At the back of a club.
In the basement of a building.
At the end of a street.
In the south of a city.
On the coast of a country.
In the middle of the sea.
Towards the top of a globe.
In a universe.
Just another universe.
There are so many. Your brain can’t even begin to comprehend.
But you must try. Try. Try to comprehend.
He hates people who won’t try.
He will do again.