DEEPLY AWAKE: ENTANGLED by Kathy Vik
“Two Angels Fighting” 6-6-14
What you are about to read is the first taste of a new literary genre, one we will call Karma Noir. Due to its implied and, in later works, quite stunningly obvious eroticism, this is a project I am doing off-line. I think all expression is valid expression, and I hope you enjoy this. If you don’t, that’s ok, I won’t make you buy the book. This is an offering, a taste of what else is brewing within Deeply Awake: Entangled, and me. Blessings, and Namaste.
It was Tuesday night, and we had, the five of us, gotten into the habit of gathering at one of our houses, and watching a movie that would challenge and soothe us. Most of us arrived to the host’s house high, close to peaking, and some stayed clean, already high enough. But these friends, we understood each other, and we enjoyed movies.
Tonight it had been The Matrix.
I’d had a deep couch lock going on, and, as I settled into this grand tale, I felt familiar, and happy. I peeked a glance at my friends. I wondered why five? Why five of us? I never really knew, but it’s an odd number for a group, literally, figuratively.
As the movie rolled, I remembered what was to come, and saw it with new eyes, fresh eyes. I sat transfixed, but then, the fighting was always there.
I found it ridiculous, this fighting. The only ones beating each other up were those who couldn’t be harmed, not really. At least, not without some sort of extra punch, some unexpected circumstance. Otherwise, all of these guys were impervious, to the laws of physics, to the law of time, with space nothing more than a construct. So satisfying, so deep, so sound. And yet, all the fucking fighting.
I got up when the little Chinese dude said, hey, you can’t go further til you fight me, for one can only know another through the fight.
What fucking bullshit, I thought. I shuffled outside and had a smoke. It’s something the boys need. It’s something they need somehow, and it is pointless and stupid and a waste of time. “A bunch of dick measuring,” I spat out, as I lit my smoke and sat under my tree. I could smell dank, sweet smoke, coming from the curtained back windows, fluttering, every now and then. I was glad. This had not been a good Tuesday for our little group. We had gathered ragged, feeling beaten up, especially Calvin.
Calvin, for all his sweetness, just couldn’t seem to get things right, right now. He’d been canned yesterday, and today he found out his lease wasn’t being renewed.
I thought about him, as I listened to the techno music and grunts, the slaps. I pictured Keanu in his coat, his shades, in battle with his arms coming up, clocking, blocking, fluidly dancing, and always, once initiated, in the posture of allowance, letting things go through him, becoming one with the blows, the bullets, the characters.
A good high. A spring night. Lilacs, I could smell lilacs. I didn’t realize it was time for my lilacs yet.
And so, I fell asleep, under that tree, as I sometimes do when the high leads to vacating what had been so engrossing, so enthralling, just moments before, before I closed my eyes.
It was Calvin who woke me up. He was shy, would never ask me questions, kept a distance. I knew him to be respectful. Too respectful, I suddenly thought.
“You guys done already?”
“It’s midnight. Joe and Anne are in your spare room, and Claire is on the phone with Becca. They’re having a disagreement.”
“Yeah, they like those, don’t they?”
Calvin shook his head as it bowed. He sighed. “Yeah, they seem to.”
“What’s up, guy? You are far away. You seem very sad, actually. Are you very sad, Calvin?”
He looked up at me and smiled, just a tiny one. Most wouldn’t have seen it, or might have thought it a tic. “I’m not sure it’s sadness. Melancholy, maybe. Just blue.” He grinned then, a flash of teeth, then his face settled to his usual expression, one of neutrality, observation, thought.
I looked at him, now seated on my spool chair, the one I’d made in woodworking class last year. His legs were long, and came off the chair like a spider’s. I wondered where the rest of them were. I imagined him sitting silently, suspended on a spider web, waiting, knowing he was waiting, and that his wait would certainly not be in vain. I could feel that sort of steadiness coming off of him. A spider, hanging out on his web. Why would I think such a thing? Oh, yes, I thought, it’s his legs, how they are bent, dark and light, coming off this chair.
He came around us, and he enjoyed our company, but I always felt that he was not fully present. He was holding back. I wondered, now, in this moonlight, why that could be. I knew only one thing at this point. I knew I was not allowed to ask.
And so, I got up, and went in and got a pop. I came out again, and found, as I was walking down the porch stairs, that he was watching me. He was smiling again. Cautious, but, something was beginning to change, about him. I did the math, suddenly, trying to remember how many hours it had been since I started tripping. I think it is is me, I thought to myself. I don’t think it’s the high. I shrugged. What does it matter? Along with the pop I snagged from the kitchen had been another chunk of magic chocolate. Whether it was him, or me, or the high, suddenly became irrelevant.
I settled into my hammock, my giving tree holding me as I looked up at the stars. As I settled in, I asked him what he thought about the movie.
He just smiled again. He’d never seen it before, I remembered him saying at the beginning of the evening. I loved first impressions of movies I knew by heart.
He told me about all the things that, of course, can’t help but be liked. Clearly, he had payed attention. I sipped my pop, looked up at the moon, listened.
Silence came, then. I turned to him, looking through my hair, now down and wild. I liked smelling it as I talked to him, seeing him through this haze of hair. “Go on. I want to hear more. What do you think it was trying to say? This one is not as bendy as 3. 2 is good for the scene in the underground lair. What did you like best?”
“I liked the fighting,” he said, slow and deliberate.
I liked the fighting. Great, I thought. Another one. Another beast, another one who thinks there is some worth in struggle. But, maybe it was the moonlight, and maybe it was his haunted face, maybe it was that odd, tiny grin of his, that made me ask the question that changed our conversation.
“What is it about fighting that you find pleasurable? I am trying to understand. Could you tell me?”
With that he stood from his chair. I was relieved that he just had the two legs. He loped over, and laid down next to me on the ground, so I could see him, from my hammock. He said, “I think there is a misperception about fighting. I do not fight to inflict injury. I do not fight to cause pain. I fight to know myself, and to know my opponent.”
“But, if you already know yourself, why the physical contact? What is it about this that is attractive? I ask because it’s everywhere. Most movies, songs, all of it, it’s about this fight, you know? What is it about the fight?”
He was still. Silent as the night. Quietly full as the moon.
He sat up, in to a lotus pose. He smiled, and he said, “Is it an article of your faith that things cannot be known until they are experienced personally?”
I considered this. And as I did, I understood that maybe Calvin had been quiet around us, and tolerated among us, because he just hadn’t been ready to show himself yet. He had always been a member of our little club. I just hadn’t seen him before tonight.
And then I thought about the personal things which I could never explain, could never share, things that were experienced only in a personal way, the real things, the articles of my faith. Meditation. His spider legs. Last night’s prayers and today’s miracles.
“That is an article of my faith, yes, Calvin.”
“Then I think it is time that someone show you, let you experience why.”
“No,” I said, and chuckled. “No. I don’t fight. It’s against my beliefs. It is against my religion.” I smiled, and lit up a smoke. I was beginning to peak again. I wanted to be left alone, to feel this movement, to hear the galaxies spinning inside me.
“And, is it an article of your faith that resistance is the root of all suffering?”
I sat up then. Awkwardly, to be sure. I stood up. I looked down at him cautiously, from up above, as I said quietly, reverently, “It is my dearest one. How did you know?”
“We travel in the same circles. Haven’t you noticed?”
“What are you? Why haven’t you revealed yourself to me, to us before?”
“I can’t say. Language is not a friend of mine, not like you. I don’t speak because I don’t do it good.”
“What do you do good?”
And with that, he got up, faster than a man of his height could. He approached me, got nose to nose with me, smiled and said, “Why, I fight, of course. You think this unenlightened, and your judgment has made it impossible for me to be seen. You have not been able to see me before tonight, that’s all. And I can feel a battle in you. I feel you might be a better fighter than you think.”
It was at this point that I began to feel a pull, a need, to do something I had never allowed myself. I saw he was wiser than I had given him credit for, more accomplished than I had assumed.
“How did you learn to fight? Is it MMA? I thought about doing MMA for a time, but then decided it was too out of character, too rough. Is it boxing? Kung Fu? I know a little Tai Chi,” I rambled.
It was then I could see that his body was wound tight. His muscles were tense, hard, hidden under skin which was almost silken, out here in the moonlight. He looked sort of pale tonight, when he’d come over. Pale and little. I wondered about this. I let him speak.
“It’s very much like Kung Fu. Its origins are lost, its practice unnamed. It is simple though. Just a few positions. Nothing too hard. Are you up to try it? I could show you. Here, now. Maybe Claire will get done with her Becca drama and come watch us. What do you say?”
“I think it’s better to live my articles of faith than to just keep repeating them. It’s not mine until it’s mine. Where do you want to go?”
We walked over next to the vegetable patch. I deliberately planted nothing but onions this year. I stood there and smelled my onion field. I saw how the moon was now eclipsed by this tall, odd, unknown man, his face now looking on me indulgently. I knew he could sense my confusion.
“Don’t worry. I won’t laugh at you. You can’t do this wrong. And you might enjoy it.”
He then showed me the moves, fluid ones, graceful, circular ones, some of the same moves my little nephew did one day, so excited he was, eyes sparkling, when he asked if he could dance for me. It was these moves my little loved one had known and moved with, moves that had seemed to turn him into an ancient Chinese man, bearded, long fingernails, diaper, brown, old, dry, leathery skin, happy face, glowing eyes.
The. Very. Same. Moves.
And, when I saw them, all I could do was move with them. They were contagious somehow. I found myself moving in ways I did not think I could. Fluidly, slowly, with mindfulness and presence. This man had so quickly cast a spell, I had not been prepared. I had not been prepared for this dance.
And then, simply, quietly, reverently, he turned to me, I him, and I knew then to bow, for it had, by then, was coming back to me.
I could feel another come to me, delighted to once again do this old dance he had known so well, one he had mastered, high in the mountains, one he was doing to this day. I could feel his skin. It was indigo. I could feel that my hair had lengthened, and it was dreaded. It smelled of the earth, of my holy cow, of my beloved wife, of patchouli and sweat and peace. All the aromas of this sainted, blessed life I had known, so long ago, now flooded me, still living, still dancing.
I bowed. Calvin bowed. And he disappeared. He was replaced, as I had been. As I had been.
And in front of me was my greatest ally, my fiercest enemy, the one who had pierced my heart, lifetime after lifetime, but only after begging him to. I saw the dance we had done, throughout time, bowing to each other, sometimes giving pain, sometimes taking pain, always transcending and becoming the pain, dissolving, becoming all, the all, and returning to the fight, within a moment, inside the breath.
I was breathing rarefied air. I heard my ancient music, it was coursing through me now. I and he, as always, just like always, becoming the beast, slaying the beast, taking the beast in, releasing the beast. Each of us, taking turns, and now, his green skin glistened with sweat he had not yet earned, his now transformed monkey face oddly reassuring in that moonlight.
No longer anything but will itself, intent itself, so fused had I become, I knew what must now be done.
I approached, and with one swift move, I had him on the ground. I did not touch him, lying there, not a toe did I place on him. His being thrown had been action, reaction, simple math, glorious physics, and with just two or three moves, he was finished.
I looked down at him, no longer a spider, no longer a simple man, no contradictions available, him now only power, realized power. I knew my eyes burned him with the moonlight I knew to be my song. This was, it was clear, the challenge he had been seeking. I smiled, cocked my head, said, “Get up. That was too easy.”
He laughed harder than me, and was on me faster than I had anticipated, though I knew the blows would come, strikes which spoke in an ancient tongue, affirming with each touch that we had come to a time we had held as sacred, the knowing, that this night would come.
My only enemy, my finest friend, my greatest challenge. Equal in power, differing in expression, my muscles had expanded, my simple female body gone, my chest solid, muscles my armor, utter balance my shield, my communion with our dear mother and father my sword, and I was, I was, my body, my nerves and skin and muscle. And the ring we now circled was what each of us would someday realise, that we’d not needed to become, but were, this which was guiding each battle.
He settled. I could sense his breathing lengthen. I moved away, as did he, and we moved in a circle, that deep, moonlit night. We were no longer in my backyard. The wind had started to blow. It was cold. I could feel the goosebumps, could see them over his skin, felt his body ease, knew it was time to complete what we had set out to do, this lifetime, once again, in this lifetime. As neighbors and decision makers slept, we paced. We studied each other. It was a hunger which had overtaken, an ancient hunger which had moved us about, deep in the folds of our stories, when we had forgotten.
I found my right hand raising, without my volition. I saw it shape into a mudra, and from the center point, came light. The blue light of our home. Our home.
And he, just as naturally, had come into his own pose. Mudra complete, circuit complete, I saw his head begin to stream with light. Oh! I had forgotten! How I loved it, when he first had done this for me, so long ago, so long ago.
And with that, we bowed deeply, and we stayed low, and we felt the exchange, a greeting few remembered, one we had begun, so long ago.
And we then engaged. I came up close, my chest challenging his, pulling it to me. I knew this outcome, could feel it, and needed this to be known, throughout time, throughout space, within and without.
I shot an arm up, clipped,him, applied a hold only we knew, for we had developed it, and he went down like a sack of potatoes.
I moved around him and taunted, “I see you have not become more clever. Your reflexes are still slow. You disappoint me. I expected more, old friend.” I laughed, and liked how deeply this sound traveled through me. Curious, my female voice did not boom like this, was not seductive and cruel and intoxicated like this.
And his hand found my ankle.
I felt his hand travel up from ankle to calf, and then, to my knee, to a tender spot, one I had forgotten my vulnerability to. I felt a shock travel through my body, my lungs received such a hit, and I doubled over. It took longer than I would have liked, to recover. I had forgotten this hold.
The words I had used to taunt turned to copper, took wing. I had forgotten his prowess.
I stayed bent over, and I turned my head. I saw his shining face, from this skewed perspective, and smiled as I said “This is too easy.” I crouched then, moved into his body, skin to skin, and, with my lips to his sweaty ear, and whispered, “Concede. Just concede. The outcome is assured. This is not your night. Give me more. It’s time.”
My matted hair tangled with his, strands tearing away as we parted, leaving tracers hanging in the air.
And then, a terrible sight did I witness. I cannot really believe, to this day, that it happened. Still, I wonder if any of this ever happened, now, looking back on it. But in this state, in this awareness, chilled and burning, never more calm, never more powerful, I saw my body react with a backward stumble, as he somehow expanded what he was, what he had that would, perhaps for all time, establish dominance. Submission. Order.
He felt massive, and the light radiating from him was, frankly, blinding, even to my adjusted eyes. What had been a moonlit night had turned into a miasma of color and sound, and we were no longer as we had been.
Winds blew through us, then, winds we had both forgotten, the winds which had blown us here, to this Eden, all those lifetimes ago. And with this light, with this celestial awareness, I saw my light grow. A simple Shiva I had been, a great warrior, with a bad temper, but I have learned the art of control, of patience,of inner strength and power.
Oh I had been much and I had been many, but I had never been this.
And from that day to this, like I said, I can’t be too sure if that even happened, really. Calvin didn’t come around after that, and after a while I stopped looking for him, even in the ethers. Searching became an afterthought. He seemed to be everywhere. He and I, it was the same thing, it was an old battle, it was a warrior friend gracing me with knowledge, it was an agreement fulfilled, I’ve come to reckon.
My life changed a lot after that, whether it was a dream, a trip, or something else, something more.
And that is my story of two angels fighting.