|The Broken Bodhissattva
By Jonathan Berman
Once upon a time, I was so in love. I turned to face the darkened and obscured figure beside me on the park bench. The chilly night air I felt as of for the first time in my life... its funny how you only seem to know cold when talking about the loss of love. That's when I feel cold move through me, cold takes on a life of its own; mine. Cold went from a feeling to a presence. Warmth sits on you lovingly like a cat. Cold comes like a reaper, a scythe of winter slung over its back, dragging regret.
I heard the question again from the man, he'd been asking it like a metronome on a piano, or like ocean waves slowly moving in, and the receding, so I only heard part of the question at each pass. I suddenly felt pain in my foot, I'd been rubbing two toes together for so long I'd torn the skin, flayed myself like a summer trout, smiling to be supper, on that old park bench.
The question, what was it again? Ask me again. "What happened to you?" I looked up, face like a mountain slowly stirring after ten thousand years. I'd given up on movement, perhaps I thought Death could not find me if I stood very still.
And so I looked up, face resigned, pulled taut as if to hide a yawn, sleep too had become a stranger, my cells slept in shifts... so part of me was always awake, not like the cat who sleeps all at once.
"I don't know," I said. "I used to be so in love. Oh, not with a person per se, but with everything. I had a strange sort of mystical confidence, and desire to make others happy. A Tibetan once told me I was the incarnation of a Bodhissattva, I didn't believe him, but I can't say it didn't make sense, I was the broken Bodhissattva."
"And what broke you?" The figure asked. Life, choices, the wrong ones, I thought to myself. "How can there be wrong choices if you learn something from them?"
September 12, 1972: 508 PM
The car sped from suburb to city like a bat trying to get back into Hell, and that was the day I was born. A premie, 5 lbs 2 ounces, a star falling from the sky of my mothers eye. The fifth child, to a family already sinking, the boat was smaller than you thought mother, and the holes would make themselves known all too soon, and they did.
There's an honesty that most don't know, and those who do rarely express, for fear of hurting someone else, and its where this pallor of politically correct and looming fear arises, settles upon all of us like a funeral shroud... we dare not even mention it, this man behind the curtain, it is not God, it is the honesty, the honesty we've smashed its head in with a shovel, caved in its skull and left a corpse in the darkness.