Saturday, October 04, 2003

as it happens

Evening is fast approaching and there's not much time to say anything, except that I don't want to have been entirely misunderstood. That's why I'm posting all of this. You can do what you want with it as I know you will. You can ignore it entirely because I'm sure you already have it all thought out, one way or another. I suppose it may not matter much to me after tonight.

Highway thoughts

I am grateful for the companionship of H., his easy going manner. I cannot think why anyone would be so loyal, but I cannot voice my thanks. The money is a helpful way to avoid this acknowledgement. As long as I pay him I owe him nothing, yes? I am grateful for the music he plays at full blast that adds the unreal air of a vacation to our journey. I am glad for the beautiful landscape rolling past, for speed and open highway and cool wind pouring in through the windows. Boredom is not possible, even when the landscape is flat and unchanging—all is beautiful. Ignore all the ugly signs, the bulky freight trucks carrying chopped-down trees, petrol, animals for slaughter. Forget who I am and the decisions that must be made. Once I wanted freedom. I think that’s what I wanted. But the most joyous moments come when I am pulled along by the current. I have been puzzling about this since the sun went down, and there is nothing to see but a spot of road illuminated by headlights. I must sleep soon, but tomorrow I will come back to this.


...the stakes are high, the plot races along, throw in some international travel and high speed chases that our star handles decisively and gracefully. G thinks he's the star, but I bet I photograph better.

Actually, there’s been quite a lot of sitting around, leaving our heroine vulnerable to random and intrusive thoughts that sway her mind unpredictably, pushing her ever further out of the present moment. We needed that money but now everything's gone horribly wrong—it is my fault. Because I listened to what HE said. Since when do I ascribe to him the judgement to know what’s right? Am I really so awed by his abilities? Do I really want him to like me so much that I would be swayed by his untrained appraisal of a situation, his childish pride in his new powers? The truth is, I did not do what was automatic. I was acting.

All day I’ve been trying to keep calm and really it would be a relief to just sit down and bawl—some warrior!

"what now?"

Is there someplace in this world that is really safe for us? I am consumed with finding money and allies and means for travel, and G. stares moodily out the window, thinking of distant realms. I wouldn’t mind being in another world, far from my tired body, and the eternal next step. We are on different planes now, he and I. This is how it must be. And so the suicide mission has a worthy purpose. But, looking at him, I feel more alone than I ever have.

In answer to your question

You must understand. Now that we know what you are capable of, I also know you are capable of doing great harm in this world. I can’t believe that you would, but if you were to turn cold, I would destroy you, just as I would give my life for you now. You don’t grasp yet how much you are capable of and what this means for me. I had given all this up before, because I thought there were none like you. I am sworn to protect you now, but we must remain farther apart than ever. I didn’t say all that of course. “Yes, of course I’d kill you,” was more like it.


My training, or far lack of a better word, gifts—make me impatient and mistrustful with others. I don't know what to do with these fears that you've been captured, or have done something foolish and injured yourself. By now our fates have been decided and all I can think about is the awful moment of arrival, and seeing your face.

Playing Tourist

I’ve always loved disguises. I can separate completely from what I aim to accomplish and stay in the pleasurable moment of transition. The increased confidence in my voice and manner stems directly from this moment when I realize my appearance has been obliterated. I am hidden in plain daylight from the Vast Machine and from the attentions of men who call me beautiful. It would really be much better, in my position, to be plain. This time I shall be an aging alcoholic mother, a strayed wife out on the town.

My thoughts return to those commune children, and why exactly I was welcomed with such malice. How vulnerable it makes you, to be a parent. I wonder if it changed my father at all. Maybe all that training for my own good was just a way for him to avoid that pain.

be not afraid

You ask, what is it like? Is that not a horrible way to live? I know it is my source of strength. Your enemy may seem insurmountable but if he can take nothing from you he can never control you. There is nothing that I hold dear, so there is nothing horrible in death, so long as it's an honorable death. Fear is instructive. Survival is automatic. When we started out, my father and I, I would just prretend that death did not phase me. Sometimes pretending is enough to get you by...

third way

I wonder if it would be possible to live apart from the Vast Machine, quietly, self-sufficiently, creating a physical reality from one’s own inner wants and needs, free from the shaping effects of society. Perhaps one could not survive alone. But as soon as you form a group, even in the smallest numbers, the usual problems arise. Greed. Jealousy. A hunger for control. Hatred. Even in this godforsaken place my occupation results in a welcome worthy of a walking scourge. It is a welcome nonetheless because it would be dangerous to make an enemy of me (this does give me some small satisfaction). But still, if I cannot live alone for fear of going mad, and if I can't live amongst people, for fear of the same, suppose I could live with one other… would it be possible to be happy that way? If it were possible, would I risk my life so freely?

Harlequin Eyes

G. is a fool, and put us in danger with his swaggering ways. I can just imagine the unnecessary trouble that will come our way if he can’t exercise some amount of common sense. It was nothing I could not handle but I am angry at having to prove myself before him. At seeing myself reflected in his eyes. A killer. A machine. This he knew, but actually seeing blood spurting from a wound is another matter. Disgusting, isn't it? If only I had the luxury of his repulsion. Who can forgive the things I’ve done? Our kind is despised everywhere. I’ve been fooling myself with this hope of being understood—another classic means of manipulation. I should know better.


My father seemed to be certain that G.’s father was very powerful. Whether these qualities were passed down remains to be seen. If he is gifted, I am sworn to protect him until the end. If he is “just a normal guy,” I am free--the contract is broken and we have no obligation to each other. These are the facts.

My father did not train me for the fact that these beings are people. They want to talk, to interact, to look into your eyes. My father taught me to fight. To hide. To die for something. He did not prepare me for G. I don’t know how I should act, and now there’s no one I can ask.

Motel thoughts

My assumptions about G. were incorrect. He’s led nothing like a normal existence, and when he was talking last night, I realized, sickeningly, that we may even have some things in common. One is never as unique as one thinks. Mostly I was impressed by his need to tell me about his childhood. This is what happens, I thought, when two people share a motel room, and cannot sleep. I lay awake long after he was snoring, listening to every sound outside. When the sun rose I went outside and meditated, grateful to spend a few hours alone.

…Still Travelling

It is sinking in that I am stuck with G., and spending time with him is uncomfortable work for both of is. He is rather impulsive, and a show-off, and I fear these tendencies will work to our disadvantage. Despite his attempts to understand what I have told him, he is really just a normal “guy.” And I find myself talking too much about myself in answer to his questions—a dangerous and unexpected side-effect of a solitary existence. Still it dedges up unpleasantness, and since there can be closeness between us I am left alone with the dedged-up unpleasantness. As soon as I decide that is enough, I cannot say more, he asks another question. And I keep talking, to fill the silence.


I was relieved to drive out of the city, and past the outlying freeway towns, so artificial-looking, with their wide paved streets lined with identical houses. Strange to think at one time I wanted to be like everyone else, functioning within the Vast Machine. If I’m functioning within, I thought, I should give little thought to it—it would be like it doesn’t exist. I wanted to feel like I belonged somewhere. If only it were so easy. For a split second today, though, driving by, I could forget my anxiety about this journey. I was content to not be settled into a routine, to be moving toward an unknown destination. I wish we could just keep driving. Keep moving—they can’t find you as long as you keep moving.

Damned by the…

Disappointing news of the missing brother. Now it seems I will be bound up in G.’s spiritual journey as well as assuring his physical well-being. I just have to convince him to come with me, which should not be difficult, except that we clearly make each other uncomfortable. Still, I no longer fear him as a threat in terms of betrayal. He is more confused, more frightened than I, but seems resolved to fight... and I don’t see anyone else swooping in to rescue him. Well this should be a deliriously happy journey.

Das Wunderkind

I’ve travelled a long way, and used my sword more than once. You could even make the case that I spent nearly my entire life preparing to meet the man I’m guarding now. I’m not sure what I expected, but when I look at G. I don’t see any indication of extraordinary ability. He seems like a normal citizen in every way, if somewhat more attractive than average. I’ve given little thought to what sort of life I’d have if I survive, but now I wonder what the sense is of risking it on someone who’s power is so uncertain? Someone who has not yet done the work of self-awareness? Surely my life, short as it may be, is worth more?

Still Kicking

It's one thing to make a mistake out of ignorance, but it's quite another thing to suspect one is making a mistake, and to continue because of a perceived lack of options. I should have known that I would be betrayed. I know I am alive only because of my colleague's general stupidity and ineptitude, things that I expected to work against me. I cannot make such a mistake again. I must find some quiet somewhere. I think I'm disoriented, being here--I've grown unused to travel.


I’ve cleansed my life of all unnecessary human interaction. Suddenly I find myself needing to eat less, needing to sleep less. The more time I've spent awake the closer I've come to hyper-awareness... remembering the recent past as I anticipate the future. A peripheral view. The few times I’ve dreamed, I’ve seen my father’s face. Not as it was when we had our last awful conversation but after.

The only way to cope is to exist in the moment. To have a clear objective, to be moving, to be travelling. Some days I feel as though I’m clinging to a dying religion, speaking in a dead language, yet I see evidence of our struggle everywhere. This is who I am. So be it. At this moment, I care little for the fate of humanity, of duty or final wishes. My motives are personal. The mission is to have a mission. And then I will disappear.


My father taught me that everything I saw was an illusion. History, the news, and the very structure of society were constructed by a larger power that sought total control. It was this force he was struggling against, and someday I might join him. He taught me to question everything, and he taught me all the answers. I thought this secret knowledge made me superior to the citizens surrounding us, who blindly accepted the lie, and satiated themselves with materialism. Only later did I notice how much happier they seemed, and how unhappy my father seemed.

My father told me I was free to do whatever I wanted with my life. Since I'd been so strictly trained from such a young age, this ‘freedom of choice’ was just another type of manipulation particular to our kind--he never expected me to choose another life once he disappeared. The point is, he was an exceptional man, and he had little need for me. I realized that he could do anything, but he could not love. If he could have, even in the smallest way, Judith Strand never would have existed.

I realize now what a dangerous trap love is. Whether he could not, or would not allow himself any emotional weakness, his ties to me still led to his destruction. I felt alone before, but this is a new and strange and horrible emptiness.