Monday, March 31, 2008


I'm probably cheating on content challenge, but I have a feeling you would rather read this than an account of the rambling three-hour extravaganza I attended this evening (though it had its own special charms.)

This is from Baby Be-Bop, one of the brilliant books by Francesca Lia Block.  It makes me think about David ... because, like Duck and Dirk in the story, I had a premonition I would meet him ... my soulmate.

This is near the end ... Dirk (a punk rocker) is having a near-death experience, dreaming about Duck (a surfer), who he hasn't yet met ... but will.  In Dirk's dream, a man is telling him a story about Duck, who is searching for love and not finding it.

Where are you? Duck called silently to his soul mate, the love of his life whose name he did not yet know.  By the time I find you I may be so old and messed up you won't even recognize me.  Maybe this is what I deserve for wanting to find a man.  Looking for you always, never finding you, poisoning myself.
Soon Duck will meet his love.  When Duck sees his love he will know that the rest of his story has begun.  It will not be too late for either of them.  The sweetness and openness they were born with will come back when they see each other in the swimming, surfing lights.  

And we are still young, Duck will think.  I wish I had met you when I was born, but we are still young pups.

They will still be young enough to do everything either of them has ever dreamed of doing, to feel everything they have always wanted to feel.

When they first kiss, there on the beach, they will kneel at the edge of the Pacific and say a prayer of thanks, sending all the stories of love inside them out in a fleet of bottles all across the oceans of the world.

And the story was over.  Dirk felt he had lived it.  Was it a story told to him by the man in the turban who now sat watching him from the foot of the bed?  Had he dreamed it? Told it to himself? Whatever it was, it was already fading away leaving its warmth and tingle like the sun's rays after a day of surfing, still in the cells when evening comes.

"Who are you?" Dirk asked the man, his voice surfing over the waves of tears in his throat.  "Who is Duck?"

"You know who I am, I think.  You can call me by a lot of names.  Stranger.  Devil.  Angel. Spirit.  Guardian.  You can call me Dirk.  Genius if I do say so myself.  Genie.

"Duck -- you'll find out who he is someday."

"Why are you here?"

"Think about the word destroy," the man said.  "Do you know what it is?  De-story.  Destroy.  Destory.  You see.  And restore.  That's re-story.  Do you know that only two things have been proven to help survivors of the Holocaust?  Massage is one.  Telling their stories is another.  Being touched and touching.  Telling your story is touching.  It sets you free.

"You set some spirits free, Dirk," he went on.  "You gave your story.  And you have received the story that hasn't happened yet."

Dirk knew he had been given more than that.  He was alive.  He didn't hate himself now.  There was love waiting; love would come.

He was aware, suddenly, of being in a dark tunnel, as if his body was the train full of fathers speeding through space toward a strange and glowing luminescence.  He wanted that light more than he had wanted anything in his life.  It was like Dirby, brilliant and bracing; it was a poem animating objects, animating his heart, pulling him toward it; it was a huge dazzling theater of love.  On the stage that was that light he saw Gazelle in white crystal satin and lace chrysanthemums dancing with the genie, spinning round and round like folds of saltwater taffy.  Dirk also saw the slim treelike form of a man in top hat and tails, surrounded with butterflies.  When he looked more closely Dirk saw that they were not regular butterflies at all but butterfly wings attached to tiny naked girls who resembled young Fifis.  Grandfather Derwood, Dirk thought.  And Dirk saw Dirby too, Be-Bop Bo-Peep, tossing into the air wineglasses that became stars while Just Silver, balanced on the skull of death, held up her long ring-flashing hands and moved her head back and forth on her neck.  He wanted to go to them.  But there was one thing they were all saying to him over and over again.

"Not yet, not your time."

Dirk McDonald saw his Grandma Fifi sitting beside him, her hair cotton-candy pink as the morning sun streamed in on it.

"Grandma," Dirk whispered.  He looked around.  White walls.  The smell of disinfectant.  Liquids dripping into tubes, into him.

"Where are we?"

"The hospital," Fifi said.  "How do you feel?"


"The doctor says you're going to be just fine."

"How long have you been here?"

"Oh, quite some time now.  We've been telling each other stories, you and I, Baby Be-Bop.  Past present future.  Body mind soul," and Grandma Fifi squeezed Dirk's hand, knowing everything, loving him anyway.

Dirk closed his eyes.  There was no tunnel but there was light -- a sunflower-haired boy riding on waves the ever-changing color of his irises.

Stories are like genies, Dirk thought.  They can carry us into and through our sorrows.  Sometimes they burn, sometimes they dance, sometimes they weep, sometimes they sing.  Like genies, everyone has one.  Like genies, sometimes we forget that we do.

Our stories can set us free, Dirk thought.  When we set them free.


Blogger David said...

I always thought this was so lovely. I think this book was the first thing you ever gave me.

9:29 PM  

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