A Gift from a Devil - Kevin Zou
Hey? Who are you? My name is blank, writing from the distant horizon.
I was rummaging around the old warehouse when I came across you buried under books and layers of dust.
What an awkward….thing you are? Uncarved and undecorated, you look like a broken tree trunk sleeping at the bottom of a rainforest, rotting and slowly eaten away by those little creatures surviving on you. There must be mushrooms growing around the place where you were discovered.
I can’t help but to compare you with myself, look at the wings and those beautiful feathers of mine, aren’t they just perfect? During those four winters I’ve lived through, I’ve met with some of the most perfect creatures of our kind, flown over vast landmasses and witnessed things you have never seen before. What more would I desire? But you, poor thing, what have you?
I’ve also come across some of your writings, haha, they are very funny indeed. But they are extremely childish to me now, you realize that they won’t ever come true, do you?
How do I know? Well, I don’t know, but I’ve made peace with the past. Whenever I look behind me in time, I see a golden Buddha shining under the sun and it would take up most of my sight. I’ve acquired wisdom, and I’ve learned my lesson, can you not see? What is that expression? Do I disgust you? Have I become someone you don’t want to be? Oh dear…I guess you will never understand what it means to be me, and I’ll never remember what it means to be you.
That double-edged sword…Oh wisdom what has it made of me...I want to warn you but maybe I shouldn’t… for the words might turn into deplores of the vanquished. But be careful, for wisdom might not be wisdom, it is just called wisdom. Thus, whenever the wise man intends to preach, be warned: he has lost his battle, but every inch of his skin screams “I did not lose!”
I think I know you, and I think I know you pretty well. I’ve seen you before in my dreams, not always nightmares. Sometimes I’ll also see people whose names I’ve already forgotten.I know their faces, but I can’t quite justify that. I wonder if you dream about me too? Do you see my friends the way I see yours? Probably not, after all, you are an inevitable past to me, and I am only a thin possibility for you. I’m pretty sure that somewhere out there, in your sweetest dreams, you saw yourself standing on the top of the mountains, acclaimed by everyone around you and crowned by the person you admire the most. Don’t we all dream about that? But sometimes I also wonder if those who had made it dream about them making it. Would it make them too much of an idealist?
For too many times I’ve peeked into the corridor of my future. Through the dim light of the pathway, I could perceive the dark silhouettes of a gigantic figure besieged by layers of thick fogs. I dare not stare at it for any longer because I was too afraid of its devilish forms, and every second I was there I felt a bit closer to that thing. I wonder if this is what you are seeing too: A Buddha in the past and a Demon in the future.
The Demon has powerful abilities, I know because I am one now. It disguises itself as a priest and it rights all your wrongs, wins all your lost battles and forgets your regrets. It forges happiness and it feeds you with it so that you are addicted. But how could happiness be forged? Be warned! The forged happiness is not happiness, for it is only called happiness. And can you not see? The Buddha is not Buddha, it is only called Buddha but it is the work of a Demon.
Don’t you abhor the Demon, for it only wants to live peacefully. But the peacefulness comes with a cost, that whenever it makes peace with its past, it gains wisdom and it matures. Now it learns to evade whatever that might hurt or challenge it, and as long as it stays in it’s shelter it is invincible. How can it possibly lose if it never wants to win? What a wise fool! But the world, my friend, favors the wise fools and calls them shrewd; favors the cowards and calls them prudent. It chooses the igoble and the meek ones so that no more warriors bleed human blood. My friend… my brother, those mighty humans who not only walked out of the darkness in solitude, but also carried a rope on their back and dragged with them the entire humanity… They are like the great Sisyphus who over and over pushes the giant boulder uphill and uplifts the dignity of the entire human race again and again for eternity. They have never lost, for they are still fighting to win. We have never lost, for each time one of us falls another one of us would carry the torch and give the fire to the younger ones as a generous gift.
You! You young kindling! I shall burn myself so the water that softened you evaporates! Carry the flame and run so the decayed wisdom will never touch you! Run, so that you would cross the sky like a star as bright as the sun! Run so that all the ones lost in nihility sees your sparkling flame and follows you! Run so the wise can never predict your future and hurt you with their rusted sword of Damocles. Run...
Though no one has ever got to the destination.
Please accept my present,