Taking the long way home, we crossed the street and passed under a line of trees with lights wrapped in their branches. The lit up in order, stop to bottom, to give the impression that of snow falling brightly. I wrestled with thoughts: who I am, what it means to be someone, moving forward in time. I wondered again if the future was real; if the past was mainly imagined; if the moment was like rock dropped on the surface of pond. Was I the sum total of the ripples? Or the water? She hadn't said anything for a block. I watched her look at the buildings, the lights, and then ahead. I didn't know what she was thinking, but I could see her doing it, thinking.
The subway stairs lead down into the dirty bright light. Through the turnstiles, past the men playing flutes, onto the platform. There was a man in front of us, an Indian man wearing a heavy winter coat. He walked briskly, maybe for about 20 feet, and then took off his coat and brought it to the bench. Walked again, came back, put it on. I had to watch him for several minutes before I realized something was wrong. I began to wonder: schizophrenia? Maybe, maybe he was experiencing psychosis. It was a feeling more than any fact. Many disorders are like that; you feel them first, but only after you open yourself to others. Like opening your pores. Then everything comes in and how it moves tell you what you need to know. You use yourself to know another. It's a sacrifice.
Imagine burning at an altar. Imagine the smoke rising up into God's nostrils, pleasing him. And so He comes down into your mind and gives you some of His light. You can get something for nothing. This is how I know other people, what love is like -- all kinds of love. Not just romantic love, or the kind of love it ripens in when the weather is right and its carefully tended to. Also platonic love, of friends, neighbors; familial love, of brothers and sisters and parents; love for a child, a son or daughter; all swallowed up by the one hungry love that does not distinguish between any of the others. Past boundaries. That love like water filling up the container you give it.
All my life, I try to make myself wide enough to hold as much as I can. I am greedy for love. I'd rather lose myself than not keep trying to hold more.
Dr. Klein arrives at Cliff's house. The night before, Cliff had a dream:
I am running in a meadow and the meadow is full of children. I don't recognize any of them; they are people I have never seen before. Then the sun went down suddenly like someone turning off a light and a gray spinning circle came down from the stars in the sky. The children started screaming and I guess I was a child too, so I ran with them back along the path towards the schoolhouse. My mind was suddenly filled with images of tress on fire, and I smelled the planet burning. The circle sped past our heads and I heard it making a sound like piano wire before it stopped in front of us. Shaina came out of the circle, but it was not quite right; her eyes where all black and her fingers were too long. "I don't love you anyway," she said. And I said something like "What do you mean, anyway?" And she lifted her shirt and beneath her breasts were holes like open mouths, writhing along the edges as if say something in slow motion. I felt scared and said it again, "What do you mean, anyway?" Shaina said "Cliff this planet is in danger. I am going to eat you all up and keep you safe." Then her arms grew very long and she reached out and grabbed a girl with pigtailed blonde hair and pulled her to her chest, where the mouths grew and grew until she stuffed the girl in and said to me something that sounded like DEAD and that's when I woke up.
"Cliff. What's going on?"
"Did you bring it?
"I brought it."
Then Cliff shoots Dr. Klein.