"What suffering have you brought me today?"
Sitting on a throne of bone and gristle, that dark demon pondered what gift I brought him. Having sent me out into the world of Man to find a morsel worthy of his might, I have brought him much horror in the past, a thousand thousand forms of anger, hate, malice, destruction...all a feast for him. I yearned to be able to bring him something new--a delight upon which he could feed for ages.
Each meal I brought him, surely fitting, was becoming commonplace for him: He-Who-Eats-Sorrow was growing bored with what wares I could muster.
As I approached his dark dwelling, he leaned over his hideous forearms, squinting to see what it might be that I had in tow. My prize, as it were, squirmed in a burlap bag, and would remain hidden until I chose to reveal the wonder within.
"My Lord," I began gracefully, while I struggled to pull the heavy weight I bore, "I bring you a tart of such delectability."
Huffing, I pulled steadily; all the while he stretched his gnarled neck in hopes of catching a glimpse that might reveal more than I wished.
"This meal," I continued as best as I could through my tired breath, "is one you have not seen before; or perhaps, not one you've had in a long while."
This caused him pause, "New, you claim?"
"Yes, master, or at the least rare."
"Bring it closer so I might smell it."
I brought my bundle as near as I could, and eventually I could carry it no more so I halted and collapsed in a limp lump beside it; and just as he said, he sniffed the air around the parcel. The deep smell of flower and perfume must have filled his noxious nostrils, for it did the same to mine when I encountered this find.
"What suffering smells so sweet? It sickens me!"
Yet even with his protestations, he continued to inhale in hopes of discovering my prize before it was unwrapped--a game he enjoyed greatly.
"Is it, Loss of child?" he puzzled.
"No, not sour enough."
Another breath closer filled his lungs, and he worked desperately to not wretch.
"It could be the anguish of defeat," he regaled; but just as quickly dismissed his own idea with "No...too commonplace. This is something truly different."
Stepping closer, he poked the bag with a bent, black finger. It gave way in a squishy dimple, and the whole mass pulled from his touch and moved away.
"Interesting! It is an animate thing! Rare, indeed, this find!"
This praise, from someone so loathsome, felt as hollow as his compassion. He was soul-less, and his words mocked the very meanings as he intoned them.
"I worry, Lord, that this meal you cannot eat. See how it eludes you now?"
True enough, as he approached, the whole moved to a new location on the crumbling courtyard.
He sent me a look that pierced like javelins. "Any sorrow I can consume!" Perhaps my words injured his infernal pride?
Again, he played his game: "This must be longing?"
I think he was trying to see if I would accidentally give it away. Naturally, longing would be sweet, yet longing this was not, the bouquet was wrong--longing is not nearly as strong as this. I smiled coyly, I knew how to play his game as well.
In a huff he exploded in frustration, "If not that, then this can only be..."
He trailed off, perhaps he didn't know, or perhaps he guessed it finally; whichever the case, when I unveiled my masterpiece-capture he was in awe.
"I present," pausing for dramatic effect, "love."
And there, in the dimmest of light in the darkest circle of Hell, fueled by the power of hope itself, sat amorphous and contemplative, yet forever changing, love.
"Fool! This is no sorrow, I cannot eat this!"
"Oh, is it not?" I replied. "Look, see deeper: Love is worry, it is concern, it is anger, it is argument, it is pain, it is loss, it is fire from within, it is need, it is envy, it is pride, it is lust, it is all this and more. Forever changing, forever different one moment to the next, this is a suffering unimaginable that lay before you! This is the end of all suffering and yet the cause of so much!"
He looked at it with eyes that did not blink; he listened and stood only. His rage diminished as my words echoed throughout the hall.
"Here it is, the thing that will sustain you forever with its unending, unyielding complications!"
He then tried to grasp it, but could not, for it moved, changed, and slithered away from him. Love has no defined form and it changes often, which darkened his mood considerably.
For one such as he, love cannot be caught--it is chased and never found. That is how I left him, seated before a meal he was unable to eat; and his own sorrows multiplied within until he succumbed to them utterly.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
What suffering have you brought me today?
This is just something that sort of "hit me," I'm not sure if it's in its final form, and just like the subject, it can change at a whim. Not sure where I was going, really, or what lesson my whacked-out brain was trying to teach me with it, but here it is, a short story about something we all chase unrelentingly.
Posted by Phil Hall at 12:33 PM