The Buddha of Boystown
The Buddha
Of Boystown

Ignacio Schwartz
"The waves," I say to Doņa Cale. "It was the waves that got me."

"They always do, Ignacio," she says. "You should know that by now."

"I had never paid much attention to them before," I say. "But once I did, I couldn't stop, and I couldn't take it any more."

"You don't have to, Ignacio. I'm here now." She brushes a pair of red dragon-flies away from my brow.

"How did you find me?"

"They told me you needed me," she says.

"Ah, Sara," I say. Great, warm gentle breasts, and falling rain; the smell of sandalwood.

"Sara, Sara, Sara." I find myself frozen in fear, but then I drift off. I awaken again, my head on her lap.

"I wasn't very good to you, was I, Sara?" I say.

She shakes her head. "What are you trying to say, Ignacio? How could you have been better to me?"

"To all of you, I mean. Do you know I was afraid of you?"

"Afraid of me?"

"It was as if I didn't want to be...I want to say 'I didn't want to be born.' And all I could do was to try to stop it, to pretend it didn't happen, pretend I had never been dado al luz --- given to the light. Are you on fire, Sara?"

"I don't think...I don't...Perhaps they've just turned on the lights. You were saying that you had never...that you were afraid?..."

"Yes, yes, Sara. It's fear, and love...always. You know it's possible to have both at the same time." I stop, breathe in, try to think on what I have just said.

My lips are dry and cracked. She moistens them with an edge of the robe that she dips in the cool stream. A red and white nightbird dances across the branch, nods at us. "You loved me too, didn't you, Sarita?"

"All boys are so loveable, Ignacio. We mothers have no choice." Blue-gold flames encircle her head.

"Yes --- no choice. You needed us as much as we needed you." The clouds whisper to us; the rains fall, soft pearl.


"Bettino and me."

"Ah --- Bettino."

"I didn't kill him, did I? Tell me I didn't, Sarita."

She hums softly to herself, picks a yellow petal out of my hair, dries my eyes with her hem.

"I think we both did, Ignacio."

"Is that why you put me in the...?"

"The box, Ignacio?"

"To punish me?"

"Maybe it wasn't a box. Maybe it was a net, Ignacio. A net can hold you, but it's also there to keep you from falling."

"I could never seem to get out." I feel my face getting warm. I lick my lips again. The tree bows down, the leaves cool to my forehead. It rises up singing.

"You are talking about was, Ignacio. Maybe it would be better as is. It belongs to you. All you have to do is to change it from was to is. It's very simple."

I think about that one for a while. A ruby fox stops nearby; an ocelot licks my hand.

"You are very wise, Sara." I look up at her, squinting a little in the light. "I never knew how lovely you were, Sara. You were lovely then, but now ... somehow it's different." I try to remember. "We were very much in love, weren't we?"

"It was very important for all of us." She smiles. "It's entirely possible we loved too much, Ignacio."

"Is it possible to love too much?"

"That's what being born is all about, for mother, and for the child. Sometimes there's too much love." A peacock strolls through the roses, bowing its head this way and that. A fawn kisses the clear water, four eyes its eyes. Sara rocks me back and forth, humming, humming.

"Where does that song come from?"

"Ah --- you remember it?" she says.

"Yes, of course." It is dark, and I am lost in the field. I have been lying on the ground --- forever, it seems. I hear the train. The engine is one of the old black ones --- dark and powerful, the way they made them so long ago. Its huge fan wheels turn, sparks shower down all around. The steam fills the air above and below, white shadows about the black. There are lights; they are searching for me. I lie with my head to the ground, wondering when I am to be found. Over it all I hear the song, the song of the great wheel that drives us all. Sparks and light and movement, the song and the engine --- a powerful spiritus mundi pouring through the night.

Doņa Cale takes the hem of her cape and dries the corners of my eyes, down to the edge of my lips. The birds turn into smoke, the fox disappears through the garden. "You mustn't be so sad, Ignacio."

"I couldn't escape, Sara. I never got what I needed."

"None of us ever do, Ignacio. We try to get what we can, but it's never enough. That's the way it always is. And you should remember --- that was then. Now we are free --- or at least as free as we can be. The dream you had back then was just that: a dream. You don't have to be there any longer...if you don't wish..."

Where do they learn such wisdom, such compassion? Listening to her words, I feel myself becoming the babe again. "Now I know why I am here," I think to myself. "If I wanted," I think, "I could melt myself down, be so small again, come to her, just the two of us..."

"Go ahead," she says.

"What, Sara?"

"Try it," she says. "You can become the child again, if you want. You can even start again, you can begin all over again, if you wish. It's just like they say. If you give me up, you can have me."

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