It’s not easy, thought Blurtso, being a modern-day Messiah.
Harlan? said Blurtso. Yes? said Harlan. Are you awake? Yes, said Harlan. What are you thinking about? said Blurtso. Differences, said Harlan. Differences? said Blurtso. Yes, said Harlan, political, religious, and personal differences… like what one person thinks is fun and another does not, and what one thinks is proper and another does not, and what one thinks is necessary and another does not. Yes, said Blurtso, it’s amazing we ever get along. I suppose, said Harlan, that’s what love is for.
You’re from Borneo? said Alex. Yes, said Harlan. What happened to your tusks? I had to sell them to pay for my flight. Wasn’t that painful? said Alex. Not as painful as keeping them. What do you mean? said Blurtso. My brothers were killed for their tusks. Oh, said Blurtso. Why did you come to Boston? said Alex. I’m a Redsox fan, said Harlan. Really? said Alex. Who’s your favorite player? My favorite player, said Harlan, is Big Papi. What’s it like in Borneo? said Blurtso. It’s beautiful, said Harlan, there’s more grass than you could ever eat. Do they speak English? said Blurtso. Yes, said Harlan, in the north. Are you a Hindu? said Alex. Yes, said Harlan. What’s a Hindu? said Blurtso. Hinduism, said Alex, is a religion that believes elephants are sacred. Really? said Blurtso. What religion are you? said Harlan. I don’t know, said Blurtso. What religion thinks donkeys are sacred?
Harlan? said Blurtso. Yes? said Harlan. Do you ever get frightened? Frightened? said Harlan. Yes, said Blurtso. Sometimes, said Harlan. Why? said Blurtso. Well, said Harlan, when you consider how fragile things are–life, love, happiness–and how they’re certain to vanish, and the nothingness that follows, it’s natural to be frightened… but you can still be optimistic. You can? said Blurtso. Sure, said Harlan, we still have a tin of chocolate, and plenty of whipped cream.
And as you circle from side to side, said Blurtso, feel that a river runs through you… that the tension in your muscles and bones are branches that dangle in the stream, lifting the water in silver spray… and you are the river… and branches, and spray, and grooves of the surface, and hidden currents beneath…