Seahorses' Eyes
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A Story
"Crossing the Great Waters" drawing by Tom Kryss, 1972.
    Going into the darkness
To equate light with love is misdirected, Alora once told me. For certainly theres as much love in darkness as there is in light. Going into the darkness I didnt know what to expect. I had some vague, romantic notion, I suppose, that going into the shadow lands of my own being could be done with a light held fast in my hands. Or strapped to my head like a miners lamp. I didnt really want to go into the darkness without a light. Without a guide. That felt too scary.
Between worlds
 To be the book.
I imagined that I had even found a find of spirit guide to hold my hand on this journey. Like Dantes Beatrice. The old man and the young girlI remembered writing this poem when I twenty-two years old. The old man and the young girlthe old man who represented wisdom and knowledge through experience; the young girl who represented promise and hope and immortality. Was China this young girl that my intuitive vision had seen so long ago? A woman who could travel out-of-body. A woman who had not understood her ability to travel this way and who had given up this childhood gift when she entered college and majored in psychology.
         But how else ygonna go, Rimbaud?
          David. Wake up.
          I opened my eyes slowly, not wanting to let go of the dream.
          But more than anything I wanted to see her again.
          Its you, I whispered, a little stunned.
          Of course its me.
          I mean, the girl in my dream.
          Well, I hope you had a sexy dream. She smiled mischievously. Ive got to go now, she said. Its almost seven. My little girl will be waking soon.
          Shes at your mothers, right?
           As I let go of the dream I remembered the night before.
          ChinaIll call her .
          Thats not her given name but it suits her.
We met in a smoky piano bar. My friend Melina Foster and I had been to an arts theater to see a black and white Spanish film called The Sargossa Manuscript, one of the most amazing filmsalong with El Topothat I had ever seen. On the way home we decided to stop in at a restaurant bar near where we lived, sharing a house, along with another friend, Jan Nelson. Melina ordered a gin and tonic, her favorite drink, and I ordered a glass of house red. We sat quietly talking at a table near the bar and I noticed the woman at the bar about the same time she noticed me. Actually, I looked her way because I overheard her talking and her voice brought back a flood of memories. Her voice reminded me of Christine Isbell, a woman that I had known for two weeks (and loved) years before while traveling in Greece.
          I had never picked up a woman in a bar. I had never even gone into a bar with that thought in mind. I dont really care for bars. Sure, in my University days in Eugene I drifted into Maxs almost every night. But that was different. I had never picked up a woman in a bar but I knew that I couldnt just walk out and not talk to this woman. I got up and went to the mens room, because to go to the restroom I had to walk by the bar. The woman and I glanced curiously at each other. Coming back from the mens room our eyes touched again and I murmured to her, Ill come back.
          Ready to go? I asked Melina.
          Melina didnt care much for bars either. Why we stopped, just a fluke, I guess.
          Melina had noticed the connection between me and the woman at the bar. She didnt say anything though. I think Melina had giving up long ago on understanding the romantic entanglements that I got myself into.
          I dropped Melina off at our house, not far from the restaurant, and then drove back to the bar.
          Would she still be there? Would she remember me? Would she have a man?
          I didnt know the rules of meeting a woman in a bar, if such etiquette did exist. The woman didnt seem surprised when I showed up. She didnt seem indifferent but she didnt seem that excited. I didnt know how to read her or the situation. I only knew my feelings and my feelings urged me in the direction of this woman.
 I sat down beside her. I ordered a glass of wine.
 We looked at each other.
 Can I buy you a drink? I asked.
 She told me what she wanted.
 Some strange name that Id never heard of.
A young black man dressed in a tuxedo came out and sat down at the piano and started to play. We got our drinks and moved over to the piano. And thats where we stayed until the place closed, chatting and joking with the piano man. A good-looking dude too. He seemed to know her. What if they had an understanding? Am I being stupid? Do I go? Do I stay? Back and forth I went. Whats shes doing here anyway? She not really looking for company. But I cant just let her go; I might never see her again.
So I kept hanging in there, waiting for some signal.
We danced together near the piano.
The piano man seemed to be on my side. He wanted to get us together. Softly he sang a French song, Ne Me Quitte Pas, a song that Nina Simone had made famous on her album "I Put A Spell On You." Maybe he was just a romantic, the piano man. Maybe we were all romantics, caught in a smoky web of time, just a boy and a girl in an old-fashioned movie with the piano man playing Sam Cupid, playing romantic songs like Stardust and How Deep Is The Ocean, drawing us together in the shadows.
          Come 2 oclock the bar closed.
          What do I do now? I still didnt know.
          She seemed as uncertain as me.
          You have a way home? I asked
          She nodded. My cars out front.
          What do you want to do? I asked.
          She didnt answer at first. Then, more to herself than to me, she said, Why not? Why not do something daring?
          I waited.
          I drove my mothers car. Follow me and Ill drop it off.
I walked China to her car and then followed her for about a mile to her mothers place. Damn, the speed she drove and all the turns that she made I thought that I might lose her. Did she want to lose me? I wondered. Hell, maybe she shouldnt even be driving.

China had a five year-old daughter. Her daughter was staying at her grandmothers for the week-end she told me. China lived in the same apartment complex as her mother. China parked her mothers car and then we drove to my house. We tip-toed quietly up the stairs. China paused to admire a large oak-framed print that I had hanging on my bedroom wall. It was a painting by Adolphe-William Baugureau of a beautiful, half-naked young woman fending off Cupid. The woman in the painting has both arms outstretched against Cupids shoulder and Cupid, a naked, white-winged boyish-looking cherub, has an arrow in one hand, poised above the womans heart. The young woman has a smile on her lips, as if shes playing a delightful game with her small brother. I like Baugureau. I had picked up this print at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu when Melina and I drove down to Ojai in the spring to attend a series of J. Krishnamurti talks.

I was living on the second floor of our house. I had a bedroom, a bath, and a small room that I used as a writing room. Melina lived downstairs in the main bedroom and had a bedroom that she used as a studio. Jan Nelson lived in the basement. Jan had just finished her medical internship. She was a surgeon. Some nightsusually Melina and I never found out until the next dayJan would be called to the hospital to do emergency surgery. She developed a strong dislike for motorcycles, after seeing what these accidents could do to a mans body. Jan and I often had long talks about life. Well, perhaps she didnt talk all that much but she knew how to listen and she knew how to ask interesting questions. Onceactually, more than oncewe were talking about sex and, this time, she said, I could never surrender to another person. Jan, I answered, what has the other person to do with it?
Have you any music? China asked. I want to dance.
I put on Alan Stivells Renaissance of the Celtic Harp.
Oh, nice... she sighed, surprised and pleased by the music.
I think she expected something not so spiritual. She asked me to light a candle.
What she did next took my breath away.
She stripped off her clothes and danced to the music.
I sat on the bed watching her. China seemed to be in a trance with the Celtic music. She could have been an ancient temple dance, an incarnation of the beautiful nymph Psyche. I wanted to be here with this woman and only with this woman. Chinas dark blond body the whole meaning of this earth. Her dark blond body the wound I carried in my heart. Her dark blond body the last dance before the world came to an end. I hardly dared to breathe, hanging by a thread to a feeling of wonder and timelessness. Knowing that the universe had given me a precious gift, as if suddenly the veil between heaven and earth had shifted, and, like the flight of a wild bird going to nest, all that I ever wanted danced sweet as a breeze to my door beside the deep woods.
I was a goner, I tell you.
I want to touch you, I whispered. She came close to me and I kissed her belly.
I held her for a moment, resting my place on her warm flat belly. I felt her body shiver as my lips touched below her belly. Delicately, I tasted her with the tip of my tongue. She pulled away to lie down on the bed. She lay there for a long time as I hungrily kissed her sweet, wet, gorgeous flower. Finally she reached for my hands and pulled my mouth to her mouth. She wrapped her legs around me and we danced another dance, as if the world had never ended.