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18 October 2005 @ 09:17 am
All of us are looking for ourselves somewhere out there inside everyone we come across. – Carl Gustav Jung

When you pour tea into a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Answer like an echo. – Bruce Lee

Klein hadn’t gone into the forest with any specific plans in mind as to what to he’d be doing in it, and he really hadn’t known what he’d been going to find in it, but it certainly hadn’t been this.

He’d been all pumped up and determined when he’d left, but after a few hours of walking, at first he’d calmed down a bit and he’d begun to show more interest for what the trees, ferns, streams and stones around him had looked like, for how they’d combined under the moonlight seeping in through the branches to create an effect he’d found more compelling than he’d found any painting he’d ever seen. He’d felt like he’d been reconnected with long-forgotten roots and he’d revelled in the privacy and freedom the foliage, solitude and darkness had granted him. The future may have been uncertain, but for once, every moment had seemed fresh and new.

Then, after having spent hours and hours of the night walking and walking, catching furtive blurs dashing out of his path accompanied by a cacophony of cawing, panting, croaking and buzzing calling to him from behind the surrounding vines, stumps and creepers, out of sight but not out of mind, he’d begun to grow uneasy. Questions as to how he’d been going to stay alive without any wilderness survival training, how he’d been going to catch prey when he’d always found hunting repugnant, whether he’d known how to start a fire or not, whether starting a fire would have meant too much risk of giving out his position or not, and what he’d do if a large carnivore had determined that he’d looked edible had begun to sneak their way into his brain. They’d seemed to have found its crevices comfortable enough not to have been easily convinced to move out of it.

In lieu of the machete he’d wished he’d brought to cut some of the vegetation in his way and to be able to defend himself from predators with, in spite of having been afraid of alerting listening ears to his whereabouts, he’d begun to slowly hum the notes of a simple, silly Spanish rhyme which had always reassured him and cheered him up, trying to use it as a psycho-emotional shield against the fear creeping up on him which he’d tried to think of as his only possible meaningful assailant.

El cameleon cambia de colores segun la ocasion...
Tu corazon cambia de colores como el cameleon...

When he’d reached a clearing, he’d believed for a moment that a cliff, a cave or a valley must have been nearby, since he’d begun to hear the same song being hummed back at him from a wide empty spot right in front of him. He’d stopped humming, on a whim, the song had gone on without him, and a chill had run down his spine.

For a moment, he’d thought he must have been having another one of the dizzy spells which had made his eyes play tricks on him when his irregular blood pressure had acted up. For a moment he’d thought that the shock of having left the only life he’d ever known behind combined with the exertion from walking without having slept all night had been making him hallucinate. For a moment he’d wondered if the exhaustion hadn’t been so much for him that he’d fallen asleep on the ground and that he’d been dreaming. For a moment he’d wondered if the stories his teacher had told him about will-o’-wisps could have really been true. After having squinted and rubbed his eyes enough times, he’d been forced to admit to himself that the pixels of light and darkness he’d been seeing coalescing before him must have been as real as anything else he’d ever treated as real.

As the humming had continued tirelessly without any sign of letting up, he’d begun to distinguish the outline of a humanoid silhouette gently swaying left and right like leaves in the breeze along with the song’s rhythm. Color, although tricky to make out at first because of the lingering dark, had faded into it like brown faded into clear hot water when a teabag was put in it, only it’d been green instead of brown. The humming had faded out and creature’s eyes had stopped spinning in different directions taking everything in to settle on him.

- That’s a nice song. I like it. Where do you know it from?
- I... I...
- Cat’s got your tongue, little skunk?
- Who are you...? What are you...?
- Humble student of humanoid behavior and collector of rare objects Boko, at your service. Well, technically my full name’s Boris Chrome, but you can call me Boko; everyone does. To whom do I owe the honor, if I may?

His parents had always told him not to talk to strangers. Then again, his parents had always told him a lot of things he’d decided he’d have been better off not having listened to by then, so he’d figured hey, what’s one more?

- The name’s Klein.
- Is that your first name or your last name?
- It’s what I prefer being called.
- Very well, then. What do you generally enjoy doing with your time, Klein?
- Most of the time? Not very much. I’ve been having to do a lot of things that I haven’t been enjoying for most of my life, which kind of brings us to why I’m here. What about you?
- I think the forest is an extraordinary place to exist in, don’t you?
- I have, at times.
- Not this time, though?
- Don’t get me wrong, it was great at first, but it gets a little scary when it gets dark enough and when you get deep enough into it.
- It’s understandable that you’d feel that way. People are all scared of things when they don’t know enough about them. That’s why I want to know everything.

Klein had chuckled at this.

- I’m glad to see you’d have finally become relaxed enough to laugh by now, but what’s there to laugh about, I wonder?

For the first time, he’d noticed that Boko had crossed his arms and tilted his head to the side while asking a question, just like he’d developed a habit of doing himself for years.

- I wasn’t making fun of you or anything.
- I wouldn’t have suspected you of that for a moment.
- I just thought you were trying to be funny.
- I find humor as healthy to indulge in as the next person does, but for the record, I really was serious, you know.
- No kidding?!

Boko had nodded his head yes with some measure of solemnity.

- Do you really believe that’s possible, though?
- Enough to have invested everything I have in that belief, at least. Oh, look! The sun is coming up!

Boko had run to the edge of the clearing, he’d ducked and coiled his tail underneath himself, he’d uncoiled it pushing his legs against the ground to bounce all the way up to a solid branch, he’d grabbed onto it, he’d snuck his feet up and behind him under the branch between his arms, he’d bent his knees to bring his shins over it and down on its other side, he’d pulled himself up to sit up on it and he’d stood up on it turning around to face the coming dawn. He’d breathed in deeply, filling his chest with fresh oxygen, arms hanging by his sides showing his palms, looking up with a smile of pure enraptured bliss on his face and his eyes closed tightly shut, drinking in the warmth and light like an unusually large detachable leaf.

Inti, Inti, muaytaya, kisisaya, suwa suwa, hi-i-inata...
Inti, Inti, muaytaya, kisisaya, suwa suwa, hi-i-inata...!

It’d seemed to Klein that every possible shade, mixture and nuance of yellow, white, orange, pink and red had coursed and flowed all over Boko’s kaleidoscopic body while he’d chanted, as though the leaf he’d been had been singing its swan song to commemorate having reached the autumn of its life. At that moment, Klein had wanted more than anything to be Boko, even if it’d been only for a short amount of time, just so he could have known what it’d felt like to him to have been there doing this at that time. When the sun had finished rising up from behind the faraway hillside, Boko had turned his body back to green, he’d leapt down from the branch and he’d broken his fall by coiling his tail under him before walking up to Klein with a refreshed, rejuvenated expression on his face.

- I love sunlight, don’t you? It makes everything around seem so much friendlier, doesn’t it?
- You know, I guess it does. That song you were singing there really puts mine to shame.
- You don’t have to be modest, but far be it for me to turn down a compliment from you.
- Do the lyrics mean anything?
- It’s an ancient Incan hymn to the glory of the sun god Inti.
- You speak ancient Incan?
- It’s one of the languages that I speak, yes.
- How many do you speak?
- Name ten.
- Latin, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Japanese, Russian, Greek, German, Sanskrit and Italian. Why, do you know any of those?
- All of them.
- No shit...!
- No shit.
- Wow! That’s amazing!
- Isn’t it, though?

Boko had flashed him a playfully arrogant grin after having said that. Now that he’d received his answer, Klein had remembered another question that Boko’s display had made him want to ask.

- Do you actually worship the sun?
- Among other things, yes.
- What else do you worship?
- Everything deserves to be worshipped, Klein.

Klein had taken a moment to process this. Eventually, since he’d been afraid that the silence would become awkward and since Boko had responded positively and openly to every question he’d asked until then, he’d decided he might as well ask him another one which had been on his mind.

- So you just live out here by yourself in the middle of nowhere?
- I guess that depends on what definition you’re going by.
- What do you mean by that?
- Would it make you uncomfortable if I offered to show you?
- In more ordinary circumstances, it might have, but I literally don’t have anywhere to go or anything to do with my life, so I might as well.
- You sound like you must have a very painful story to tell.
- Yeah, well, it’s something I try to avoid thinking about whenever I can.
- Then you should at least write it down.
- Why?
- It’s very, very important that you remember what happens to you, Klein. It’s possibly more important than I can ever get across to you.
- ... I’ll try to remember that.
- Thank you.

They’d walked together quietly under the shadows cast by the branches and the intermittent beams of sunlight seeping in between them all the way down to the ground on the way to wherever the hell it’d been that Boko had elected residence. Boko had briefly turned his body to a black and white skunk pattern, which Klein had found amusing enough. He'd caught himself staring right at him for several minutes in a row on their way and, by the time they’d finally reached his place, he’d realized that he’d become furiously attracted to him.