ILLAC PHASMATIS Chapter 1:
[IX - ELLE-1: The Anomalous]
Above: ELLE-1 begins her Kommunion with Water, Earth, and the rest of Nature. As directed by her Spiritual Guides.
The dark maroon wine cascades into the glass like silk ribbon. My delicate fingers cup the glass firmly and sniff the wine. The glass winks like a clear coat of polish in the candlelight, I rotate the glass in my palm and let the wine make small waves.
I sit at one of the signature places in the high-rise restaurant and lounge selections in Chicago. I smile inwardly and scan the menu, my eye catches the title of what they call their "Hybrid Brunch" served on Sundays and Saturdays. That's synchronocity for you. But it's well past 6 p.m. central time, so my attention is on the dinner menu.
I inhale before taking my first sip, the wine's soft bite leaves kisses of aftertaste on my tongue.
It's close to the holidays again. I am repeating a new ritual established about a few years ago, something impossible before I accepted this research project and walked into that classroom back in the year 2009.
Red wine goes great with red meat, they say. So today I indulge in that. Last week, it was the opposite: A Piniot Grigio with grilled salmon, in a lower-level bistro in Tokyo. While I like the conventions of
matching foods with wines, I will eventually mix up the flavors and foods, just to see what people have been missing...or avoiding.
I wonder how surprised the waiter will be when I hand him a credit card in my own name. To be honest, the meal tonight really isn't that expensive after all. This glass of wine and I am enjoying, for instance: Free.
It came right on time too. I was in the middle of looking at the wine menu. The waiter placed the glass in front of me, and it presents itself before me on the black tablecloth and makes no sound. I remember how the waiter smiled back at me as I looked up with genuine surprise and joy.
"Compliments of the gentleman across the room."
My eyes glint with joy. The law of attraction, as usual, is strong with me tonight.
And it is just beginning, from what I can tell. An appetizer of tofu vegetable medley is already on its way, a blend of lentils, tofu, mushrooms, garlic, bell peppers, and chopped chives sheared in saffron – tomato broth, topped with sliced carrot rosettes. A compliment of another gentleman just two tables over. The low lighting and candlelight actually highlight his features well, and I admit that he has good hearing. I guess he must have overheard me when I told the waiter that I also enjoy vegetarian food.
I am aware of human male standards and expectations. They watch me in my turquoise silk halter top full length dress, my collarbone and wrists adorned with turquoise beads. The question of whether or not I should be alone has probably entered their minds now. They are unaware that I enjoy being alone. But just a few years ago, I would do anything for their company.
Above: ELLE-1 Meditates with Water. Water is one of the 1st inhabitants of the Earth. It is said that natives of America and other parts of the world could call upon the rain and had the ability to make the water dance. It has been noted by TAF that water in other universes is intelligent and would never harm another entity.
I also wonder if these two gentlemen are aware that they have competition. But the competition will not be from me. I intend to accept their gifts with gratitude and enjoyment. This happens often, so I intend to project my expectations towards them, and leave them with an unconditional love that they don't expect from anybody. An unconditional love and interaction that is sorely missing among my people.
And all without ever touching them.
I enjoy another sip from my wine, and project my intentions towards this reality that I have created. Here's the question I ask myself. Was it always like this? I receive many stares tonight. Many watch me dine alone, yet I remain in perfect peace. I actually enjoy the staring. Was it always like this?
I answer no to this. A few years ago, I feared the stares of others. The explanation is always lengthy when people explain why they don't like being stared at. But from what I learned down the line, the explanation is actually quite simple. People are afraid of being found out. I myself am not afraid of being found out, quite frankly am glad that I don't find myself that important.
I feel the quick glances of a woman like flicks of warm water. She sits to my immediate right. She wears a black knee length dress with a slit in the side, black platform heels, diamond studs in her ears. She places her square nailed manicured hand over her boyfriends and says to him, "I dress for myself" (Eyes fluttering glances over his face, smiling to show the whiteness and straightness of her teeth that glint under raspberry pink lipstick).
Really? Analyzing the way she cast several sideway glances at me before she said this statement, it doesn't take me long to know her subconscious message: "Notice me! Love me! Like me and accept me!"
I am glad I don't feel that way anymore. In a way, I sympathize with her, but not really. For the first time in a while, I really do understand the meaning of a ping-pong game. That is what duality is after all, or at least a fraction of it.
I go back to the memory of when the Novie called me "the anomalous" for the first time. I pick up the silver fork, delicately slice the square of tofu in my complimentary vegetable medley appetizer. My periphial vision catches the gentleman two tables over leaning in to see my reaction. I remember I was a completely different person then, and the Novie's statement genuinely perplexed me.
I hear the Novie's voice as clearly as he were sitting across from me, that quiet joy and fun loving acceptance always dancing in his tone. "I don't know about you, ELLE-1. You're an anomaly, I can't figure you out."
When I look back, I remember that I still knew some things that my former group members and his former students did not realize at the time, and still don't realize now. After analysis, I knew they thought the Novie wanted us all to be grateful to him, to be dependent on him. Though it never surfaced to my conscious mind, and I never spoke it out loud, I knew something the former group and his former students did not.
I know that he did not want them to be grateful and dependent on him: He just didn't care.
He didn't care whether or not we found him to be a wonderful person, or a wonderful being. He didn't care whether or not we had gratitude towards him. The gratitude was not for him to have. The gratitude was supposed to be for ourselves. And that makes sense. After all, being able to sit here in this city, lights and stars interacting like dancing ghosts, candlelight flickering softly over me, enjoying this meal, accepting everyone around me without judgment--this is something that I thank myself for. And in a way, when you have genuine gratitude to yourself, the gratitude automatically goes to others. It's part of the unconditional love that begins with you and projects outward thereafter.
I acknowledge the flame on the candle in the center of the table, knowing it has a life and essence of its own. It is not here to serve me, and so I project in acknowledgment nonetheless. Staring at a flame was part of the lessons that I didn't understand at first. I hear the Novie teaching us about the essentials of meditation, the same day that he called me "the anomalous". That lesson was part of a series of required reading that I still consider an important part of my own learning foundation. I saw the results of my own learning, and I saw how others learn after reading this foundation of required reading. For that reason, I decided to make it part of the curriculum that our future students and present students must take when I joined this company.
In the restaurant, the level of chatter increases. Dishes clack about me, giggles and titters go about, and yet I remain in a peaceful silence.
The memory comes back to me now. My former group members, my former classmates in that class, always said that I was the quiet one, and it was the quiet ones that you have to watch out for. As the candle flickers glowing gold, the voice comes up from behind me and says,
"ELLE-1, you're so quiet today!"
Continue to Part 2 here