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D. TIGHTENED BOW

November 27, 2008

Callo’s global high-regard had come on the back of his seminal Layla biography. Nowhere in this tome had he intimated that Layla may have the solution to Australia’s energy crisis in her hot little hands.

You see, there were blokes in the office that would be falling about laughing at this. That oppositional clique had often mocked Callo’s ingratiating tendency to overstate the psychic capabilities of his sporting subjects. So, to spend two years doing in-depth research on her past and her present and not to have… aaargh.

“Layla, what’s going on?” said Callo in anguish. “What’s all this about?”

Layla, her soul unburdened and ever the imp, had begun entertaining the spellbound crowd with a very unnatural light show exhibition. She dimmed her handlights in response to Callo’s plea.

“Callo, my ruddy and beloved biographer… I’ve read your book. I’ve little or no recollection of many of the stories you describe. I’m not saying you made them up… I honestly don’t remember them. I’m thankful that you left out… or missed… a substantial number of embarrassing incidents. What’s not in your book, Callo, is that I’ve suffered from severe, incapacitating bouts of depression for the last ten years.

I’m hugely ashamed of how I behaved in an attempt to self-medicate and even more ashamed of the reasons why I pursued the path of sports stardom.

Yes, I’ve been through the mill Callo… and I’ve come out the other side… bashed up but resilient. Whilst my lifestyle was self-absorbed and full of excess, the experience has absolutely prepared me to deal purposefully with all those who wish to help or hinder the unification of the planet. I’m candid not candy.”

As a young girl, Layla had grown up in an idyllic, loving environment. Her family and friends talked about the inevitable emergence of a peaceful and just world order. This talk exhilarated her. When she imagined the attractive characters of this fantastic future world, they were always smiling and had unlimited energy.

She’d excitedly restate this picture of the perfect society to Pippy. He’d beam and say… I believe in you, Layla. You’ll do it. Reliant on you to bring about the embrace. You’re made for it. You betcha, Pippy, I’d do it for you… She’d reply.

She was being groomed to implement this global challenge.  She was comfortable with it. She had unique powers, a direct line to… if not God… at least a higher being and was carrying within her the most beautiful message… the harmony of humanity. What could go wrong? Quite a lot… as it turned out.

After high school, she went through a period of reflection where she mulled over how to create this sparkling world unity. She was already a celebrity sports superstar and reveled in the attention it brought. She strangely decided the best solution was to continue doing what she was doing only more so.

People would be so awed and inspired by her athletic excellence, she gushed to Pippy, that they would readily accept her explanation of the oneness of humankind and the need for social and legal structures to equitably share the planet’s resources. Pippy didn’t object. So, she assumed he was good with it… right?

In her heart she knew she’d done a back flip on her expected level of participation… that vanity had a part to play as did fear and naïveté.

She was afraid people wouldn’t like her as much. Having become accustomed to almost unanimous admiration she didn’t want to risk losing it by sullying her reputation in some mucky political field.

She was afraid of assassination and black ops. She was more secure than a tank with a re-inforced floor but she wasn’t invincible. Ominously, the past months had seen September 11 and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Her efforts would step on the toes of the powerful who would not hesitate to use whatever instruments they had to retain full control over their dominions. She’d be collateral damage at a desert gathering or, more sickeningly, her family would be suspected of terrorism and questioned in Cuba. Or her darling Joel would be broadcast on the internet… blind, deaf and mute… with his limbs amputated. All of this they could justify as being for their greater good.

Most of all she was very afraid that she’d make things worse. She had no idea how the world worked and what action she’d have to take to realize her fine international and inclusive vision. Pippy, he only spoke in the vaguest of terms.

No, although she was ashamed at having misled Pippy, she still thought it best to concentrate on what she did know and, having gained some life experience, review the situation in a few years.

Her strategy of convenience had repercussions which manifested in the periodic plunging of her mood and self-esteem. This was exasperated by her binge drinking. Yes, early on in the piece, this former one woman temperance society discovered alcohol had some benefits… and partook copiously. It mellowed her and had the added bonus of keeping Pippy at bay.

She was a high functioning drunk. Her public mask was flawless… possibly because she loved what she did and still attached a modicum of importance to it. Her sports and leisure achievements gave her highs but, to maintain the intensity, each new challenge had to be bigger and bolder.

She woke one afternoon, like many afternoons, full of anxiety and cringing at her previous night’s antics. Paralyzed and nauseous she let her mind wander through the moments of her imaginary death. Disappointing, lonely, unsatisfactory and over. Soul bellow. A burst of horrible unfulfillment. Worse than being assassinated.

She sighed dejectedly when the dying was all done. More, more. Okay, where to next? She trundled up the tunnel and waded sluggishly through the uncomfortably icy brook till she arrived at the final bank. It was only one metre high but she couldn’t climb it. Her arms hung limp and useless… no, it was no good… couldn’t jump out… couldn’t topple on it. She was stuck. Oh, typical.

More, more. She had, for some time, harboured the opinion that Pippy had sold her a bill of goods. In mournful apathy, she replayed some of the thoughts that had led her to this view.

Her dear Tahirih had died unnecessarily.

Her boyfriend and girlfriend had betrayed her and run off together.

One six o’clock an airplane wheel demolished a Sydney kindergarten.

Another six o’clock, on Boxing Day, she woke in her Coburg basement excited to be going to the big cricket match at the MCG. Less excited when the news broke that enough people to fill the MCG three times had perished in an enormous and international tsunami.

Get this though. Shortly after her 21st birthday, during a rare argument, Graham revealed he was not her dad… and wouldn’t say who was.

Eventually, having taken all that she could bear lying down, she forced herself to get up. She covered up anonymous and, still harrowingly overwhelmed, hauled herself to a nearby park.

She slouched on a bench in front of a children’s playground. A large one. Forty kids mingled and nine adults stood by, solid and serious. This is Coburg and it is multi-ethnic. The kids were variously clothed and coloured. Was that Farsi she heard? No, she couldn’t be certain… she had never kept up with her Farsi. They were probably Afghans. And those were Indian. Eastern European. Lebanese. Anglo.

A little white girl… four years old… ran up to two hijabed girls on swings and asked if they would be her friend. The two, older… about ten, looked at each other and giggled. They got off their swings and bent over her. Then, one girl pushed the little one and both ran away. The little girl, having recovered her balance, set off after them at a steady but unremarkable pace. Oh, they were playing tag! Now, they were taking turns to swing the little one around. Careful, careful. Later, finger pointing and poking, the little one was earnestly setting the rules for another game.

It was cute and… you never knew if the next event would cause tears or joy. Despite the continuing burning of her brain and the fatigue in her cells Layla felt lightened. These people, the adults too, are so beautiful… going about their business. The tormented Layla silently wished them all peace and many blessings and, in return, experienced moments of the most perfect serenity she would ever feel.

You should know by now that Layla is a beautiful girl. Somehow, she managed to take from her nihilistic experiences something extraordinary. In this case she understood that opposites could co-exist without contradiction… she’d never felt so physically and mentally abysmal yet she experienced pervasive peace. She sensed the resolution was annihilation.

More specifically, she picked up from this playground trip the notion that life’s like light. Instead of a wave-particle duality she insighted a grain-aggregate pairing that twisted around each other like in the DNA double helix.

You could observe humanity through a single grain of it… for instance, that four year old girl… and that grain is the most valuable asset in the Universe. To be responsible for any physical or mental harm to her would require severe retribution from the Creator. Now, to do her good… doesn’t bear thinking about.

Or you could observe humanity as an aggregate, a massive ocean of civilization moving through time and space in response to God’s tides. One billion could perish in a splash on the rocks or as the result of waves crashing into each other and it would be quite… in accordance.

Layla saw that that she could retain this pairing in her head without it exploding. I put her most shocking interventions down to this acquired capability. Anyway, vanity and fear had been expunged from the picture. One to go.

It took a few more months but Sholeh eventually got her across the line. During their frank conversation following her World’s Religions gig, she uttered the magic sentence.

“A positive world unity won’t come about until humanity en masse becomes engaged in the construction of a just world order.”

It clicked. Immediately, the affliction she had solely saddled herself with evaporated. Not only did she not have to know how to do everything, she shouldn’t do everything. The WCA and people like them were many… and more than competent. She just had to do what she could… and open doors for them.

[Layla, continuing]:
“My intention is to bring the WCA to the global political table as an influential partner. Quite frankly, they’ve had limited success in gaining the ear of world leaders. My expectation is that, over time, we can look forward to a world where no nation can impose its will by military force and where the opportunities for each newly born person will be greater than currently exist for even the wealthiest of us.

Which brings me to the real purpose of today’s conference. In my new sober state I’ve been having far more interaction with Pippy. More meaningful too. Last week, he described an awesome aspect of humanity. Let me share that experience with you.

He said:

BE is the Bow of Existence.

Imagine you are on narrow land jutting way out into an endless ocean cutting it in two.

The back of your huge head touches the sky and the tip of your nose digs into the earth.

Horizons on both sides.

To the left… your parents and theirs. All your ancestors.

To the right… your children and theirs. All your descendants.

You are the knot, the fulcrum.

I saw it all. A staggering sight. Past and future family stretching off into infinity.

Got a colossal shock too. But, no matter. Overwhelmed by the beauty of the revelation I quelled it.

I was elated. I felt connected in a way I never had before. Feeling a tremendously tranquil and supportive equilibrium, I burst with love for all these people. I understood and accepted the place of my small strand of individuality in this large silk garment.

And Pippy said: you’re not alone.

Suddenly, I became aware of teeming millions of huge heads and their bows sharing my space. Our ribbons were all jumbled up together. It was so noisy… but fascinating. I observed them all… past, present and future… as they responded sincerely to their days. And, yes, hands up, I lingered longer on my children. Four!”

Callo was bewildered but euphoric. He, too, had seen his bow. As had everyone else present. They all experienced a most extraordinary level of well-being. Callo was determined to rescue his relationships with his ex-wife and son. It was great… fan-tastic.

[Layla]:
“The present situation in the world is unacceptable. I want the world leaders to arrange a week-long forum. Every leader must attend to discuss the way forward with me and the WCA.

This is the end of the line. It might be. Until that meeting there will be no conception… no new babies.”

We hadn’t expected that. Callo was horrified. He saw the right side of his bow disintegrate. Surely not. He couldn’t make sense of it. Layla was not a monster.

“That’s not natural. Beauty like a tightened bow. And then snap!”

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