Okay, one more Wesley thing. I’ll get to the jobs we got but the cube thing with Wesley musta been around then. Earlier or later, doesn’t matter. I’ll fit it in now to get over the heavy stuff all together. How’d that go again?
Sitting cross-legged on Wesley’s bed on the floor, my eyes closed. In his dry space in the basement. Don’t remember how it got to that. A day when Petra was out and Gus looking for work or something. So just me humouring Wesley, like. Him cross-legged at the other end, the head of the bed. Purring.
“Empty your thoughts, Mark, just relax. And picture in your mind a desert. Let there be nothing in your mind but a vast, featureless expanse stretching across the horizon.”
I thought of a desert like on TV. Sand, cactuses, white bones. I couldn’t think of there being nothing.
“Now imagine a cube in this desert.”
“A cube of what?”
“Just picture a cube first and then notice what it’s made of, how big it is, what it looks like.”
“Now there’s a ladder too. Picture that.”
“Wherever you want. Look at the ladder. Note how big it is, where it is in relation to the cube, what it’s made of. All right? There’s also a horse now. See it? Look at it. Where is it? What colour is it? What’s the horse doing?”
“It’s trying to—”
“Just picture it to yourself. And somewhere in the image is a storm. Picture that. Where is it? What kind is it? Does it affect anything else in the picture? And there are flowers in this scene. See them? Where are they? How many? What colour? You see all that?”
“Now, Mark, you’ve created a little world. Look it over. Study it and then you’ll be ready to learn an ancient secret.”
The cube in my mind was a giant ice cube but not made of ice. Sorta see-through, hollow, taking up half the desert. The wooden ladder leaned against the outside of the cube for me to get into it with. The horse I’d ridden on was at the bottom of the ladder, bending its head down, nibbling grass. I dunno how the grass got there in the desert. The storm was way over the horizon.
“Are you ready for the secret, Mark?”
It was a few seconds before I got that.
“The ladder, Mark, is your friends. The horse is your lover. The storm is trouble. And the flowers are your children.”
I was going to say, “I don’t have no children,” but then I realized I hadn’t imagined flowers either, so I guess it fit.
“Mark, the cube is you,” he repeated. “You know this is true. Think of how this is true and you will unlock something about yourself.”
And, yeah, I could sorta see this.
“Now describe your cube to me,” he said.
He explained to me my cube rising huge above the horizon meant I was idealistic. Other things showed I yearned for spiritual answers. Wesley said a bunch of other stuff. I guess it all added up, but the weird thing, what he said sounded like just words. Didn’t fit me as much as the feeling I got from just knowing the big ice cube really was me. Make sense?
When Wesley went on to ask me about the ladder and horse and all, I made up a different picture. I didn’t want him to know that stuff about me. But he came up with his whole analysis of my phony picture and, wouldn’t you know, it pegged me perfectly anyways. I made up a snowy blizzard and he worked that in too. And my millions of big, bright flowers of different colours growing over everything.
“But the deepest truth can only be known by you,” he said.
I wondered if I really had a lover. If Petra counted.
He had books, a coupla old guys like Gurdy-off and Something-ski, who showed how the solar system was in our bodies. And he told me about experiments that showed we all have hidden mental powers like ESP and can move things with our minds. And Einstein who proved mind over matter and time travel and some other far-out stuff I didn’t understand. And there was the Hare Krishna levels of godhead, which was supposed to be just like the levels of the epissological or something of Plato and meditating with a secret word you said over and over again inside your head. And maybe, he said, the one truth we could take from the decadent counterculture was the power of the word Love. It wasn’t all we needed but it was what we needed.
And it did all sorta flow together in Wesley’s basement room, sitting on his bed in the semi-dark listening to him. Maybe he was onto something after all.
I mean, Petra’s political stuff was heavy slogging. Like school a bit. With this stuff of Wesley’s, you could just start believing. Like taking a pill.
But maybe I was too connected to Petra by then for Wesley to get to me. Later when I told Petra about it, it didn’t flow together. It was just a mess of different things. We walked around the neighbourhood or laid on the couch and I laughed over things Wesley had said.
But I didn’t tell her about my cube scene. Even when I agreed with her about everything else, one thing stuck in my mind. Was she my beautiful barebacked brown horse waiting at the bottom of a ladder for me?