Samuel looked over the picture. It was the picture he had waited for. How long? He could no longer say, years, decades… maybe it was centuries. The picture was faded, darkened with an amber hue. It was as though it was from another world… And it was. It was from the other side of the Looking Glass - the human side.
Samuel gazed at the picture – rapt in attention. Yes, she was beautiful. A beauty like none he had ever seen before.
He looked at his arm. It was changing, the hair was growing thicker. He knew the time was short. He picked up the quill, opened the ink bottle, dipped the tip into the black pool. There was no choice, the parchment was blank. He began to write as quickly as he could:
Your beauty possesses a tremulous yearning, set in the gentle pursing of your lips, the arch of your neck, the rise of your cheek and most of all in the softness of your eyes. Your beauty is of another age, as though you were a romantic heroine in a newly discovered manuscript of another century. Your beauty is made from the matter from which wonder is weaved – and thus so bewitching.
If it be true, as so oft professed, that the eyes are the portals to the soul, then these eyes are the true incandescence where beauty resides. For your eyes seem filled with a gentle sadness, but not of darkness or unhappiness, but a yearning of knowing that just beyond the next horizon there will be found at long last a truer love.
The eyes of your yearning are born of the beauty of perception and intelligence – perceptive will that cannot help but see the very depths of another’s soul - a perception that yearns to know another so well that they are taken and absorbed into your being. That is your power, your mystery - a yearning that seeps into every crevice, every hidden recess of your lovers’ souls. It is your power with every man, because from that yearning there is nowhere to hide. And thus we, one and all, are bewitched - haunted by your specter for eternity.
Your eyes possess still another power that emerges from the discipline of your art, of one who knows what it is to ply a craft from morn till night, so that you are the art – and instrument of the will. Your beauty is revelatory, for there also stands the artist, strong enough to have laid bare the depths of who you truly are to yourself, yet so pliant to as to meld, command and to take over another’s music. For under that gentle appearance of yearning is a steely will that will never ever let you leave its audience untouched.
Yet within this yearning there is also a countenance of beckoning – a wistful wishing from another time –a temptation to a dreamscape of languorous, lotus-drenched lake filled with a watery consciousness whose depth has no end.
Though your eyes, so beautiful, also seem to seek surrender to that very same art that was the stern crafter of your gifts – to release your magic and power and lay yourself bare before another.
For we both know what is transcendent beauty. That we have tasted. It is no dream, it is real. It begins with the deepest of yearnings, an unmet craving that steps beyond any fleshly desire. Its achievement can only be had through the richness of our loves. So are these eyes of beauty that which is beyond the bond of body? For what I see in your eyes is eternal – a recognition of the beauty that is you – and me - yet beyond both me or you.
"Melody is Man’s yearning unto Heaven. Harmony is God’s answer unto Man"
The question is often asked whether any of the tales told herein actually did take place in the world as we know it. Or whether it is more fiction and fable than fact. Well, truth be told, words are always nothing more than myth – for each is but a representation of something it is not. But behind such foibles is this bit of fact: There is the truth that lies within another realm. And that is where our story lives – emboldened by a reality that is the truest kind of true.
P.S. Oh, and another note. It should be said. This is not all that there is. A bit of redacting here, a bit of bowlderization there. But there still is more of what is, than what was.
Sam had been down that very same path many times to no avail. He had been looking for the place, the wormhole as it were, that may, just may, lead back to that very odd place that Alice had vanished so long ago. Yet today, Sam knew was that different day, the day when the vertical and horizontal geometries of the ancient polar fields would once again find their alignment and that the dimensions might shift just enough to allow a brief coming together -- a togetherness that would reveal one tiny aperture.
And finally as Sam came to the end of the wooded path, there behind the wooded shrub was a door slightly a jar. The door had never been there before; yet today was indeed different. Sam snuck behind the shrub and pushed ever so slightly on the door. A brilliant yellow light briefly blinded him, but he pushed forward.
He entered another space, gigantic and monstrous room, filled with painful noises and horrible sights. Though completely foreign to him, he realized that he had seen many of these objects in the multidimensional encyclopedia on the Wonderland library. There was a computer, a desk, telephones and chairs. This was a something called an office. Completely alien and sterile from a Wonderland perspective, but clearly very real in this world. And the room was filled with two people, but what giant people. At this juncture Sam realized that in this world he was nary six inches tall and that he had emerged from the sideboard next to the floor from what appeared to be a mouse hole. This of course sent shivers of concern through Sam’s being, as Sam wondered just how big and dangerous these mice may be compared to his Wonderland size.
Finally one of the giants left the room. Sam scurried around to the front of the desk making sure that he could not be seen to examine the giant. It was a woman, tall, with dark hair and green, hazel eyes – most lovely – but still she seemed distant and disquieted. Sam could only wonder whether she might or might not be the one.
The woman indeed was distant. She was thinking about something – but it was one of those somethings that one does not know exactly what that something is. Yet oddly, the something began to stir within her, as if some deep, hidden memory was rumbling from beneath the ground, digging desperately from beneath the surface, yearning to break free and breathe the fresh air.
The woman looked at mirror on the wall to see her familiar face, a face that she had seen for well more than 40 years. However, this time it appeared slightly different. Well, not so much different but as though from the corner of the eye she could see a flash of herself as someone else. In truth, it was when she looked away from the mirror that she saw a slight blonde girl. When she quickly looked back she was gone, only the familiar look of her attractive brown hair and eyes. She blinked and in that moment she blinked she saw that other young face. The face of… of… The face had something to do with that memory that was yearning to be free.
For you see this indeed was Alice who had slipped into this dimension a long, long time ago. The odd think about the non-Wonderland world is that not only does it make you grow taller, but with each inch that you grow it concocts more and more memories for you. So that by the time you are a full-sized being you actually have a memory of an entire life built right into you. And even more surprisingly most people come to believe that this memory is actually true.
Now of course, Sam knew that this was poppycock. But Sam could see that this was very true of the women who stood before him. He could only guess that this indeed was Alice, an Alice that had simply forgotten who she really was and believed the silliness that she had a life in this dimension. He didn’t know what else to do, but to yell out her name and see what might happen. “Alice!!! Alice!!!” Sam yelled, but of course the sound he made, even at full lungpower, was not strong enough to be heard by human ears. But the sound waves were there just the same, and it penetrated deep within her being and found its way all the way to the memory buried deep within her. For the memory was Alice buried under layers and layers of memories. And when the real Alice heard her name being called, she managed to call upon every cell to jump out and to break free.
So with a sudden pop Alice forced her way to the surface. The women could barely believe it as she saw herself change almost instantly in the mirror to the blonde hair girl and then to disappear from sight. Well, actually she began to shrink down to her original six-inch size. And then when she was just a tad under six inches, she was feeling oh so right and there was Sam, her Sam. How odd that she might have forgotten. She ran over to him and threw her arms around him.
“Quick, we better leave before something else may occur, perhaps there are mice.”
So off they ran right for the mouse hole in the wall that led to the other world. And just as they passed through the dimensionless world that separated this from that they heard and distant voice calling, “Ms. Lidell, Ms. Lidell…”
Sam and Alice ran as fast as they could, deep in to the forests of Wonderland, well past the temporal door that connected the different dimensions, which in fact was no longer there as the time-spatial synchronicity had come and gone and was no longer relevant to the denizens of either dimension, coming and going every century or so.
Eventually they had run their way to no where in particular and panting out of breath they finally stopped to wonder and to question where they might go next. And in that moment when they finally stopped they looked around to find themselves surrounded by wooded winding paths that went this way that. Suddenly they heard a most strange sound that came from the sky. "Whooo… Whooo…" said this odd and eerie voice.
Immediately Sam and Alice pondered hard at what an odd question this was because whoever could utter a question of whoooo when where was the question at hand must be an odd duck indeed. But when they heard the whooo sound again they looked up to see that the who of this sound was never a duck indeed but rather a wise owl perched upon a branch.
They asked themselves this: "Wasn't where what was the question and now this Hoot owl insists that it must be who?" Alice put her hands on her hips to reply: "Hooting who is not very fair when we thought where was what we must be wanting for."
The owl's reply was to the point: "Who is never where you think it is and it certainly what is never where who would like it to be."
It was a question to think about. So they finally stopped and looked at each other only to question: Why? And in that moment they wondered with a scratch of the head. "What is the question?"
And then the owl did smile and said that this was a true and rare moment of wisdom. If they could only find the right question perhaps they might be able to find the right answer. For in fact, when they looked down on the ground… there they were… legions and legions of answers. Each answer could fit its right question. So the fact was this… the answer was the easy part. But finding the right question, ah now there was the rub-a-dub-dub. You see, it's the right question that makes up the real challenge of every quest, every journey. To find the right question that fits like a glove around the right answer -- now that's a real challenge worthy of a Knight and a Lady-A-Fair.
So Sam thought and wracked his brain and Alice looked at him most admiringly all wrapped up in big-brained thoughts. At last, he opened his eyes to proudly announce the result of the steaming inside his hot little head: "We must find the right question." Alice clapped her hands in delight at such thorough insight. And Alice did then decry a fateful little motto that was to forever change the destiny of that geography that made up this wondrous Wonderland.
"Oh, please, please, please, please, please, an infinity of please… " It was that second to last, the penultimate please, that made all the difference to set the cosmos gears turning, wheel after wheel, to help poor little Alice at long last find the right question that would answer her pleas.
And with a mighty whoosh of the wind, Alice sailed past all the trees and grass that made Wonderland last and she did fly way past the sky high until she landed plop in a nice little room, in a pleasant little house on the fifth fine planet just this side of the Andromeda star.
Alice could hardly believe it when he eyes popped open again, that this was the room where the journey was about to begin.
Sam walked along on the planes of Wonderland all alone. Though the sky was forever blue and the land that made up the kingdom drifted off into a perfectly green infinity, Sam could only wonder what had happened to Alice. She had promised to write from wherever she was and she was no where to be found. She had promised frenzied fantasies, yet no matter how much Sam furrowed through his own fervid dreams, he could find none that might resemble those that were of an Alice origin. And no matter how much he rummaged through his mailbox, there was never anything to be found but the dull tin of an empty box.
So Sam shuffled along, head hung down, wallowing in a most self-sorried piteous state. It was then that the littlest of notions grew into the tiniest of urges. One of those insignificant little inside pushes that you might ignore if one were not so thoroughly so self-focused. It was the tiniest of impulses that made Sam look up at the endless dome of blue that hung so far away above his head. He looked and squinted. And he was about to shrug his shoulders, wondering why, what was that urge that made him see deep above all but naught. But that was then that he saw just a speck. Oh, it could have been just a mote of dust that had wandered into his eye. But this mote did not wash away. Instead he took note because it began to grow… and grow… and grow… until it was a big blue dot, swooshing forever fast headed directly toward him. It grew so quick and became so, so big that it seemed to blot out the sky. And Sam was about to run, for the geometrically expanding dot seemed to head right for him. So as he began to duck, it suddenly and finally uprighted itself like a graceful swan, and there she was at last right in front of him, his lovely, enchanting Alice of the Wonderland stock.
“Well.” was the admonishment that Sam could only utter after such a thorough astonishment.
“Well what?” was Alice’s firm reply.
“Well, where have you been?”
“Most firmly far away, I assure you.”
“You promised to write.”
“Harrumph, if you please. If you knew what I’ve been through you wouldn’t so self satisfactorily say such as ‘well’, but rather ‘poor little Alice’, if you please.”
Sam was perplexed for Alice was still pretty and pert, yet still a tad out of sorts. So he cajoled for the moment. And Alice wailed and wallowed in her tales of woe and whine.
She fibbed a bit about how she fought with the Wallabies and Walrusees. Though Sam could still tell this was quite the lie.
He wondered what to do and finally asked if Alice had come any closer to finding the answer to her pleas.
“Oh, no.” she cried, “no answers if you please. One more offer to solve the puzzled lock and I will simply go quite over the top.”
She quieted for the moment and then there was a silence, that famous pause of pregnancy when great babes of thoughts are born. Together they eyes did fasten upon the other – blue on brown, green touched with hazel and versa vice.
“There are no answers to be found here in a land of brains and brawn. Rather let’s dance; let’s journey together. It’s the experience to be had, to go hand in hand and discover what there is just beyond a hill, the very last turn, the final gate that lets us out of Wonderland’s Eden dot.
So Sam took Alice’s pretty, light hand in hand. And when they touched little sparks did form, like effervescent fireflies. And then they walked conjoined, neither smiling nor sad, but filled with just the tiniest fear made up of unknown expectancies, waiting just to see what would be found together in the next chapter of a tale of Alice and her Sam Gallahad...
Though the paths were windy or sinewy depending on your frame of mind they definitely were dark and getting darker by the minute. Not only was the sun setting down but bush and bramble were getting fiercely high and every branch from every tree was sagging low upon the ground. Yet Alice and Sam, not to mention Sam and Alice, depending who led the trek from moment to moment, trudged past every obstacle to reach their final destination
No words were spoken, only set determination crossed their lips. It was one of those states when all feeling was suspended, too intent upon the task at hand. For their goal was simple, yet mighty with foreboding, for they were set on finding the edge of Wonderland, the gate that would separate them from this and that. For it had become apparent that The ANSWER could not be found in a place so fluid as the scenery set in Wonderland. That should have been clear to anyone who wanted an answer so bad. It has to do with the state of Wonder. Wonder you see is akin to Awe, to Magic, to Delight. And all such matters are for sure an aspect of Newness. It’s that sudden gasp when fresh is real. The suddenness of surprise. Wonderland is very much that kind of place. Where nothing is what it seems and this and that are as interchangeable as that and this, or where and why, or even comme si, comme ca. But to achieve such result, its world must constantly change and shift. That’s how Wonderland creates its awe and mystery. But such fluidity makes it very difficult to find The ANSWER. Answers tend to be most permanent, something antithetical to the very fabric of Wonderland.
So if THE ANSWER was to be found there really was no choice but to leave Wonderland itself. The fact is that very few people, or any other sentient or non-sentient being, actually know the whereabouts of the back gate to Wonderland. Sure there are lots of rumors, but it’s only those who have spent a good deal of time outside of Wonderland can find it. Now Alice is a peculiar case in point. In some ways she has spent all of her time in Wonderland because that’s the only place the true Alice can reside. But still she has been away. That’s done though the building of an ectoskeletal personality. It’s a protective effect that all beings adopt when they leave Wonderland. It’s a hard case shell that surrounds the original Alice, as a form of protection. Because when you leave Wonderland it’s not the newness that is dangerous, it’s the same old boredom, the same grayness of the landscape that is at fault. The hard extoskeltal of personality is there to protect the Alice in each of us from such dreary routines.
Well, none of this is to say that Alice and Sam were not determined to open the gate to the backdoor of Wonderland to see if they could not find THE ANSWER. So after they had trekked an hour or two more beyond thickets and things, they found the small white picket fence, all prim and proper. It really wasn’t much. If you looked past the fence there appeared to be much of the same forest woods. But if you put your hand just over the gate, past the final air of Wonderland, it would just vanish. How odd Alice thought. So they walked along this perimeter until they found a small harbor that held within a white picket door about just so high with a latch. Here at last was the door.
Sam and Alice looked at each other and with held and baited breath they undid the contraption that was the latch, creaked open the door, and at long last took the fateful step just past Wonderland’s last frontier.
Well, it was no more than a step, when all suddenly vanished in a vortex of spinning rainbow light, and not a second too soon with the last tornadoes vanish off to the farlight west that Sam and Alice reappeared, somewhere in a room, a house it seemed, so Victorian and plush, too many fringes, too much lace.
They looked at each other so much astonished. The change was obvious, there was just a hint of gray around each auric freshness, just the smudge of dust in the halo light. The ectopersonality was forming, and yes, they did deem each other so much older, so mature and wise and so boring too.
But if THE ANSWER was to be found, it had to be had, a mission was meant to be found.
So Sam took Alice by the hand. Now his grip was firm, was resolved and strong and lead her off to the bedroom filled with high plush beds and stern stiff chairs.
Loneliness, as we know it, doesn’t exist in Wonderland. In fact, it is not even in the realm of possibilities. That is because time is not unidirectional in such a terrain. Loneliness is a function of finitude. Time in Wonderland is infinite, not in the sense that it goes on forever; but rather, it’s unique tendency to curve back in on itself, go around in circles, more backwards and forwards, sideward and all simultaneously as needed. It’s just when you take on the silly suit of being a human that the focus narrows and one in time forgets that time can slip and slide this way and that. So there is no need for loneliness because everyone you ever did meet, in the past or will ever meet again in the future, you are sure to run into again as you go running past the future or towards a history that happened a mere millennium or so ago.
Now that we’ve made that perfectly clear, we can only wonder why Alice could have imagined that she could ever be lonely at all. But that is what happens when one ventures past the perimeters of Wonderland and forgets to remember that the internal clocks of Wonderland have never figured out which hand is which; so in general they just throw their hands up in the air and don’t even bother to give you the time of day anyway when asked.
But when the gaze of Alice and Sam had stood its ground for such a length of time that they forgot who they were, the magic spell of Wonderland was able to work its alchemy and suddenly Alice grew in stature as the full woman she was meant to be and Sam, well became more slight, more of the boy, he at heart is and will ever be. .....
Yes, but such ecstatic oneness was slipping from her grasp. And then and there was knowledge of where she stood. Where the choice that both she and Sam were about to make, for she now knew the place she stood, that spot that lay just between Wonderland and all the rest. She knew now that Wonderland was just a place of her own mind and thought. And though delightful, still was but of one dimension. That to find such higher spots of God and Wonder womanhood, she would have to leave; yet in that leaving whatever she might lose was to gain for a moment the knowledge of what is Paradise. It is both fruit of Eden’s root that make us men, both Life and Knowledge; and now she knew both, and with it was borne a tear.
It was a tear borne both of beauty and bane that took shape at the corner of her eye. An iridescent speck that hovered at the lid, just before it overflowed, to fall, for a moment, down her cheek, to disappear, into the grass.
Yet, it is known by those who know that at just a moment when a tear has formed and stands at the corner of an eye, before it has left the spring from which it came, it can be entered -- entered by those who have the skill, the craft of magic. It is a craft that is known by everyone at that moment when a love crisscrosses with life to fertilize a knowledge that is as swift and ephemeral as a cascade of wind racing across a moonlit clouded sky.
But for a moment, both Sam and Alice shared that duet of one, and with a whisk of thought they entered that drop of tear borne of such bane and beauty. And this is how Sam and Alice found themselves on a road travelling north to the castle that lay just beyond the crest of the mountain that stood just over there.
Now once inside a tear we must understand that all rules of physics are indeed turned upside down. So the sky above was shifted like a rainbow light, because though tears are indeed translucent the light from outside in is bent this way that, arcing prisms from hither yon. All in all it made a very pretty sight.
So Alice and her Sam made their way to the castle above the rainbowed clouds. It was a very misty palace place, the air hung with fog and dew. But after that what could one expect. Inside a tear it’s nice to find even one dry spot or two.
And up they went with both a-wondering why, why do they trudge through this rain and now chilling snow to go up so high to a castle on a mountain top imbedded in a tear that after all just lay at the corner of her eye.
But somehow Sam knew: "You see dear Alice, it has been foretold by prophecy and other psychic notes that only in a castle bleak and rare can you find your Answer. THE ANSWER, for whose quest was this adventure’s progenitor.
So Alice set her teeth affirmed, a chilling fear descended… knowing that her Answer was yet be found at last; and not sure whether she really could know or want to see what would be the question and its long, lost last answer.
But there was no choice; the castle loomed so very near. Oh and what a castle, the good Count Dracula could not have been more proud, for it was shrouded in clouds and mist, and misty drizzles that hid whatever sunny blur forced itself through the tear-tiara ceiling way above.
They reached the grand wooden door, slimy with fungal wet. And even Sam, had to reach on tip-toe to lift the very bottom of the knocker and slightly thrust it against a metal plate to produce a growling thud that reverberated through to the very ground upon which they stood and clanking back up through their teeth. The sound peeled into echoes before coming to a rest.
Sam and Alice could only watch each other as the drizzle drenched their hair and clothes, making each look more like drown-ed rat than human folk. And then with an ancient creak the door did move or at least one part, the better half inched an inch or two to finally reveal a small head that barely poked itself out.
Well it was a surprise, such a gentle pleasant face wrapped in a long scraggily beard crowned with a long conical hat: "Well’ come inside, just don’t stand like willynuts. You’ll catch your death."
So with tiny ancient hands he beckoned them to follow and in they went to be greeted by a glowing hearth and funny firewood blazing forth with a hearty blaze.
"Well, now who are you and you? No, don’t tell me. It should all be quite obvious."
"My name is Sam" was Sam’s reply, "and this is…"
"Now I said not to pry, my mind’s made up. If you are Sam, this must be Delilah. I see she’s cut your hair, too bad."
"No, I am not Delilah, I’m much too sweet"
"Then how about Dorothy and this must be Toto too." Even Sam was just a might miffed at this silly thought.
Well, it should be said as to the apparition that stood before them was a tiny wizened one, who seemed to be made mostly made of eyes, two giant orbs made of azure blue that spun within his head. He was also cloaked in a robe made of the similar royal blue, spun of a thread that might have been born of sapphire jewels, agate with just a touch of gold. And oh yes his hat, a tall and pointed perfect cone to make up what in another tale might be a perfect Merlin clone.
"Well, if truth be known, my name is Alice and this is Sam."
"Hmm never heard of Alice and Sam. There's Alice B. Toklas, Gertie's Sapphos friend, and Alice of the Restaurant, and of course, the most, most famous… Alice of Wonderland.’
"Well, that is me. I am the very same Wonderland Alice,"
"You don’t dare say, but I never heard of a Sam in any tale of Alice’s land."
"Well, it doesn’t matter, for he is indeed my friend. And more important, who are you?"
"Well the wizard, mostly of the wizened wily sort, the master of the castle and the grantor of this and thats. And if you are here you must be wanting something from dear old me. No one ever visits just to say hello, to ask how I am, to chat about the weather and who will win the Superbowl. Oh, woe is me, life is just such a sorry lot."
"Well, we have come for something that is true. Now if you answer rightfully perhaps we will while away some time on gossip and other sorts. You see, I really do have much to tell from the underneath of Wonderland’s darker side."
"Oh do tell, I’d wager that bitch the black Queen has been schtupping her flamingo gang again; and I would even bet that the Old Hatter himself, fey and fob that he is, has got his pecker in the White Rabbit’s rump. So come, come, let me answer the question, so we can get on with it."
So the wizard took Sam and Alice into his inner court, his alchemist laboratory that sported tubes and flasks, and coils and burners, and colored goo foaming from pots glazed of bronze and copper gold. But in the middle was a black cauldron pot that bubbled all most ferociously. The wizard picked a large wooden spoon and plunged into his soup and stirred. "Aha, the brew is right, the time has come to make your call. So my girl, question now for the answer is brewing right beneath the scummy foam."
Alice took a deep breath and was about to ask. But the Wizard suddenly stopped to say: "Now, now, now… first you must understand that never actually ask a question. That’s where most everyone all make their mistakes. It’s quite simple. A question is borne of a deeper place, its answer likewise resides right there. The quest is a feeling, an impulse without words, without thought. Once we’ve clothed that feeling in a single thought and wrapped it with a bow-tie by giving it form and word, the answer that it finds it simply singly fought and can only answer what has been asked, totally unsatisfying to the deep urge that originally brought it forth. Rather hold your question and cuddle it carefully and never bathe it in a thought. Let it take root and there you will find a proper truth."
And with that Alice held her breath and peered over the cauldron’s rim and the dark bubbling brew. From the depths she saw several letters appear A-N-S-W-E-R. They floated about and took some shape and then more words formed though Alice was unsure whether it was there or someplace deep within her head.
It was there just for a moment – an answer that was not an answer?
Was that what was all?
Alice looked up at the wizard. He smiled and pointed back into the bubbling glue.
Alice looked harder still and somewhere within the watery concoction she saw her reflection, dear sweet Alice, the rippling liquid making her face supple and fluid, But as she stared deeper still there was another face, another visage, someone older, more mature and wise women. Why, it was that other women, that other soul, who was her and not again. That being she had grown to become, who existed in some future other place who lived in that silly driven world with secretaries and computers in that frightful stillness called Lawyerland. She gazed again at her face that now seemed embedded deep within this other face. How odd to look and see a face that was also you and not - the you of another land, another place dimensions removed from where you live. Alice looked again, how lovely, such warmth and laughing eyes, such soulful countenance born of sounds made up of nocturnal nomadic rounds.
And with that recognition of who she was now and then, she knew her answer. For she realized the truth had been there all along brought to the light of the day when Sam and she had laid in warm embrace, that singular dot when the exploding grace came, when they both were transported beyond that moment when they left their childhood spot and emerged onto a more knowing plane.
She knew full well what she sought. No, Wonderland could never truly be her home, for it is a land of Virgins and Unicorns. And such innocent virginity is no real paradise, for it is fraught with children’s fears, dragons and witches and other nightly things that bump dreams into more frightful things. And besides virgin’s lot is much too a simple thing. It’s when she’s embraced her Unicorn that she emerges into the other land. It’s that very moment of transformation from celibacy to conjugal union that is our Paradise.
But the final recognition came when she saw her face, her older and just as true realer self, that she saw a future. The thought that first love grows old and gray and withers back to dust brought a bleak moment fore to bear. But with that fearsome thought came this brilliant bit: Once we have left our childhood behind, it is no longer Wonderland that we want, but rather the Will to Wonder that we seek, when all the world is alive and fresh and new, made by force of choice.
Why do we seek the strong duality of pain and pleasure? Still the answer is not, nor never would be in the words. It is in our silent yearning to reach that summit from whence we first peered out over past and future love.
Oh does it matter that our first carnal thoughts and love were not the purest white? No, indeed, for all such moments are more fantasy than deed. After all, what can fumbling children know of such kind and heroic deeds? But still, there it stands a summit for all to reach; and to believe that it is there, lying there just past the clouds, the very portals of our own Shangri-La – a Wonderland where none can ever grow so old.
And that old urge? Oh, the thought just faded back to nothingness. For you see, each is born with this urge to find our summit; and each must find their one newly minted neurotic path. Add up the kinks and you will see an endless set of themes and variations; yet all point in their very own way to the one same spot. Amen. Praise the Lord.
And so Alice blinked her eyes. All that was left was a bubbling mess. She looked around and Sam was there and so was the little wise one, but now she knew. There was no more to say.
"Oh, dear, you must run, yessiree, I’d love for you to stay and chat, but the tear is about to drop. I can tell it’s begun to roll from the corner of her eye. And if it falls from her cheek and splash upon the ground before you’ve left its liquid walls, well I dare not say. But I suspect you being made of blood and bones would just go poof. Oh no, I think it’s more like I go poof and you go well, I really daren't say, but I think the little bit of ooze that would remain would barely be worth my little mouse's dinner repast."
So with that word Sam and Alice ran and ran. Past the outer rooms and through the door into the rain and down the long, long path. And it was true. Through the tear filled sky they could see that it was moving fast down a downy cheek.
So they ran and ran and suddenly the tear was free flying down to the Earth. And Sam and Alice reached the spot where they first had begun this trip, a little spot at the every tear-edged wall. They jumped right into the salty pond to swim and swim and with each stroke came a growing darkness or was it light. Then and there Alice knew that it was her choice, to turn this way or that; or maybe not, for perhaps it was both ways at once that made a world fly into both the future and the past. So Alice swam with Sam by her side. She closed her eyes and made her last and worthy wish…
Well, back at the castle the wizard marveled at the fact that the youngsters actually believed his silly old fib. I mean they had been cute and it might have been nice to have squeezed her tush, but they had become quite a bore. "I really can’t imagine why they believed that drivel. Well, I guess it all was quite a show."
So the wizard went back to his room and removed his cap and his azure robes. And as the wizard stood before the fabled looking glass, he yanked off his wig and beard and pulled off the mask to reveal at last dear Old Humpty–Dumpty.
Humpty admired his form, big as a bog and just as round. "Another day done, another day to come." So Humpty went off to his dinner. But he had done so well that he first went to the edge of his wall to enjoy a sunny setting sun. As he smiled at himself, so clever and smart, he promptly fell from the wall for a really great fall. He shattered into pieces, a thousand or more, that made quite a puzzle of the jiggy-saw sort.
And thus it is done, the tale is at end. The puzzle of Humpty all shattered like such, each an answer in part, could not be put together by all the King's horses and all the King’s men. Tra La, La La.
And Alice, dear Alice, wherever she may be, will swirl through the dreams of all the men and all women whoever they are meant to truly be. For the Alice in us is what is immortal in us. It is the part that will rise when we’ve buried the rest. Be it Alice or Sam, it’s merely a name, but it is that part that belongs to both me and you, the part that will live in the stories and hopes of the children that have yet to be born. Perhaps that is the answer to the source of all questions: Why must I die? It is the kernel of our life after life… and what it is to live forever.
The end? Not quite. For there was one more document that was first lost, then found – decades hidden behind some dusty, withered volume in an ancient library stack – located neither here nor there. Upon examination, by those of the scholarly sort, it was determined that the manuscript, or what was left of it, was both prelude and postlude, the beginning and the end, prologue and epilogue, all in one the story of Alice and her Samuel. So with no real place to find its spot, we inserted this binary opus in the only slot left – The Appendix.
So without further ado, herein is the account of great trial betwixt Sam and his Alice, before the High Court of Wonderland. It is the tale of their very first hello and final fond farewell.
One by one the cast assembled behind the great bench. Humpty-Dumpty teetered this way and that. The Walrus harrumphed through its great mustache as the Mad-Hatter twirled his eyes in great dismay. The Queen of Spades scowled quite grimly while the White Rabbit thumped its paw quite impatiently. Meanwhile, the Caterpillar was just beginning to appear through a billow of smoke. There was the Cheshire Cat, who, of course, was more tooth than fur but that couldn't be helped.
The Scarecrow tried to lumber on to the dais, but it was the Rabbit himself who blocked the way, arguing quite vociferously that he had wandered into the wrong story and should go back to his own kind. The scarecrow retreated quite dejected, muttering things about affirmative action, while the Rabbit brushed remnants of straw and grass from his shiny white coat, shaking his head in mystification of such silly characters who think they can walk in on any tale.
Well, all these characters had come from every corner of Wonderland to act as sage wise judges, who were to sit in judgement over the great altercation between sympathetic Sam and the oh so silent Alice.
It seems that Alice had turned mum and sat in her seat as silent as quiet could be. Sam had wondered what had been done. After so many notes of the cybersort, filled with heat and passion, revelation and truth and honesty of soul, it was quite a mystery. So he had gone to plead to the only tribunal he could think of who might hear such pleas to wonder what on earth was going on in Wonderland.
So Sam began his testament, and as he drew his breath to begin the gallery grew silent. But with a sideward glance it couldn't helped be noticed that Alice had rose just an inch or two above her gilded seat and floated in space, her chin pointed up, trying to not hear the quiet of everyone's hushed and silent inquiry.
Sam took a deep breath and began his plea: “Alice, you see has accused me of many, horrible things."
Walrus: “I see, what would be such as you care to tell us?”
Sam (with hanging head): “Oh, I can only imagine what she might think.”
Humpty Dumpty: “Oh come now, don’t be such a nit. This is Wonderland, all was meant to be allowed and said in a logic where inside out was meant to be more like outside in.”
Queen of Spades: “Much like bellybuttons.”
HD: “Quite so.”
Sam: “Oh such, she wrote a sighing note in which she said in a part I was a narcissist.”
Gasps of shocked disbelief.
Mad Hatter: “Oh my,”
Walrus: “Oh dear, quite a serious charge indeed, I am afraid we will have to look into this.”
Sam: “Well, of course, it’s true… to an extent. I mean what artist isn’t fixed upon his own self-image.”
QoS: “Like looking at your bellybutton, I presume is what you mean.”
Sam: “What creator does not stare entranced by his self-reflective images in the deep hidden pools of his own delight?”
Mad Hatter: “Does he mean his navel, or am I just naïve?”
Caterpillar: “Navy? I do like the sea, you know. I once was an Admiral, yessiree.”
Sam: “Yet, I would submit that there is more than a single facet that makes me me. I see a mosaic of motivations within the orbit that I can see.”
HD: “A mosaic of motivations. Hmm, I like the sound, but very disconcerting.”
MH: “I like the internal assonance.”
QoS: “Did you call me an Ass?”
Sam: “I see myself as a quilt of motivation and desires, all at once, quite gray, quite confusing, all terribly quite contradictory.”
HD: “More than one interpretation.”
SAM: “All at once.”
WR: “Not allowed, not allowed. Takes too much time.”
HD: “My dear, sir this is a court of law. A coincidence of simultaneity is certainly out of the question.”
MH: “Only either or… one or the t’other.”
WR: “Only Either Or or Or Either.”
QoS: “You can’t confuse us like this, it’s either Off with their heads or…or… or…. . Hmmm, I can’t seem to remember what is the alternative to that would be.”
An instant sidebar convenes to discuss such possibilities.
The assembled suddenly seemed to notice that indeed Alice had risen even higher from her chair. And if one watched very carefully it could be seen that she was rising quite steadily. Of course, such a sight perturbed no one, as this after all was Wonderland, where such happenstance was oh so common if not quite regular. Least of all perturbed was Alice, who crossed her legs quite contentedly and perhaps sighed at the weariness of it all, as she ascended up to clouds and sky.
Sam: But you see, in my last letter I was just trying to please to fulfill the madam’s desires.
QoS: Oh really.
Sam: Yes, indeed. I have the evidence right here.
At such a juncture Sam turns about and staggers forth with a stack of paper that is a good thirty feet high. With a lurch he stumbles and the pile topples up and onto the bench, a papyrus avalanche, a mountain of scraps to bury the judges. From the depths of papers emerge their heads, one by one, to sing a song:
“Briefs and briefs, how delightful.
Paper, paper, more and more,
Oh you have made us so remorseful
That we have at last lost our patience to be so bound
To sit up here so high.
But take a look at what we have found!”
They each grab a sheet to read on.
Sam picks up one sheet and says: “Let me quote…”
QoS: “Oh, how I do love a good quote.”
Sam reading from his paper: “Sam. I yearn to be aroused, and not just intellectually. I'm not content to drift indefinitely in this sterile landscape, thinking that someday, somewhere, we might possibly meet. It's not enough for my presence to be an element of your psyche. Such relatedness is simply too abstract. I'm not insisting that we meet now, or ever. But I need more than an intellectual, artistic, or even spiritual, conversation.”
The judges put down their sheets of paper and inquired of one another: “So… What is wrong with that? A most reasonable request.”
Sam: “My intent, in the next note that I wrote, was to fulfill her desires. To respond stronger than I normally might. To assert with power and with heat.”
The Queen fans herself furiously with a sheet of paper: “Enough, enough.”
Sam: “I moved in new and daring directions, to experiment beyond the borders of where we had been. For she had often said: ‘I don't want you to be overly careful or to self-edit.’”
The Mad-Hatter’s eyes swirled around in his head until they came to rest looking squarely down at Sam: “And what else did she say?”
Sam: “More I would not dare say. But I remand the court to read pages 36 through 928 of Exhibit A.”
The judges pick up various pages and read furiously.
A series of noises and gasps, moan and sigh, harurmphs, and curious rubbings, clicks, and squeals, with occasional gushes. A few hours pass as the group perspiration has created a regular river than flows from the bench, sweeping away a good half of the gallery.
Sam: “Please sirs and madam, it has been six hours or more, we must continue these proceedings.”
HD: “Well, what more would you say?”
Sam: “She sent photos.”
A moment of stunned silence, all the judges instantly wide-eyed.
And from the deathly silence, sudden pandemonium.
All: “We must see, yes indeed, we insist.”
Sam: “No, I cannot, a matter of honor and virtue, principle and truth. Such I will not divulge. But she then accused me of describing body parts to her.”
Walrus: “After photos?”
Sam: “Oh yes.”
MH: “You are sure we couldn’t have a private session, just us and you and…”
HD: “You know the child is way up there in the sky. She would never know.”
MH: “Oh pshaw, be that way.”
Alice in the meantime was moving higher and higher now suspended quite well above the milling folk below. From her airy perspective, all the characters of the play were growing quite tiny, little characters playing out their charade of pomp and circumstance. All this legal wrangling she knew so well seemed quite trite once enmeshed in the logic of Wonderland.
Sam: “But there were other motivations.”
QoS: “Like what?”
Sam: “Well, I am a male”.
QoS: “Really now.”
Sam: “And as such we males love to preen and prance and bloat like a peacock, all in all it’s all part of the genetic code of romance.”
QoS: “Peacock, did you say? My dear boy, are they better than flamingos? I mean for those more provocative acts you’ve been talking about.”
Sam: “Sorry, I don’t know.”
QoS: “Then you shouldn’t be telling tales. Such a provocateur.”
Sam: “There was an authentic desire to share, to extend a relationship beyond the limits of just this alcove, maybe we were too near the borders of Wonderland and other worlds.”
HD: “Sir, are you inferring and implying that there is some other place besides this land, something beyond Wonderland?”
HD: “I’ve never heard such rubbish.”
WR: “Sheer nonsense.”
Caterpillar: “Well, I don’t know I once had a dream and in it I saw.”
WR: “Please, don’t waste our time, I have to get moving, I’m late, oh dear.”
Sam: “But there is the summary, the closing argument.”
WR: “Oh dear.”
HD: “Well, go ahead.”
Sam: “If I could quote a little more: “It's sweet of you to worry about rocking the boat. But you don't need to. If you ever stray into some area that disturbs me, I'll tell you right away, in no uncertain terms. I've done that before, probably undeservedly, in response to a few offhand comments, remember?
‘Anyway, I find it hard to imagine that you would ever seriously offend me. I know you, Sam. I know that you couldn't possibly have any interest in hurting someone nonconsensually or in hurting any animal. Short of those acts, of which I think you're incapable, nothing that you say you will alarm me.
WR: “Animals she said, Very good, very good. I always liked this girl.”
Sam: (quoting): “’I trust you, Sam. I know you wouldn't jeopardize anything important to me, just as I wouldn't jeopardize anything important to you. Now come here, you silly man. Let me lie behind you and cuddle you, let me wrap my arms around you and rock you, let me comfort you, quietly, with my body close to yours, with soft sweet tender kisses.’”
At this point the judges sit about overwhelmed by a torrent of tears and sobs and blowing of noses into snot-soaked hankies.
Walrus: “And what is the state of your heart?”
Sam: “Oh, it beats quite regularly, it’s really quite fine thank you. It’s just that all was meant quite kindly and sincerely, so many words, so many thoughts, so much fantasy. None was meant to harm, most was meant with which to experiment, to delve deeper into all that may or may not be. It seems a shame to let so much effort drift away. It matters little really what would come next…. But all such sorties such as this is a testament of a sort to what is honest and real. For while it is fun to make such fantasies, there is an effort which in itself is its act of self-effacing devotion. Perhaps tonalities and subtleties are lost in such cloven texts but there is a romance there, not far afield from Lancelot and Guinevere.”
And with that the great trial of Sam and Alice came to a close. There really was no more to say. Though the judges conferred and fought, and stamped various feet and tails and limbs and other sundried body parts. Finally when the fur had flown, what emerged from the fray was the sheerest grin of the Cheshire’s smile. At long last, it was that very set of pearly rowed teeth that finally said: “Our verdict we have reached.” And with that statement all and everyone looked up to the sky.
Alice was now no more than a dot in the Heavens, a little speck of robin-egg blue and white petticoats against an ever-sunny blue sky and clouds. The only question left was whether Alice would soon disappear forever just beyond Heaven’s gate, or might she float back down on a silken parachute with a winsome smile…back to Wonderland…
to touch again for one brief instant…
… at least to say goodbye.