Hejira
the third oracle
April 12. 2000

movie posterI went into the bathroom today while I was at work. I stopped there for a moment, suddenly caught by my reflection. Sometimes I think the most true reflection you can have of yourself is in a bathroom mirror, under fluorescent lights, every detail, good and bad, magnified.

It's like the third oracle that Atreyu had to face in "The Neverending Story", the one where when he looks into it, he'll see the reflection of who he truly is. And all he sees is the reflection of Bastian, the boy who is reading his story.

I remember being totally fasincated by that movie when I was little. I would watch it, over and over again (my two rentals from the video store from ages 6 and 10 alternated between that and "The Last Unicorn", which is another movie I need to see again), delighting in the racing snail, the Empress, and of course, Falkor, the luck dragon.

Then I discovered that there was a book. I think I was about 12 when I read it, and it's such a beautiful, fascinating tale. The first movie actually only covers half the book, the other half is a little less desirable for a children's movie - Bastian falls under the influence of evil people and must eventually redeem himself. I remember being absolutely convinced that I was going to be somehow sucked into the story as Bastian had, and I would get a thousand wishes from the Empress, and I would meet Atreyu and ride Falkor.

But there's no luck dragons, no Empress, no Atreyu. When I finally figured this out, I was bitterly disappointed. Now the only part that seems to be of relevance in my life is that third oracle. And now I look in the mirror, trying to see through it, trying to see down to me.

I like the way I look most of the time, despite the fact that I've gained a morbid amount of weight lately. I think I'm starting to settle with the outside of me, finally. I look at my face. I like the lines and valleys and colors of it very much. The features generally work together in a strange kind of harmony. I've drawn my face hundreds, maybe thousands of times, and I know every bit of it, and I think I've grown to love it.

My roots are growing in, I observe. Need to find some bleach. I look down at my hands, they should be my pride and joy, I'm an artist, they should speak for me. They should have finely chiseled muscles and tendons and knuckles. But they're wrecked, kind of pudgy, with the cuticles and nails that continue to weather my constant biting and abuse.

A work in progress, I guess. I have no desire to find the third oracle yet.

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