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He was a boy with a sitar. He followed a man with bodhisattva ears. The Sitar Boy had seen America three times in this life; he saw it once on his own and twice with the Bodhisattva Eared Man.

The Sitar Boy had dreadlocks once, but he had cut all of his hair off a year ago. Currently, the cherry locks laid free in an uncombed hurricane that stormed around his head and ears.

He wore an old t-shirt that advertised a small business in Arkansas. This business had been closed since 1997. His blue jeans were faded, torn, and covered in the signatures of ordinary people.

Like his mythical grandmother, he didn’t wear shoes.


He sat in the grass with the Bodhisattva Eared Man. There was a burning, crumbling sidewalk a few feet away from them and a city all around them. The Sitar Boy played a song on his sitar. He played a song he had never heard before.

A small crowd gathered. This crowd said words.

The sitar ate their words until there was nothing left but floating, indescribable, uncontrolled, unmasked emotion. It twirled around, through and amongst the crowd, pulling them in with the animal freedom that only music can deliver. This floating emotion tore down the boundaries of words and replaced it with endless, boundaries fields of eyes, dances, and collective understanding. The crowd almost forgot they were human.

There was a girl. Truly, there were several girls, but only one with red, painted lips. She didn’t speak. The Sitar had no words to eat.


She sang.


“Marry me.” She sang to The Sitar Boy and kissed him full on the lips. In that moment, words never existed; there was only song. A song, a feeling of ecstasy , a possible rapture, and perhaps even love passed between the Sitar Boy and the Girl With Red Lips like a breeze, an electric current, a crashing wave; it was all three all at once. It was youthful and beautiful. It was just a kiss.

The Sitar Boy dropped his sitar.

The crowed scattered. The Bodhisattva Eared Man, laughing, sank into the ground until there was nothing left in the place were he once sat but chuckling grass. A few yards away, an old woman dressed in her Sunday best sat on the nearby park bench. The old woman smiled.

The Sitar Boy pulled away from the girl’s kiss, or perhaps some unearthly force pulled him away.

“I’d marry you but, I already have three wives. A fourth wife seems a bit excessive.” He told The Girl With Red Lips. The Girl With Red Lips only moved closer to him.

“Now,” She sang. “Have any of those wives ever made you happy?” Her eyes, green like the color of the Atlantic’s waters, painted over his body and making him her work of art.

“Sunlight makes me happy.” The Sitar Boy answered. She breathed in the sunlight and kissed him again with her painted, red lips.

“I am like sunlight. See? I don’t even have a shadow. Marry me.”


The Sitar Boy reached for his fallen sitar.


“I can’t.” The Girl With Red Lips did not know whether it was The Sitar Boy or his sitar that had spoken those words. It did not matter. They were the same; what was The Sitar Boy without his sitar? Just a boy, if you could still consider him even that.

“Why?” She whispered and the sitar ate her words. Her Atlantic-eyes blinked.

“I can’t marry a girl with painted red lips. She’ll make me her work of art and paint me over until I’m what she wants me to be.” The Sitar Boy kissed her, touching his lips gently with hers in a way that meant thank you, I’m sorry, goodbye, or some other sort of word.

The Girl With Red Lips blinked.

“And I don’t want to be anything.” The Sitar Boy told her and he danced away from his shadow.

A crescendoing breeze ushered in dancing, floating, lotus flowers. From everywhere, the Bodhisattva Eared Man reappeared and led The Sitar Boy to another place or time.

The Girl wiped the red paint from her lips and returned to school where she wrote a short story about nothing on yellow paper with thin blue lines.

The old woman dressed in her Sunday best sitting on a park bench caught a lotus flower and added it to the arrangement of flowers that decorated her white hat. Softly, she hummed The Beatles’ Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.



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