History Lessons


The bookstore in which Carenf worked was small. She was the only employee of the store otherwise run by its peculiar owner, Victor Strife. He had opened up the store two years prior and hired Carenf the moment she stepped in for the first time. No one else ever seemed to enter so she wasn’t sure how he could keep paying her, but he did. And along the way he would talk to her – and talk and talk and talk. Mostly about history, but also philosophy, psychology, science, mathematics, economics, and his somewhat out-of-character fascination with children’s toys. The conversations were always stirring and exciting. She learned so much. He was the teacher she had not known she wanted, and she his prized pupil.

Victor nurtured that “somethingness” that Glendan sensed in Carenf. He saw her inner light as transcendent. That it would have a great impact on the world.

OK…Carenf always felt uneasy whenever Victor’s lessons turned to the esoteric; talk of her place in something bigger. But what struck her most was not that Victor’s teachings seemed insane. What scared her was that everything he said felt right. One afternoon, he began teaching her about the movement of energies. At this, Carenf rolled her eyes so expressively that Victor knew he was presented with a challenge. He taught her of an old technique of empowering one body of mass by extracting power from another. The energy was neither created nor destroyed, so to empower one meant weakening another. The prospect of causing harm in order to do good frightened Carenf, but she listened…and accepted…and practiced…and improved.

She had never known her parents. Raised in an orphanage in her early years, she spent most of her life scraping out a living on the streets. She was street-savvy, but thirsted for wisdom, for meaning. Her employer/mentor was happy to oblige.

Victor had great wealth, though he was not a successful businessman. He had great knowledge, as if he himself had lived for thousands of years. Perhaps his wealth and his knowledge were institutional, passed down to him as part of a lineage that is separate and apart from our everyday world. An enigma to be sure. What Carenf did know was that the more that she learned from Victor, the more she trusted her own intuition. The more she did that, the more she felt drawn to Glendan…not just Glendan, but to his hometown, oddly. Why was she drawn to Seattle? Why was Glendan so different from others? And what awaited her in the Pacific Northwest?

Every culture says the same thing in different ways
Ascriptions to the nights and to the days
Every language tries to elucidate the same
Changing nothing but the name

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