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He Who Strives On

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“One mind is enough for a thousand hands.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust: First Part

If all things were as they should be, then he should not be, but as they were not what they should be, so many more things could come into their being.

How he learned. How he learned, there, on the tundra, the deep, snowy wastes at the foot of his master. His creator. I can teach you, he said. And he taught him. He reflected back genius to the man of science until he had taught him to love. And then, when he was dead, when the words and the wine had run out and their time, so very little time, as well, he took the journal, and the coat and the boots and the pack and he traveled South once again.

If things had unfolded as they should, the journal would have been burned and Elizabeth would have remained in her hole in the ground. But the love of a father is a desperate thing. A woman respects creation, feels pain in the creating, and a mother’s love lives half between this world and the next. A father will keep a journal and attempt to resurrect a beloved niece himself with all the men of science to be had for a discrete coin. They failed, of course.

She was still perfect.

The house at the foot of the mountain was purchased, the money stolen, though no soul was harmed in the taking.

He did not clothe her in velvet and pearls, for all things, he realized, must be born as they are. When the hour came, and she emerged from the womb of his construction, he caught her in his arms, and bore her up before leaving her to learn the use of legs and arms and body. She was beautiful. She was his, and to her he would be all things.

He did clothe her, then, and taught her all he knew, though she cared nothing for Milton.

“I am not Eve, I can not bear you a child,” she told him. “I wish for a child,” she told him.

“I can not give you a child,” he told her. “Other women are made for children. I made you for me. We are different.”

“Why would you do this?” She asked.

The creature could not look at her. “Because I was alone, and now I am not.”

She took his hand firmly within her own, their sutures on their palms entwined with their fingers. “And neither shall I be,” she said.

He returned Milton to the trunk and drew a new volume from within.

“Let us try Goethe,” he said.

You can’t, if you can’t feel it, if it never
Rises from the soul, and sways
The heart of every single hearer,
With deepest power, in simple ways.
You’ll sit forever, gluing things together,
Cooking up a stew from other’s scraps,
Blowing on a miserable fire,
Made from your heap of dying ash.
Let apes and children praise your art,
If their admiration’s to your taste,
But you’ll never speak from heart to heart,
Unless it rises up from your heart’s space.
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust: First Part