I FEEL YOU. DO YOU FEEL ME?
Backstage, we can assume.
Sage Pontiff, The Bodhisattva of Transformative Experience himself, is not pacing. Many fighters find themselves full of excess energy before a bout–Sage finds himself standing very still in a deep horse stance, his hands extended. Say what yuou want about his philosophy, but his physical frame is top-notch, a testament to lean muscle that he makes look effortless. His eyes are closed, but he speaks nonetheless, taking in a slow inhale of breath and then speaking as he lets it out, circular.
Sage Pontiff: The thing about paths is that while we forge our own, sometimes two souls are sort of…intrinsically linked, right? Like they’ll keep seeing one another. Keep crossing. Call it deja vu, or fate, or harmonious vibration, whatever you’d like–but no matter how hard you try, you’ll always end up at the same destination. And fighting against those universal currents…you can try. You can even live a relatively normal life, for a while. But you’ll either be brought back to where you started, or dragged into the undertow.
The stance breaks as he gets to his feet. Shirtless in fisherman’s pants that seem comfortably oversized, his dreadlocks sway for a moment as he considers the floor. His eyes are rueful. Almost sad.
Sage Pontiff: I don’t want to see Ria drown. I want to see her soar.
Eyes, competing colors, meet the camera. He addresses one who isn’t present–one who when they last met he beat into a pulp.
Sage Pontiff: I know you’re out there, Ria. I can…
He holds his hand out. His eyes close. Head back. Feel the energy.
Sage Pontiff: …I can feel you. Can you feel me? My hand is extended. Extend yours.
Long pause. Transference of vibration.
Sage Pontiff: Feel that. That is the pull of inevitability, Ria. That is the pull of our lives being interwoven at this crossroads. Feel my frequency, tune in to me, right? Because this isn’t going away. You can come here, right now, and beat me bloody–I welcome it! I’ll enjoy it! But it won’t mean anything if the work hasn’t been done. If the third eye is not open, if you are not resonant within yourself. You understand that.
His eyes open and there is a moment, the briefest of one, where they flash. Call it a trick of the light.
Sage Pontiff: Don’t you?
Hands onto hips, akimbo.
Sage Pontiff: As I understand it, you’ve all but disappeared. People who know you say things, and I hear them. But I know you’re here. I know you’re close. I can feel you. Can you feel me? Your soul is reaching out. Yearning. The facets that you’ve tried to swallow and bury are starved, Ria. Now they’re lashing out, and you’re paying a grave psychic price for it. You can tell me you’ve made your peace, but your peace is a thing of repression. Of not nurturing parts of you in the hope that they will just perish. All I can see is your pain. And all you have to do to escape it, all you have to do is heal is to…take my hand. Embrace yourself. Allow yourself to find harmony. Battle with the Bodhisattva. Ascend. Transcend.
Sage’s smile is so easy and charming, we can see why he either helps or dupes so many. It cuts across his face in the way that men in magazines smile, but it’s not an affectation. It’s just how he is. He holds his rangey arms out in an almost joyous shrug.
Sage Pontiff: I will win tonight or I will lose tonight. In so much as our paths have been linked, my fate tonight is already something that has yet to happen and is happening, it is both historical and imagined. Right?
The smile gets even wider.
Sage Pontiff: I hope we both bleed.
Now the smile fades, not for sadness. Back to his standard setting, somewhere amidst permanently stoned and truly enlightened.
Sage Pontiff: But whether I’m getting the hand raised or going out on my back…Ria, I’ll always return to you. Because our work is not done. There is dissonance in the psychosphere that will not be resolved until we finish that work. And when we’re done…you will feel light as a feather. Enlightened. Soaring. A being of love. I feel you.
The countenance of Buddha breaks into a smirk.
Sage Pontiff: Do you feel me?
With that, he clasps hands and bows deeply, reverently. Then he pops his back and begins to walk out of frame. We cut away.