The King, the Two, and the Search for Home

Most sources say that, in the beginning, there were just two of them. Honestly, I think that’s quite unlikely. There must have been millions. We won’t have time, however, to look into all of their stories. So I picked two of them, at random, a man and a woman.

To understand what their world looked like, you’ll have to get out of your comfort zone for a moment or two. Don’t worry, it’s safe. Make sure you’re in a place surrounded by other people. Don’t read any further until you’re in the middle of a crowd, in a café, or watching through your window as people cross a busy intersection. Are you there? Ready now! Look at that swarm of known or unknown faces, and imagine, for a bit, that they’re all naked. Keep at it for a while.

As odd as it may sound, that’s what their world was like. In the beginning, they were all naked. Not once or twice a day, but all the time. Not just the two of them. The whole million.

They did wear clothes, though. It wasn’t their bodies that were naked, no, only their minds. Innocent, with nothing to hide, with no self-critical inner-voice, they all lived in … some sort of eternal moment. And the most amazing bit was that, everywhere they went … they felt like they belonged.

Although grown up, in the prime of their life, the two were really bad at communicating. The funny thing was – they had no clue. And so it happened that one day as they roamed around the world, they encountered a group of storytellers, and joined them. The first time the two shared a story, it sounded a bit like this: I … umm .. went to work … and … then … I … came back. Umm, that was it. The storytellers could have looked at two, stuttering, and said, you guys, you have no chance, go away and try something else. Instead, they saw in them people who are yet to learn to think in words. After just one month, the two left the group, now both of them master storytellers.

And so they grew, and bloomed, and everywhere they went, they felt that they belonged. Until one day, when they heard that a stranger from another land was roaming in their neighborhood. Rumor was that he was a man of great standing, distinguished in his speech by a prominent hiss, who tried, without success, to poison people with dangerous ideas. And there he sat, one day at dusk, in the middle of the woods, right in front of them, relaxing on the branch of a tree. His eyes strange, his voice a hiss, his mind covered in “clothes”, so they couldn’t read his true intentions.

You are beautifully perfect, man and woman, he said, you are as perfect as all the other beings, and as happy as all the rest. There is only one thing that you are missing, and that thing only I can teach you. It is a secret hidden from the beginnings of time that I can bestow on you, on one condition: that you will listen to what I have to say.

Ok, said the man and he looked cheerful at the woman. The only thing he could waste is our time, and since we live in the eternal moment, we’re pretty safe, I think.

Let’s give him a chance, said the woman, he has been traveling around, offering free advice, and nobody even dares to listen to him.

You have spoken wise words, my dear, said the stranger, his hiss now turning into a load roar, and his stature raising high above the trees.  I will teach you the greatest wisdom of all. I will show you how to distinguish between good … and better. You… you guys, you waste too much energy with all that team spirit, help each other kind of attitude. Focus on yourselves! Focus on your defects! And learn how to fix them! Become better than the others! And wear some “clothes” for heaven’s sake, you are disgusting. I cannot stand watching into your true emotions, and listening to your true thoughts.

His words pierced through their souls and broke their wholesome hearts. Envy and pride spread like a contagion. In one year, one year only, Cain, their older son, killed Abel, jealous that the younger was loved for his better spirit. Their daughters were kidnapped because they were more beautiful than all the other women. Their house, which showed behind a window, the very first and most beautiful rose in the world, still unwithered, their one and only house, was robbed, and the rose never to be found again.

Paradise was not taken away… It slowly disappeared. Nobody, nobody was naked anymore. And as if things were not bad enough already, the woman and the man were punished to live forever.

Quick and sure, the whole of mankind became greedy and stopped caring about the earth. Temperatures rose, and people ignored the warning of water levels rising. And then … came the flood.

Through the whole thing, the man and the women watched, in despair, humankind stripped of kindness. Through the night, when they were not dreaming all the nightmares of mankind, one could at times, hear them whispering … home, I want home.

Many ages passed, centuries. Every cycle of history was for them a commemoration of the beginnings. Every “promised land”, every hope, was followed by an exile. Worn down by the burden of time, their hearts withered, and the two forgot, for good, what it was like to feel at home.

And here they were, many thousands of years later, in exile, serving at the court of the greatest king on earth. For all the wisdom they have acquired over millennia, they have earned their position as advisors to the king. It was the middle of the night, when the king called the man and the woman, in an terrible mood. I had a dream, and I demand to know what it means, said the king,  What is the dream? they asked. I do not know, but you, who have dreamed all the dreams of mankind, will surely be able to dream my dream. And so the man and the woman went to sleep, and they both dreamt the same dream. They saw a big statue, with head of gold, chest of silver, belly of bronze, legs of iron, and feet of clay and iron. A rock came out of nowhere and smashed the statue from its feet, and covered the entire earth. And as soon as they woke up, the man and the woman ran off to the king to tell him the meaning of the dream. You, king, and your kingdom, are the head of gold. But your kingdom will not last forever, after you will come another one, and then another one. And at the end of times, a rock will smash all kingdoms, and then, we’ll be home. But the king said, Nooooo! My kingdom, which is the best kingdom, will last forever, I will make the world great again! I will conquer everybody, and then make them feel like home! I will restore paradise! And grumbling angrily, he went out, and ordered a huge statue to be built in front of the palace, one made entirely out of gold, with a big wall around it so that no rock could topple it down.

When the king calmed down from his anger, the man and the woman went to him and said: there was one more thing in the dream, which we didn’t have the chance to tell you. Come, we’d like to show you something. And they walked up to the nearby mountain, and started climbing.

On his way up, the king was sweating like never before. Sweating because of his many clothes, sweating angrily because he could not keep up with a man and woman thousands of year old. Slowly, they got to the mountain top, and up there, the king, the man, and the woman, discovered, in awe, one thing that neither of them has seen in their dream: a person, naked, the first naked person they have seen in ages, with emotions so true, and thoughts so pure that they shined through her eyes.

That was when the man and the woman remembered again what it was like to be naked. What it was like to be home. To belong. And their withered hearts started beating again. Drawn to that image of humbleness, the king took off his crown, and, as he did that, a little rock slipped from under his foot, ran down to the statue he just built, ran through the wall, hit the statue at the bottom, and it toppled down. And the king asked, confused, wait, I thought you said that in the dream, the rock will destroy the statue at the end of time! And the man and the woman answered: this is the end of time, from now on we live in the eternal moment…

I don’t know what became of them afterwards, but for that moment, for that eternal moment, they were home.

And if at times, you see me speak naked, it’s because I feel home. Home is where you don’t know anyone, but you still feel you belong, home is where the people around you are naked, home is where mom makes soup.

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