Random note: before you begin, note that Shangri-La isdefined as "a remote beautiful imaginary place where life approaches perfection," and originally depicted in the novel "Lost Horizon" by James Hilton. It's like another synonym for paradise.

Now, then…

Ask Nothing

Life is a funny thing that way.

Life is a funny thing every way.

One day flows into the next and it does not take long for us to forget when one ends and another begins.

Constantly we are boats against the current, and ambiguous details and ambiguous people are forgotten as we struggle to flow without the crowd.

For us, life is much like this. We fight what is right in order to fulfill our own needs and desires and are pulled away from the tide in that. Nature deems that all creatures live in harmony, that they lift the fallen and carry them to Shangri-La on their backs. But we stand tall for ourselves, and we pretend to seek this utopia for all who follow us when in fact we seek it only for ourselves, and on the way there we defend only ourselves and what belongs to us.

Or maybe it's something entirely different. Maybe we truly are meant to follow nature's course and help each other reach paradise, maybe we are meant to lift up the fallen and carry them on our backs. Maybe we're all wrong.

I suppose that's why we're driving each other insane.

Is that the best word for it?

No, I don't suppose it is.

I do not know what it is to be insane, because, to be truthful, if I have ever been sane, I have not known it. Not knowing one side of the coin, I cannot say I am the other. So then what are we doing, if not driving each other insane? If not casting each other off into a world we already inhabit?

Maybe we're saving the last bit of sanity we have left.

But if that is what we are doing—if that is not, even, then how are we doing it? I do not know, and I do not know many things, but as I stop to think about it…

It is not love.

Of that I am certain.

I will not say we cannot feel love, for I know we can. We simply do not. I do not. Have not. Maybe I cannot. I know he does; I see it in his eyes every time he looks to his sister. I have yet to feel such an emotion. The woman called my mother is simply a tool, one I have used for eighteen years to pull myself closer to paradise.

The man called my lover is no such thing.

More than lust, I have my way with him and let him do the same and I am silent. Calling out would not be fair; he did no such thing to me and I will return the favor. We are not loving, we are not caring, we are not trusting. We are relieving, we are saving each other.

I will not suddenly declare my great love for him, and he will not ask for a deep and heartfelt relationship. We will give and we will take and we will expect nothing in return. In this unspoken promise, our giving and our taking, our selfish relief, it all works. We are assured of everything staying meaningless, staying heartless, staying silent. We can move on and forget, taking with us only the temporary liberation and using it for ourselves.

Are we defying nature in our bastardization of a relationship? Maybe. But it does not matter. We are using what we have to move on between days that we cannot distinguish from one another, and there is no shame in that. If nature meant for us to follow its course, obey its laws, it should have provided us with better tools by which to do so.

I am devoted to no master. I am loyal to no side. I am selfless for no other. Everything is calculated by me, for me, to help me in the end. I may seem selfless as I act—all the better. But truly I am not.

I expect no more from my lover who does not love me. And in that, we make it work.

Whatever it is we have together, we make it work. We force it to fit the mold we have created, and we keep at bay any treacherous thoughts, emotions, expressions which may disrupt our perfect relief.

It is equal in every way and I use him as he uses me.

We seek nothing and we find nothing.

We expect nothing.

Ask nothing.