If there’s one thing you’ve learned about Mima, it’s that convincing her of anything means inciting her to argument. If you’re of a mind to defeat her misgivings about you, you’ll need to rile her up somehow – to draw her out from behind the barriers of reservation and indifference that she’s raised around her heart and then level with her in a straightforward defense of your actions. The first step, then, is…
“It’s my love for the Lady that’s caused you so much pain and heartbreak?” you ask innocently. “Why?”
“…I have to spell it out for you?”
“You do. Because even if you don’t love me anymore, Mima, I still love you, and the thought of becoming estranged from you over half-truth and mutual misunderstandings is too much for me to bear silently.”
Her answer comes by way of a laugh so hardhearted and cynical that Boreas himself would shiver to hear it. “You ‘love’ me? And what does that actually mean? You told ‘that one’ the same thing, didn’t you?”
“If it’s to the Lady Saigyouji that you’re referring with such undeserved contempt, I didn’t just say it to her; I meant it.”
“And let me guess,” she counters: “you also ‘meant it’ when you were sobbing your poisoned tears all over the place and begging for me to forgive you?”
“Mima – are you trying to make the case that I’m insincere about my feelings because they don’t belong to you alone?”
“‘Sir Monk’ – are you trying to argue that you’re not a charlatan and philanderer who tells any woman he fancies as attractive that he loves her?”
“‘Argue?’” you say in a surprised voice. “It was never my intention to ‘argue’ anything; I’d simply like to relate the truth of the matter, which is that you’ve a wrong impression of me and my motives. Mima, you claim that I exclusively love beauties; but,” you pause, willing all of your words’ integrity to your face, “I can say without any reservations that I count Murasaki and Youki as dear to me.”
“You love them,” she repeats incredulously.
“As surely as I homage the Gods and follow in the footsteps of the Buddha, I do.” Swearing it, you press your hands to your heart and smile fondly.
This last flourish is what touches off Mima’s temper. Grimacing, her pale face flushing livid, her fine brows contorting crossly, her delicate chin squared away with displeasure, she responds: “…You can’t be serious. You’ve known that crone for what, a day? And that scoundrel – he wanted to kill you!”
A sigh escapes you. “I can’t help but feel a little surprised at you, Mima. With how perfectly you professed to understand the virtues of forward and spontaneous action, I thought that you would’ve long ago seen past what ‘staid convention’ and ‘superficial morality’ would have us believe, despite all of the contrary evidence – the fallacy that love takes months or years of being together in order to grow up between people.”
“Are you an idiot? Or is your memory as defective as your ‘love’?” She points sharply. “Haven’t you been deceived countless times by women you didn’t know well enough? Haven’t you seen dozens of dying relationships in the practice of your ministry? What kind of person are you, to be saying in the face of your own proofs that ‘all the evidence is to the contrary?’ What kind of person are you, to be saying that love doesn’t time?”
“Neither an incompetent, amnesiac or hypocrite,” you answer boldly. “Observe, Mima, that you’re while very right to maintain that empathy, confidence and lasting fidelity – in short, those invaluable qualities that are the province of trust
– take time to develop fully, you carry your conclusions too far in applying them to love
. This isn’t fiction. The increase of tender feelings as depicted in dramas and shown in stories is necessarily a turbulent, drawn-out and histrionic affair because it’s wound up with all of the other great happenings and conflicts and goings-on; in other words, it can’t be consummated or terminated unless everything else it’s with everything else. The dashing rogue can’t run off with the princess until the wicked prime minister’s been put down; the hero can’t have a happy life with his most beloved
unless his friends are saved and the future’s been changed for the better. Reality, on the other hand, works without the constraints and delays of plot. You can divine a Lady’s character in one afternoon, her intelligence in one conversation and her loveliness in one look, if you’re a worthy man, and I’ve no doubt that a good woman could accomplish the same feat as easily; therefore, I think it’s both plausible and perfectly natural that a newly-met pair could come to love each other very quickly, provided that they’re honest with their emotions. Do you disagree?”
Considering your words with eyes closed and one hand held up to her temples, Mima nods carefully. “…I see. So then what is it you love about those two?”
“Well, to put it very simply,” you say in a moment of further inspiration, “I love them for what makes them, them
. I love Youki for his unflinching fearlessness, his forthright address and his rare devotion to the woman he loves – although I hope his reciprocity eventually advances beyond chaste ‘devotion.’ As for Murasaki – she’s a funny old woman. I never had the honor of meeting my grandparents, but I’m sure that if I had, my grandmothers would have been just like her.”
“Is there anyone you don’t love?”
This question is less scornful in its tone than it is subtle and interrogative, and it immediately calls to mind one face – a merciless and evil face, hidden under its liar’s veil and tyrant’s crown, the thought of which prompts you to tell her, “Though I strive to have sympathy for all living things, there are some who, on account of their cruelty towards the downtrodden and defenseless, I will never accept as anything other than an enemy.”
“And the people you love – you love them all equally?”
“Not by any means: my love might be, for the most part, impartial, but it’s far from indiscriminate! It’s one of the limitations of who I am now, unfortunately. If I had the heart of a Buddha, Bodhisattva or Arhat, being awakened to Emptiness after some ten lifetimes of moral reflection and charitable actions, I would have love enough to save the Six Realms and Three Worlds* in their entirety; alas, I’m human. The heart with that I love others is fickle, intemperate and incontinent; is prone to passions and prejudices; is given to anger, sadness and self-love; is sickly and altogether imperfect in its constitution. Knowing this, for me to claim my acquaintances, friends and family as being on the same footing would not only be doing them all a great disservice – it would cause me to become guilty of the sins with that you’ve charged me, besides.”
Her reaction is as swift as it is decisive. Standing up suddenly from her seat by the wall, Mima sweeps back her blue-black cape and menaces you with a very bright smile.
*As a reminder: the ‘Six Realms’ are the six courses of reincarnation (God, Human, Asura, Animal, Starving Ghost, Hell) in the world of Desire or, according to a less theistic interpretation, an allegory, the true purpose of which is to summarize the behaviors, mindset and root causes of craving and why it inevitably results in self-deception, self-destruction or abject misery. In the same vein, the ‘Three Worlds’ are both literal planes of existence (the earthly world, a material Heaven and an immaterial Heaven) layered one on top of the other or a metaphor for the three classes of mental obstacles to Enlightmenment (Desires, Perception and Forms; Cognition/Consciousness and the Ego). >>125764
Not everyone makes this distinction, but Myouren believes Reason is a shield for the cause of Truth, Beauty and Justice (read again what he says to Youki here >>120752
). For him, an exercise in rhetoric with deception as an end isn't relying on Reason, but on Guile. >>125686
Trying is what's important. Failure can be sometimes be covered in glory, but inaction is never anything other than pathetic.