A few weeks ago, I was extremely fortunate to catch Savitar at sunset after he’d spent a long day surfing. I wasn’t too keen about sitting on wet sand since I’m more of a moon-tanner-run-along-the-hillsides than beach person, but hey . . . what’s a little discomfort when you have a chance to talk to such a scary, compelling . . . creature?
So I coated myself in sunblock SPF 3000, took my life into my own hands, and asked my most burning question of the Chthonian guardian.
SK: So Sav . . . since you spend so many hours a day surfing, don’t you ever worry about your tattoos fading?
Noted noncommital answer and unamused, irritated stare. Then I moved to the first question I had from fans.
SK: Okay, the one thing everyone wants to know about you. Who and what are you, really?
Savitar: If I wanted a psych session, I’d be lying on a couch in an office that irritates me, paying some asshole to play covert Angry Birds or Ruzzle while pretending to listen to me ramble about bullshit no one cares about, and why I’m still mad at my mama for not buying me a toy as a kid. What I am is pissed off 99.9% of the time . . . like now.
Beginning to fear for my life, I made another note, swallowed hard and moved along to the next fan inquiry.
SK: What do you feel when you’re surfing?
Not wanting to get caught in the endless loop that I foresaw coming, I jotted down the answer and flipped through my notes.
SK: Would you be considered the Unstoppable Force, or the Immovable Object?
Savitar: Depends which side of the war I’m on.
SK: Ah . . . funny you should mention wars and sides. What are your feelings toward Styxx of Didymos?
A blank stare answered me.
Savitar: Feelings are never simple, are they? Nothing’s cut and dry. But he’s still counted among the living . . . for now . . . so I guess you could say I haven’t reached my wit’s end with him.
Noted the catch in his voice as he spoke and pondered what it meant for Styxx.
SK: You like him?
Savitar: He’s breathing.
SK: That’s not an answer.
Savitar: That’s not a question.
My turn to heh.
SK: Ash is one of your favorite people and Styxx tried to kill him. Why haven’t you exacted revenge on Styxx for that?
Savitar: Who says I didn’t?
SK: So you did?
Savitar: Who says I did?
SK: You did.
Savitar: Did I?
Realizing I was back in that Who’s-on-first loop again, I changed the subject.
SK: Urian told me that when he brought you to Styxx, you—
Savitar: We’re not talking about that.
His quick-draw sullen glare made me scoot back on the sand, and ask the last question on my list.
SK: I know you didn’t have the best past and that there’s a lot of things you refuse to talk about. I well understand why you don’t like other beings and why you live here alone. But you do reach out to people and Weres, as you’ve done recently with Styxx and Acheron. How do you decide who to help and who to hurt?
Savitar: You know what I hate?
Passed a no-shit stare to me.
Savitar: The cruelty that lives inside us all. Even me. That need to lash out when we’re in pain and to inflict as much misery and damage as we can on those unfortunate bastards around us. It sucks when we attack a stranger, but it’s worse when it’s someone we love.
SK: Have you ever hurt someone you love?
Savitar: We all have.
SK: Did you try to apologize?
His slow and deep breathing warned me that I was on dangerous ground again.
Savitar: There are some things that sorry doesn’t fix.
SK: Would that apply to Styxx and Acheron?
Savitar: That’s a question only they can answer. And there’s this one thing that keeps me from ending this hell-hole we call life.
SK: And that is?
Savitar: The three things in the universe that even I, with all my powers, will never understand.
He ticked them off on his fingers.
Savitar: The full depth and breadth of human stupidity. And people’s cruelty to each other. And the infinite capacity of a heart to find a way to love someone even though it’s been busted to hell by them.
SK: I think Bethany might have said it best. There’s a difference between being broken and wounded. Wounds can and will heal in time.
Savitar: True . . . and some breaks, even compound fractures, can be repaired.
SK: Does that include the one you never talk about?
He turned a sad smile toward the sunset.
Savitar: Perhaps there is hope for all of us . . . Even me. And perhaps tomorrow, I’ll get up and decide to open the door for Apollymi, set her loose on the world, and say “bon appétit, mon ange.”
With that, he got up and walked toward his solitary house. I started to go after him then realized he needed his time out. And that I really liked breathing, and that at home, I had waiting for me three boys of my own. Having seen what can happen to kids left alone, I plan to be here like Apollymi and to guard my Boos with everything I have.
After all, the most dangerous creature on the planet is a mother, of any species, who’s protecting her young. That was a lesson I learned well from my own mother, and when it comes to looking at other people, I always try to keep in mind what Plato wrote in his Laws dialogue: You are young, my son, and, as the years go by, time will change and even reverse many of your present opinions. Refrain therefore awhile from setting yourself up as a judge of the highest matters.
You can never look into the heart of someone else until you’ve seen the world through their eyes. And Styxx opened my eyes to many, many things.