From a distance, her legs look like a tight pair of pants with intricate designs.  But as she came closer, he saw that they were tattoos, directions actually on how to find her vagina. The poor woman had apparently dated men unprepared for what she had to offer them, but she was accommodating, and now she walked with a man who could have been twice fitted within those same tattooed legs. He had a very full head of hair, dark, and unkempt.  As he talked, she for her part only smiled, being more a woman of maps than words. 

He passed them going one direction and returned to pass them yet again.  The young man had not finished his story although the time had been maybe 20 or 30 minutes.  Talking was safe.  Maybe that is why he talked so much.  The map required more action than talking.  This was not a place for action but the imagining of action. And she, enjoying his chatter, or seeming to, was content to reach their destination where talking would no longer have its excuse.

They were not young, but they seemed young to him.  These two were mismatched and lonely. He could see that through their loneliness.  They had found one another, just as people of desperate need and disparate size somehow travel long distances together looking for a map room of truth.  And this led him to think, what if the map leads nowhere? What if the destination is only in the imagination as it had been for him?   It seemed to him every Mount Everest ended in Death Valley.  Could that be so for the for the skinny man and the woman who wore tattoos as pants?  Hers was not a map at all.  It was a war zone. It was a chaotic diaspora of symbols that invited the traveler, ‘walk any direction you choose as long as we remain together.’ 

He concluded that the world seemed to have order mostly because we needed it to be so.  Maybe the nameless God was not bad at all but just an extension of our wishes. This was a hard idea. He cringed at a world was without God. Even Nietzsche couldn’t accept that.   Instead of attacking God, he attacked those who had forgotten God.  They had so forgotten God that they didn’t know it was they who were under attack.

Beauty was the conundrum. It was everywhere. You had to live decades and go deliberately blind not to see it. The most tragic of us are those who are alive just long enough to see beauty in the moment before our eyes close forever.

Freud could have repented.  He could have said that all of his psychiatry was bullshit, because it had deprived itself of the center.  Stubborn to avoid the embarrassment of a wasted life, he chose to deny the very thing he thought was the problem, denial itself. He would not yield to God, and thereby defile his immortal claim to mortality. 

He wished he’d had time to read the map of the woman’s legs.  He wished she would open them to the truth of existence.  He wondered, was she an unwitting vessel of deep truths hidden in the darkness of her vagina?  Lewis and Clark might travel there, but not he.  He was old now, and she, the keeper of the map, continued her walk with the chattering young man.