“April, wake up.”
April Renatus came up slowly from sleep. Her eyes fluttered open and discovered an unattractive man staring back at her. He had a fat, red nose and small, close-set eyes.
It took a split-second, but then the events from the previous day flooded back into her head. She’d woken up almost twenty-four hours earlier to discover Tyler (the guy she’d been squatting with) had stolen everything of value they shared, including their food, booze, a small stash of money and most of her extra clothes.
April knew Tyler stole everything and disappeared because he was a junkie and that’s just the kind of things junkies did. After living on the street for six years, she took it for granted a lot of the men she met would be addicted to one thing or another, but Tyler had seemed different. She knew he had a problem, but he’d always been weirdly sweet and fair about it, willing to suffer a little withdrawal if it meant they both would get something to eat. Then, after three months, he ghosted with her stuff.
Most of the previous day had been spent going to Tyler’s normal haunts and hoping to catch him out. None of it came to anything and no one would cop to having seen him. Tyler used to talk sometimes about just packing up and going to California. When her searching came to nothing, she figured that must’ve been where he’d gone—chasing his dream of being a musician the same way he chased his drug habit. Even with near-constant temptation swirling around her on the streets, April had never succumbed to the lure of any drug harder than alcohol or weed.
Greg, the red-nosed fellow with the close-set eyes, came into the picture around ten o’clock the previous night. April had been standing around near the front of a liquor store, spare changing, when the man came up and asked her if she’d like to share a drink with him. Normally, April had a rule: never take anything from a person she wouldn’t want to fuck. Her time in the streets had taught her that men didn’t just offer to help women, they were always after something, most commonly the warm place between her legs. As such, she had learned not to bother taking anything from anyone she wouldn’t be willing to service in one sexual way or another.
As much as this sad reality disgusted and depressed her, she had long-ago come to terms with the grim reality of her situation. Greg, the red-nosed man fit firmly under the category of guys she didn’t want to fuck—but she’d been really upset and hurt about Tyler, so she’d taken a chance and gone along with him for a drink.
A whole bunch of drinks later, he’d put his hand on her ass as she knew he would eventually and rather than get into a big scene that would end in a beating (best case) or with her sleeping in a doorway and freezing to death (worst case), she let him grab and take her back to his shitty-ass apartment that did (at least) feature a relatively clean-smelling goose down blanket and heat.
She didn’t enjoy the night before, but she hadn’t enjoyed many of the nights since her father died when she was fifteen. She never knew her mother because she died in childbirth. Her dad had been a good man who did his best to raise a daughter even though he knew almost nothing about children or what they needed. For six psychologically devastating months after his death, April went to live with her Aunt Bettie, but the woman hated April’s intrusion into her life and shortly before her sixteenth birthday, April stole all of the cash she could find from Aunt Bettie’s house and went to live on her own on the streets.
Six years later, her decision had ultimately led her into the bed of a man she found physically repugnant for the reward of some liquor and a warm bed. April knew herself to be worth more than that—even if she couldn’t quite bring herself to live in a way that reflected this knowledge. She told herself she had no choice, but deep down, she knew she did, even if the parts on top convinced her otherwise sometimes.
“Good morning,” Greg said, seeing her eyes fluttering open.
April gave an awkward smile and pulled the sheet up over her naked breasts. “Uh, good morning.”
“I was watching you sleep, you’re very beautiful.”
“Uh, thank you,” she replied, discreetly glancing around the room and locating her clothes and the one valuable thing she still owned, her thick winter coat. She’d been sleeping in it when Tyler disappeared, a small mercy.
“What would you like to do today?” Greg asked.
April knew she faced a crossroads. The details of Greg’s situation floated back into her memory. He got a disability check for a piece of shrapnel left in his leg that made walking difficult. She could stay with him. Even with the funk of life on the street on her, April was attractive. If she stayed, he’d certainly want to keep fucking her. It would be an unwritten rule that he could do with her as he pleased—it always was. So far, he hadn’t shown any particularly disturbing personality traits and he hadn’t wanted to do anything weird in bed the night before, but what kind of person picks up a homeless woman, gets her drunk and then suggests they go home together so “she can get a nice, warm sleep?”
She looked over at Greg, gauging whether she could deal with staying. Had she fallen that far? Was she desperate enough to remain in such a situation?
“I’m sorry Greg, I need to get going. I have…an interview.”
“For what? A job on Wall Street?” he asked. April didn’t like the inherent insult in his tone.
She thought of telling him she needed to be interviewed by a doctor studying the rare and fatal sexually transmitted disease she carried. It wasn’t true, but what did that matter? Instead, she went with something plausible and said, “No, it’s an interview with a women’s shelter.”
“You don’t need that, you could stay here,” Greg said, reaching out and putting his hand high up on her thigh.
April quickly brought her own hand over the top of his, pinning it in place and preventing it from sliding up any further. She shifted her weight and started to pull away, but, as she’d feared it might, the grip on her leg tightened.
“Hey, where are you going?” he asked, pretending he wasn’t squeezing her leg hard enough to hurt.
“I told you,” she said, her teeth tightly gnashed together, “I have to go to my interview,” she pulled away again, this time hard enough to break free from his grip.
She saw his piggy eyes go dark and in her head a countdown clock appeared. She couldn’t be sure when it would run out of time, but when it did, she’d have to shift pretty quickly into fight mode if she wanted to avoid getting her head knocked in.
Her eyes fell on the cane he used to get around. It sat leaning in the crook created by the bedside table and the bed itself. Thinking back to the night before, she remembered he’d needed to lean heavily on it to walk. If she took it away from him, he wouldn’t be able to give chase, at least not with any efficiency. She formulated her plan in her head and acted before her hesitancy eliminated all her good options.
Moving with sudden speed, April pushed herself away from Greg and dropped off the opposite side of the bed from where he sat in the chair. Predictably, he leaned forward to try to grab her. Instead of jumping back, she leaned forward, grabbed his forearm and yanked as hard as she could, dragging him off balance and dropping him face first lengthwise across the bed.
Dressed only in panties, April released Greg’s arm, ran around the bed and scooped up her clothes and his cane in one quick motion. She considered and decided it would be better to give someone a show in the hall then take the chance that she could get her coat on before he found a way to get across the room without his cane.
As she ran out the door, she saw him struggling to gain his feet, bellowing at her like a whale. She slammed the door and raced down the hall, only stopping when she’d found the door leading to the stairwell down to first floor of Greg’s dilapidated apartment building. She paused, pulled on her pants, boots and jacket, zipping it up over her breasts and sticking her shirt and socks into her pocket. She turned and ran down the stairs.
At the bottom of the stairs, safely out of sight from Greg, she stopped and put on her socks and shirt before going out into the cold. She pawned Greg’s cane (which she realized had a nice brass top on it) for $12. Then she popped into a used bookstore and spent a half-hour browsing before picking up a quarter paperback by a new writer named Stephen King. Then she walked around for a while before stepping into a McDonalds to get some breakfast. She got a cup of coffee and spend a few minutes reading and letting the chill air seep out of her bones.
Because she’d arrived in the limbo between breakfast and lunch, McDonald’s wasn’t crowded. A man sat in the corner eating pancakes and a couple sat talking intensely about something in the corner. Trying not to look like a woman who’d put her clothes on in a hallway, April took her coffee and sat down far enough from the door that she wouldn’t get hit with a blast of frigid air when it opened.
The coffee’s heat overwhelmed the flavor, but April didn’t mind, with each sip she felt her core temperature coming up. She flipped open the book to the first page and started to read.
While April sat nurturing the warmth and reading, Eddie and Delbert walked in the front door wearing matching black sweat suits. April didn’t notice them at first, she kept her eyes locked on her cup. She’d learned the trick after years on the street—keeping one’s head down and eyes locked on food decreases the amount you get fucked with by asshole managers for loitering.
A short bark of laughter from Delbert pulled April’s eyes from her coffee and she spotted the two men approaching the counter. She’d seen the people in the black sweat suits a lot over the last couple of months, they were forever carrying clipboards and asking for donations to their cause. April didn’t know the details of what they were selling, and she’d never really been tempted to find out.
This time, however, she had a reason to notice. April’s eyes locked onto Eddie like a dog’s eyes onto a squirrel. He was the sexiest man she’d ever seen (in real life), with large, kind eyes, nice hair, a muscular body and a smile that twinkled across the McDonalds. Briefly, April entertained the fantasy that she could be his wife and then she remembered she’d had sex with a random man the night before just to stay warm—such women were not, she knew, considered a catch.
Still, she kept an eye on Eddie while he ordered his food. He never looked directly at her, but Delbert did. They were too far away for her to hear, but she didn’t think she was paranoid in thinking he’d seen her and said something to Eddie. When they got their food and started walking in her general direction, this feeling only got stronger, even though neither of them looked at her again.
Then, it happened.
Delbert slipped on something. April didn’t see what, but she couldn’t miss the fall itself. He came down like a ton of bricks, food and drink flew everywhere in a prat fall worthy of the Marx Brothers. April didn’t know Delbert faked the fall, it certainly looked real enough. As she instinctively got up to help the man, she noticed he’d dropped a small bundle of bills onto the floor. With Eddie’s help, Delbert climbed slowly to his feet while April picked up his tray and the scattered remnants of his food.
As nonchalantly as possible, she kept swinging her eyes to the money, registering the twenty-dollar bill wrapped around the outside. Internally, she started to scream. She wanted to take the money, she wanted to stomp her foot down over the top of it so no one else would notice or just snatch it up off of the floor and get the hell out of there knowing she’d have enough money to get a shitty hotel room for the night.
Then she and Eddie met eyes for the briefest moment and she couldn’t do it. They were a striking blue, amplified by the drabness of his sweat suit. Instead of hiding the money, she reached down, picked up the wad and said, “Hey, you dropped this too.”
Delbert smiled and took the money from her. “That’s very kind of you, I’m wondering if you’d like to join us?”
Her first reaction was to say no. Especially since Delbert did the asking. But then she had the courage to look over at Eddie again and saw he wanted her to sit with them too, he smiled and nodded encouragement.
“Well, sure I guess. You’re going to need some new food though.”
Delbert waved the money she’d returned to him, “Thanks to you, I can still afford it,” he grinned and walked back towards the counter, leaving her alone with Eddie.
“Er, hi, my name is April,” she said, feeling flustered around a boy in a way she hadn’t for years.
“Eddie,” he replied, grinning.
They stood together for a moment, awkward. Deep down in their secret hearts, they both knew the world had just forever changed. There was the time before they met and the time after, like Before Christ and After Death (BC & AD). Because Delbert had fallen on purpose, Eddie had a script to follow, which put him at a distinct advantage regarding what to say next.
He continued, “Let’s, uh, grab a table,” they walked a few steps and sat down at a small 4-top table with the seats bolted into the floor around it. Eddie and April sat down across from one another, both making more unbroken eye contact than is normal for two strangers.
She started with the obvious question, “Why are you and your friend both wearing black sweat suits? Are you on the same bowling team or something?”
“Something like that, yeah,” Eddie agreed. “It’s not a sports team though, it’s an Organization.”
“The Order of the Black Sweat Suits?”
Eddie laughed, to April it sounded like music. He said, “No, the matching clothes are really just something we do for convenience. There are a number of us working on a big project and keeping the laundry straight developed into more of a hassle than it was worth.”
April shrugged, it seemed like a reasonable explanation, but it raised plenty of other questions. “So then, what? You’re like a Hare Krishna or a Mormon or something?” she asked, a hint of disappointment creeping involuntarily into her voice.
“Not like that at all. I’m an engineer with a Master’s Degree from Cal Tech. I graduated last year,” he regretted the words the moment they came out of his mouth. He sounded braggy. He had to admit, he was being braggy–he couldn’t help himself, he wanted to impress her.
“So, you’re educated, that doesn’t mean you’re immune to being in a cult,” she shrugged. “Lots of smart people are in cults. They also run them, maybe you’re just the guy in charge,” April could tell Eddie had sensitivities vis a vis the cult issue, but she had to push him a little bit, she didn’t like guys who took themselves too seriously. She continued, “Is that it, are you the cult mastermind?”
He said, “I’m not even in charge of the science faction. The guy in charge of us is named Wozz and just because we all have pictures of him on our underwear does not mean this is a cult,” Eddie laughed again, the sound even better than before because it mean he didn’t have a stick up his ass.
Delbert arrived back at the table, carrying a tray full of food. “They gave me a bunch of stuff and didn’t charge me for it. I think they wanted to make sure I wouldn’t sue anyone,” he grinned like a kid.
Sitting down, Delbert passed a container of fries over to April who shrugged and took them as if the thought of getting more food didn’t thrill her. “So what are you guys talking about?” he asked.
April replied, “Well, Eddie here was just regaling me with stories of his academic prowess,” she said, teasing him and leaving out the cult issue entirely.
“She thinks we’re a cult,” Eddie said, “Because we’re all dressed the same.”
“If that’s true, then the military is a cult too,” Delbert said.
April shrugged, “They get people to willingly go off and get killed for totally idiotic reasons—in what way isn’t the military a cult?”
“You make a fair point,” he agreed. He smiled and gave Eddie a knowing look.
Her own curiosity piqued, April said, “So tell me Eddie, what brings you and your clumsy friend here to the McDonalds today?”
Eddie grinned. “We’re fishing.”
A frown creased April’s forehead. “Fishing?”
Eddie shrugged, “Well, maybe that’s the wrong word.”
“It’s a pretty good word,” Delbert said. “I’m Delbert by the way.”
April gave him a strained smile. “April. I’m sorry, fishing for what?”
“We’re fishing for people who are honest, outgoing and sharp. You’re all three I’m happy to say,” Eddie declared.
“And gorgeous, but that’s just a bonus,” Delbert added, earning himself a furious look of condemnation from Eddie.
April thought about what had happened when they came by her table. She asked, “So you’re saying when Delbert fell—that was some kind of test?”
“Yup, we came up with it on the walk over here,” Delbert said.
“But it looked like you really wiped out.”
Delbert leaned forward conspiratorially, “I played soccer in high school. You might not know this, but in soccer, falling down is an art form. A well-acted flop onto the ground can be the difference between winning and losing.”
Eddie said, “When Delbert fell, he had about fifty bucks that went flying into the air. This was by design. Whether you look at it this way or not, you were, in that moment, presented with a bevy of choices. You could’ve decided to ignore him. You could’ve helped him in order to create a pretense to steal some of the money. You could’ve helped and then taken some of the money while you were gathering it up. You didn’t do any of these dishonest things. You gave him all of the money back. Now, I don’t know your situation, but I know I could use fifty bucks and I’m guessing you could too, but you didn’t take it.”
April didn’t like Eddie intimating she had no money (even though she didn’t), but she understood his point: fifty bucks was a lot of money, even for someone with a good job. The thought of stealing the money certainly crossed her mind, Eddie’s cuteness had as much to do with her decision to give it back as any moral proscription of theft.
She said, “So, I’m honest. What does that mean?”
It means we’d like you to join our organization—or, more accurately, we’d like you to come and learn more about us—see if you’re interested. I think you’ll fit in well with us.”
“But I don’t have a master’s degree in anything. I never even went to college,” April replied.
“That doesn’t matter, we need people in the religious faction, the scientific faction’s team is complete already.”
April’s eyebrows crinkled. “So then, you’re recruiting me to join something called the religious faction?”
“Exactly,” Eddie smiled, finding himself quite terrified at the idea she might turn them down and he’d never see her again.
April knew she shouldn’t even be considering the offer. For starters, it sounded nuts: factions? She could think of three girls off the top of her head who were dead basically because they went along with a guy promising some new life and she doubted any of those guys said anything about factions. And yet, she wanted to know more.
She also found herself daydreaming about taking quick little vacations staring deeply into Eddie’s eyes.
Fuck it, it’s a slim chance at a better life, but it’s a chance. She thought.
“Tell me more…” she said.
April moved into the house four days after meeting Eddie and Delbert. As they thought she would, April hit it off immediately with Ted and Wozz and the rest of the group. Although April knew very little about Tesla going in, the more he learned, the more interested she became. More than anything, April liked how flawed Tesla was as a man. He was a sickly child, he never figured out how to maneuver around the businessmen he needed to fund his work, he had hallucinations, he had to cut his food in bizarrely precise ways and he even professed romantic love for a pigeon. And yet, in spite of these not insignificant flaws, the man did more for the world than anyone she could think to name.
Knowing his story made her feel like might be able to contribute to the world too, a feeling she’d lost long ago and one she missed badly. She’d had plenty of exposure to religious teachings during her time on the street. Most of the charitable work done in cities is done by the faith community, so getting a place to sleep or a bite to eat often comes with an implied understanding that if you take the food, you also take a sermon. Those teachings always seemed to rely on her needing to not do things her body clearly wanted to do—things like fucking or eating pork or taking enjoyment from the world. The joy was always supposed to come from god and she’d never felt it, not even enough to do a decent job of faking it.
The CHANGE Organization was different. It felt different. As soon as she walked into their headquarters, a sense of energy and common cause swept over her like a blast of air conditioning into a scorching day. She didn’t believe in things like auras, but she didn’t know what other way to contextualize the experience. Everyone, the entire headquarters, it visibly shimmered in a pale, pleasant white light.
Her relationship with Eddie continued to grow. He worked a lot, but even though she found herself missing him even after a few minutes, she’d come to understand the work they were trying to do—at least philosophically–and the part of her not falling head over heels for him knew how important it was for the science faction to keep making progress.
After a few days, she’d come to understand the differing roles of the science and religious factions. She thought it a little weird the religious folks did all of the cooking and cleaning and whatnot, but in truth, she’d seen Natalie wash dishes and Wozz taking out the garbage, so the division wasn’t as stark as it seemed when people were complaining. In an odd way, the complaints and imperfections in the way things worked made April feel more comfortable. The constant pushing back gave the group an egalitarian feel she liked. Had Wozz and Ted had different goals, the dynamics of the group would’ve been very different.
Delbert had introduced April to Ted on her first visit and they fell immediately into a big-brother/little-sister relationship almost immediately with Ted offering sage advice and April both listening to every word and rolling her eyes at the same time.
After a week of living in the headquarters, Ted interrupted April doing some dishes and gave her a present: a notebook and a pen. He said, “One of the things we’re learning in our process here is the importance of understanding where we come from. I’m giving you this notebook along with a suggestion to write out your own understanding of how you came to be here. Not how you met Eddie and Delbert at McDonalds, but your life, your choices that brought you here. When you’re finished, you can share it, burn it, bury it in the backyard, whatever you like. This is something I want you to do for yourself—not for me or anyone else.”
“But you’re asking me to do it, so it’s kind of for you.”
Ted laughed an exasperated laugh, “Jesus, you don’t let anything slide,” he shook his head, “and don’t ever start. Fine, you’re doing it for me for yourself. Is that better.”
April grinned and nodded, “Much better, yes. And thank you, I will give it a shot.”
Still chuckling to himself, Ted walked away.
April finished doing the dishes in the sink and then went up to the roof to work on her journal. She had a couple of hours before she had to meet Hector and Chuckie to go on her first ‘donation’ shift. Just thinking about it made her nervous and she couldn’t help wonder if the gift was timed to give her something else to focus on.
The roof had a deck across most of its surface with waist high railings all around. April could see all of downtown from the east railing and it had quickly become her favorite place in the world. The sight of the massive city made her feel calm. Just thinking about how many millions of people were there made her feel small. She liked feeling small, at least in this way. Big people were seen and being seen meant being vulnerable. She didn’t like being vulnerable.
Eddie counted as the exception that proved the rule. She couldn’t figure out why, but she felt none of the normal impulses she’d felt every other time she started to care about anyone in more than the most casual of ways. She liked being vulnerable with him, in a way she could in no way understand, she felt safe being vulnerable with him. When she told him about her past, she didn’t see pity in his eyes. She didn’t see disinterest or dismissal either. She felt empathy and that empathy made her feel amazing, like a real person for the first time in far too long.
Holding the notebook in her hand, April thought about the lyrics from one of her favorite Grateful Dead songs, ‘Mama, Mama, so many worlds I’ve come—since first left home.’ As the words drifted through her head, she found realized, to her surprise, she’d begun to weep. The crying felt good, cleansing. She let her tears fall for all of the things in her past that made her sad and for all of the things in the future that felt so exciting—and the guilt and fear of losing that future. She let it all wash over her and she cried and in the midst of her sadness felt so lucky to have met this group of amazing people with whom she would change the world and Eddie in particular with whom she would change her much smaller, more personal world from one of fear and desperation to one of stability and love.
Eddie had seen April go up to the roof and when he didn’t see her come back down, he decided to go check and make sure she was alright. When he saw her crying, he naturally assumed something had happened. He rushed to her side, surprising her and causing her to jump.
Holding her chest and with tears still rolling down her cheeks, she said, “Holy shit, you scared me half to death!”
Mortified, he said, “I’m so sorry. You were crying, so I knew something bad happened. I was worried about you.”
In her head, April could hear her crazy Aunt Bettie insisting that she shouldn’t listen to any of the nice things Eddie said. She wanted April to believe every man had no interest in her except to fuck her and if that didn’t work—to rape her. April didn’t believe this about Eddie and she didn’t believe it about men in general, no matter how much Aunt Bettie tried to beat that distrust into her during the six hell-filled months she spent with the woman, April never absorbed it. And yet, the voice still haunts her, even if she refuses to believe what it says.
Blocking out her aunt’s voice as well as she could and still breathing a little heavier than normal from the surprise of his appearance, April said, “Ironically, I’m crying because things are so good for me right now after a very long time of them not being good at all.”
Eddie looked alarmed, “Oh man, are you talking about the most confounding of all female behaviors—the happy cry?”
She hit his arm, “Don’t be a sexist, it’s not a female behavior, that’s stupid.”
He shrugged, being just barely smart enough to just keep his mouth shut.
She continued, “Anyway, in spite of that last comment, I’m crying because I feel so happy and lucky to have met you and Ted and the whole group. It’s like I had a family my whole life, I just hadn’t been fortunate enough yet to meet them and now that I have, I’m really just so grateful. And then there’s what we’re doing here—the project to CHANGE the world both inside and out—spiritually and physically in one tsunami of novelty, it’s all just a little overwhelming considering where I was just a couple of weeks ago,” she forced herself to smile, “And most of all, I’m crying because it’s been a very long time since I felt safe.”
Eddie smiled and looked at April with his big GREEN eyes. “You’re safe here. You’re safe now.”
She knew it. Realizing it made her start crying all over again—half in relief and half in sadness that such a small think could bring her so much relief. She said, “You know, you’re the one who brought me into this place. I’ll always be grateful to you for that.”
She meant it too.
And yet, thanks to her aunt and too much experience in the world amongst the wolves, she couldn’t help but expect Eddie to suggest she could suck his dick to show her gratitude. It wouldn’t have been the first time—she’d never had a shortage of creepos in her life.
But, Eddie didn’t say anything like that.
He just said, “Don’t worry about it. The thing we’re doing here is very special and I’ll be honest, if you didn’t pass our little test, we would’ve made sure you got some more food and sent you on your way—no matter how beautiful I think you are.”
“You know, I believe that. That’s the thing that draws me in here more than anything else—outside of your handsome face that is. I don’t need to hide who I am here. It doesn’t mean I go around broadcasting my shit on blast all of the time, but it does mean that when people find out I lived on the streets until a week ago, they don’t judge me, they make me feel supported and loved. It’s something most of the people here take for granted, that’s probably why they’re willing to give of their love so freely. But I don’t take it for granted. Not for one second. I treasure it like the gold it is.”
“I’m glad you like being here, I don’t think I make a secret of the fact I’m glad you’re here too.”
This made April tear up again, she wiped impatiently at her eyes and said, “I’m sorry, you must think I’m totally a crybaby, which is ironic because I haven’t let myself cry since my father died. The fact I can cry shows how happy and safe I feel here. I have years of pent up tears and anger and sadness inside. Crying vents it off a little at a time. I feel safe crying here. A little embarrassed maybe, but safe.”
“You have nothing to be embarrassed about.”
Eddie and April stood together on the roof, looking out at the city and just being in one another’s arms until all the moisture had dried from her face. After she’d completely calmed down, Eddie returned to work and she left the house to go and make her first attempts to solicit funds for the CHANGE Organization.
Her first night went well, but on the way home April noticed something new about herself. Prior to that afternoon, whenever Ted had talked about people being afraid and resistant to CHANGE, she’d never felt like she could understand people who wanted things to be the same all the time.
But now she had a reason of her own to be afraid. She didn’t want to ever be broken apart from Eddie or the CHANGE Organization. Her general assumptions about humanity made her understand that sooner or later the wheels might fly off and the thought terrified her. She occasionally found herself hoping the machine would get delayed or that it might never actually work so the group would have to stay together and keep pushing forward for the remainder of her life. It made her realize she still had to learn to accept CHANGE in her life even as she proselytized it.
When April expressed her concerns to Shabba-Thai, he’d shrugged his shoulders and replied, “It’s as Tesla says, ‘Some things are not yet ripe for man to know.’ The thing we are seeking, it is a path, not a destination.”