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The first night we turned up on the island I insisted on walking the family down to the beach before dinner.

On the way there, from the hotel restaurant, you will walk past the ladies’, decorated with an inspirational poster of Mohammed Ali in a pair of boxer’s. What makes a champion? According to Ali it basically comes down to skill and will, but he warns: “the will must be stronger than the skill.”

Reality bites, or so they say. Maybe reality floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee, comes in like a lion and leaves like a unicorn. We are living in a sensual, material, world, which we must navigate by skill, will, and desire.

I was musing on some version of this conundrum on the way down, but E –that enigmatic and chimeric creature that is part me and part something else entirely—was not having any of it.

E: Mom, I wish we were going down to the beach tomorrow, I would be so much better!

I: But look how beautiful it is in the moonlight, isn’t it magical?

E: Mom, I will still be magical in the morning, I want to see it in the day!

I: But this way we get to see both ways. What you are saying now is like saying “Mom, I don’t want to see a sleeping unicorn!”

E: But it would be so much more fun if it was awake and we could play with it!

I: Yeah, but you risk coming back and telling your friends “we went to this magical place for spring break and I saw a unicorn!” and they say “you saw a unicorn?” and you say “yes!” And then they’ll say “but did you see it sleeping? You haven’t seen a unicorn until you’ve seen a sleeping unicorn. It’s the most magical thing in the world.”

E: Mom, did you know that when I was little I used to fake going to sleep? I would lie there and make up all sorts of stuff in my head, and then I would tell everybody at school that I could make up my own dreams…but then later I realized that they were just thoughts.

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