Nighttime. Melancholy nighttime. I think about leaving China in a year or two. I think about how everytime I speak Chinese they are always so surprised and amazed, as if such a thing is so rare, so unthinkable. In their voices is always a kind of Chinese pride, but also a feeling of gratitude and respect. I will miss that when I’m back in my home country. Although, I’ve come to find any communication remarkable. Anyone who expresses thoughts, even in my own language – there is something remarkable about that. Something I take pride in, and gratitude.
Three days of rain. Big rain. My locks for my electric bike are getting rusty. The bike tires seem to leak. Took my bike to BenQ hospital to see a brain doctor about prescribing more Klonopin for a better night’s sleep. I hate that I take those pills. I don’t know what else to do.
I tell myself to pay more attention. Look closer. I watch the wagtails on the school grounds, tails bobbing, beaks poking at the dirt and grass. I watch the old man sitting on a lawn chair just outside my apartment building, bone and skin, a white tank top, shorts, a white crowned face with open mouth that seems to breathe in the people that walk up and down the street.
In China, the amount of life is overwhelming. Women under frilled umbrellas, skirted girls, two year-old boys wearing crotchless jumpers, men on their lunch break playing cards on top of an upturned cardboard box. Retirees playing Majiang under a pagoda covered in wisteria. Each individual carrying his or her own loss, his or her own loves and fears and anxieties.
Or do we try to tune those things out? In public maybe. But at home, in the bedroom at our desk looking at pictures on the computer, is it not human nature to wonder about this? To care deeply about such lives.
If peace only comes after life is finished then so be it. But I must continue to hope that peace is simply a choice, mitigated by circumstance, but still mostly a choice. And not just personal peace, but peace within a family, within a community, a city, a country.
I hope. I hope because the alternative tends to lead to nothing good – revenge, retribution, jingoistic patriotism.
This post is getting too long. Thanks for sticking with me, if you have.