breadcrumbs to home

by Jinryu

“Just because… they said… well, the ambulance might have to…”

“It’s fine,” I said hurriedly.  It looked like she was going to break down.  “I’ll move it all downstairs.  No problem.”

I usually leave my shoe rack and my bike in the stairwell.  Later, I would move it all to the basement next to Zack’s entrance, at least for the time being.

“Thank you,” she said, nodding, her lower lip quivering.  She turned on her heel quickly, and went back upstairs.  Those stairs to the upper apartment always creak, and even as she left, trying to hide her grief twisted face, the automatic light above my door flicked on and off.  Somehow, the light had been damaged the last time emergency technicians had come to the apartment to take her husband to the hospital.

Since I moved in here in July, I’d heard the man upstairs, her husband, coughing.  Not just any kind of cough.  The kind of cough that an elderly man like him only has when his lungs aren’t doing so well.  I’ve head a whole spectrum of coughs, from the wet chunky kind to the flaky dry sorts, while working at the Montreal Chest Institute.  From the depth and frequency, and the fact that I could also hear the constant purr of a respirator, I knew from the day I first slept over in my then-new apartment bedroom that the neighbors upstairs were in for some heartache somewhere near down the line.

I was raised as a Catholic Christain, but if there was ever a religion that I studied that I thought that my life tended to align with, it would be Taoism.  I mean, minus the black magic and the ghost fighting properties, the basic tennets of the philosophy, the perspective of the world, they make sense to me.

Everything kinda goes like a dynamic dialectic, like a swinging conversation of forces over time.  Every experience lives in relativity to something else in a spectrum of perspectives.  An act of kindness can at once be the opposite of an act of spite, and at the same time, it can represent an action in contrast to inaction, it can be an act of independance from a habit of indifference, etc.  The thing is, no single anything is ever just one thing on one spectrum, which I what I think people mistake about Taoism– it’s not about black and white or even just grey, it’s about the simultaneous interlinking of an entire three dimensional matrix of several spectrums at once.  Life isn’t binary, nor is it decimal between 0 and 1– it’s the exponential possibilities of multiplying those fractions by eachother.

Sometime you run into a number that looks like one you’ve seen before, but chances are, it’s just similar.  It’s not really the same.  I think that part of the trick of making life not only bearable but enjoyable is to appreciate things as unique, every time you see it.  It’s not just that the secnario might be different in front of you– it’s also that the glasses with which you look at with the world, be they scrutinous or rose colored, are aging too, and that changes everything.

On Friday, [Supergirl] stayed over at my place for the first time.

There’s a first for everything, and as much as we like where we are, the experience of getting there is certainly something, isn’t it?  By Saturday night, we’d figured out just how it is that two people lie in bed together with their arms and legs tangled in just the right kind of mess.  But it took a lot of bumped noses, accidental headbuts and strained necks to figure out how just what worked what didn’t.  Where exactly one’s face could fit in the crook of an arm or neck so that breathing was still possible.  What distance was just the right range to be able to close one’s arms around in a full circle.  Which way it could be done to have an ear in just the place to hear heartbeats counting off the silence or lungs inflating like bellows.

In some strange way, moving my bike into the basement for the family of my dying neighbor (who has since passed away) is part of it all.  It just… adds up.  It places you in time and space.  Events that you put thumbtacks on a three dimensional board make you feel like you know where you stand, sort of, in the grand scheme of things, so that when another moment comes up, you know just where you are when you look at the beadcrumbs of all those lives around you.