(That’s what they tell, at least)
The veneer of clouds in the sky today made me think…
An opportune moment to begin my search for The China Man.
But before I could do that, I had errands to run and exercises to do—the essentials—so I dressed, powdered my face, stained my lips with chocolate mousse, and prepared to leave the nest for a few hours, and stroll into that other world.
The brisk pace of my footsteps soon reached my injured (During The WAR, I sustained a near-fatal blow to the right shoulder—3 weeks into the war!) shoulder and loosened the knots that lived and grew there.
Though critical and life-threatening, I tagged my injury—now in its 10th month, and showing no signs of leaving my body—low priority, even though I shouldn’t have, because I am somewhat lazy when it comes to exercising my body, and often neglect its temple, and when I get around to doing what I have to do, to make my wound heal, well, it helps, don’t you know.
Business with Beans
My first task of the day was to pay my debts, so I hastened to Starbucks, with promissory note in hand, and handed them my card. This time the manager was there to greet me, and we both giggled about yesterday’s silliness, and she said, if the register did not accept my card today, the beans was on-the-house!
Sweet thoughts crept into my mind. And besotted with anticipation, I stood on the other side of the counter, and waited for the verdict. “Because,” she added, “Yours is the only card it refused. No one else’s.”
The suspense was unbearable.
Then she turned to me, and I saw a twinkle in her eye… “Nope— Refuses. Doesn’t want it. Not today, either.”
That’s what she said.
Elated, I told her to send millions of thanks to Seattle from me, and tell them I said, “Hello.” This amused her for some reason, and she said, “Haha. Yeah, straight from Patission.”
2 Heads Are Better Than One
It made me self-conscious to think my patron had spent so much time thinking about me…
But, despite her hectic schedule and prominence in the world, apparently she had. Gratitude flowered where I stood. I picked one of its buds, and continued on my path, but was delayed, once again, by the adjustments I faced while trying to get where I was headed.
The Currency of Food
Though not terribly hungry today, my refrigerator was still empty, so I thought, yet again: Why not stop and eat someone?
Surprised to see me so soon again, the server waved and step forward from the shadow of the wall, but I was in a hurry, and wasted no time, and asked him:
“What did I eat yesterday?”
And when he reminded me, I said:
“Well, I want more of the same today.”
I retreated to the garden to eat my meal, and patiently waited, hoping the emperor would once again visit me. But, alas, he did not. And instead I was the one who grew a beak and pecked at my food, this time leaving a sizable portion for him—just in case.
“Where are the birds today?” I asked my server.
“Where have they gone?”
“Well,” he said, “Could be they sense rain—because of the clouds—and, you know, when they sense that, they fly lower, and head for their nests.”
That must be it.
I sat and waited some more.
I anchored my elbow to my skull and let my arm hang from there, since that helped my pain a bit. But then it was time for me to leave, so I left the garden and headed for the cement of the street, tired and full, and headed back home, no longer interested in looking for The China Man today.
And even though it had appeared an ideal day to look for him…
He would have to wait.
After nursing my shoulder an hour or more, I went to my favorite shop, bought my favorite pastry, stocked-up on bottled water, nuts, cheese, and bread, and ate myself a snack. I sat on my perch and fed from the stuff I bought, and then, just happened to look across the street, and there—guess who was there!—was the emperor on the rooftop of another house!
I was so happy to see him again.
He stood there for some time, on the edge, the corner, his presence filled with grace and beauty, so majestic was he, facing the intersection, and watched… Watched his kingdom from there.