西部ー東部 (Seibu-Tobu)

I found the line connecting east and west tonight. It was a highway like an artery, and I passed under what had been dividing me from where I needed to be. East and West. I came through one to the other and found my way home.

As I passed through the station hubub, I realized the meanings of the words on big signs. 「Seibu」 is the West side and 「Tobu」– the East. How did I not realize this? Maybe simply because I hadn’t had enough time.

But tonight, I was ripened for revelations, for reminiscence, for connections.

I got aboard my bike as the sun was setting and rode, not through 東京 (Tokyo) washed in a post typhoon rain, but through the moments of my life.

I was in Venice along a dimly lit canal looking down at rising water. I was in London, just coming upon a movie theatre after a heavy downpour. I was in Portland along Williams St. biking home. I was in Virginia on a roadside with no streetlights. I was in Missouri along old Route 66. I was in Bellingham, in Sunnyland, just around the corner from our house.

And you were a ghost in my blind spot. A shadow in the corner of my eye. You were there, I could swear to god, biking right alongside. Like old times. I was so convinced I almost signalled at a stop sign.

“It’s safe to go,” my arm  would say as I wove it at my side while rolling through.

All of this, a displaced hiccup in time where I was with you in a good way. It was a collage of every good night. Every warm smile and every good time. It was our past condensed and purified. It felt like a candle in the dark of my chest and a shelter from the storm.

But it did not hold. And when I came to, I realized I was half the world away and, of course, without you.

Then, I cried.

Light and quick tears that mixed with the mist of this warm early autumn night that reminded me of our time. Of dreams, once glistening, that had fallen like damp leaves into the gutters of our lives, trampled until they were gone. Swallowed up storms and frozen under ice and snow that would melt with the spring and evaporate in the summer heat.

When I got to the gym, it was flooded. Three inches of water floated with mats that made up the floor. And in the water, 関 (Seki) with a bucket, trying to figure it out.

あー大変!I said. That’s rough!

はい。Yeah. And 関 asked when I could come tomorrow. Same time, as usual. We both said オーケ (OK!) and it was maybe the first time without a hiccup that understood each other. And there was nothing to do bike go back home.

So, aboard my cheap Don Quiote one-gear bicycle, I took the long way, circled the 霊園(cemetary) and found Nori’s home. Then, turning toward my own, I thought — again — of you. Of questions and mistakes. Of things I can’t undo or remake. Of how everything has or hasn’t changed. How a year is not enough.

How I thought, for sure, it would be.

How I still wish it could have been.

How it’s not.

And yet, I am ready to come home. This road has been long and weaving and it has woven new threads into me. Some I expected. Others, I had no way of knowing. But the ends are slowly being drawn together. I am getting ready to sit down to the spinning.

Wings are unfurling, catching the first edges of light. And I am coming — not out — but into myself. I am approaching something.

It’s a good sign I found my way to that artery between the east and west at just the moment I needed to get home. And when I pulled up alongside the old you tonight, astride our old dreams on our old bikes — our eyes met for a second before we turned away from one another at the same moment. I looked out across the sky, and it looked like dawn was coming.

Bring it on.

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