Welcome Home, New Germs

10:30. sick with a cold. it’s a reassuring sensation, in a way–the same tired, the same sore throat and foggy head. This sense of balance in that my body remains my own, even as the ground slips far far under my feet.

This is a quiet part of the second most populous city in the world. We’re not close to the airport, but all the same, I hear planes going up or down every couple of minutes. not deafeningly, just a quiet rush; this too is comforting, a familiar object, an airplane. How many times have I lain in the long damp grass under a clear sky watching the white trail beyond an airplane write itself long against the smoke of clouds?

Or sat inside of one, in a too-small seat, tracing a fingertip again the plastic interior layer of window pane, watching the world reappear, relieved and apprehensive at the promise of landing?

Infection can have this way of creating displacement from one’s own body–so it’s useful to remember the sounds and physical experiences that run like a cord along the length of my life, tying me down with firm sailor’s knot, no matter where I think I am wandering.

The city is not a monster when you can remember that each of the bodies in it is a person. each tied down like this: sight, sound, sensation.

–when you can forgive each and yourself for being subsumed in this, for not noticing or for noticing too little.

The successful connections are like little gasps of air before going under again. So you have to learn how to have bigger lungs. and to remember even when you are thirsty for air, that you will break through, that you have before and it is out there, just waiting for you. Like a ripe peach with a soft orange skin that you reach for and grab and can feel its weight and soft hairs against the startled nerves of your own warm palm.

Like the voice that falls out like water as the solid fruit slips into a plastic bag. The voice, your own or someone else’s, and then eyes not your own. A smile or just a real looking. Then you can hand over a coin, take the bag and keep walking. And trust this. the air and the airless, your body containing all.

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