Three months had to pass before I understood that life had not stopped at home. Muted communication and selective media made it nearly impossible to remain intact as my family encouraged a vacation from my home realities. I read today that a fellow high school classmate died on Valentine's Day, and I remained oblivious of this for too long. A close family friend suffered a heart attack while exercising and dropped dead on his own residential street, but my relatives refrained from telling me. Here I sit on the outskirts of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, feeling the hot sun warm my legs, the cool shade brush my jacket, and sensing bitter confusion from the experiences I continue to have.
Did I pay money to escape the sour points in my life that I would otherwise chew on and grow from in order to fill a slight curious void with new social settings and dynamic people? Is the existence of my emotions pivotal to a stable and justified environment at home? This confusion is as hard to swallow as my malaria medicine from breakfast, which still lies lodged in my throat. In this land, so tangibly orderly, they believe that souls live on in others, using them as vehicles out of the chaotic cosmos in which they inhabit. No matter how closely or distantly connected I am to those who die, I feel a sudden loss of purpose and a fire in my throat that lodges until a clearing is paved. Some times my lost sense of worry proves helpful, in instances like last night, when sleeping on the street was the most viable option. However, I take advantage of this power because it drains my unconscious feeling of gratefulness for my own life.
A layer builds between my tangible body and my soul. Heavy falling leaves sound like stickers on the ground, and each pop reminds me I am human. Talib Kwali says life is a beautiful struggle, but it is hard to find beauty in lives being cut short of their potential. For the lucky ones like me, the beauty crawls on us willingly, but when it struggles to find those in need of it the most, I lose faith in its abilities.
In my circle of friends, he was known as Krazy Karl, and his accomplishments were always overlooked by his reckless weave through maturity. Out of the thousands of people that make up my concept of the human race, two less lives stand behind me. Whether they knew their influence or not, they gave me a mental springboard off which I bounced my life goals. The numbers I know continue to whittle down, without stopping in order to let me cruise through this cultural experience untouched. Thankfully, the most important numbers in my life have stayed around to retain the form of my sanity, but as easily as a neighboring heart can fail, so can one directly connected to my bloodstream.
A few washes of water eventually ease my malaria pills down smoothly, but the fire remains. It could be a wandering flame from my internal hearth that diminishes from worldly disappointment, but I hope that the inevitable coming of every death does not take such a toll on my fervor. I need the thoughts to breed appreciation, and hopefully washes of paint can slowly ease the painful residue that this beautiful struggle leaves behind.
Have you had any similar experiences while on the road? Tell me about them by commenting below!