The waiting room in the colon treatment center the morning after Fat Tuesday could be purgatory, where people wait to have their insides filmed through a probe, to hear how long they have to live, what they have, when they need to come back and do it again.
Mom and I joke because you have to, but there’s no jokes for proctologists they haven’t heard already with lost pens or toothbrushes, the fact it’s so early the radiators haven’t come on yet but I’ll bet they keep their pipes real clean — and I read about Siddhartha and the Brahmins, and think I’m still the same with my mud-caked shoes from the walks last week outside of Bath, the walks I took when I was working — and our friends ask over dinner what are you going to do when you get back to the States for work, don’t you know yet, and shouldn’t you — and I say I’m writing a book, which is like speaking German when you can’t, you have to go on what little you know and say it with conviction, hope it makes sense, tape together words and find meaning.
And while it feels like they’re going in circles as Siddhartha and his friend roam the metaphysical world of their souls, the path is a spiral staircase that leads up, they agree.
And every day I am the same, drawing a spoonful of sand to add or remove from myself, to hide or reveal, an imagined beach you could call escape, heaven, a grave, or just a beach.
Perhaps some of us can’t fully appreciate life until we realize it’s going to end, and others can’t appreciate it because they only wish it would end — can’t live or die, can hardly exist.
The pattern of the window screen, the squares form a mesh to catch the dust and dirt that tries to pass through, traps it for a time inside this room — a leafless tree below, how long since someone noticed it there — and the clouds are that way too, how a child can see so much more in them than we can, their minds are so much simpler, with less to crowd the view.
After wandering for many nights and days in his loincloth fasting, Siddhartha starts to see the world differently at last, as a child, once he accepts his true self, stops trying to deny it, to trap it in a net. He sees the moon and the stars, the dew on the grass, the trees, as if for the first time, though they’ve always been there all around him.
We can’t separate how we see or how we think and feel from what we do, and that’s a blessing or a curse depending on your point of view.