立春

Risshun- Beginning of Spring

The oni were driven out and now we have rounded the bend of winter.

I have been sick for two days straight and am finally at the point where I can sit up and think again. The weekend was short which is never good. I think my body grabbed onto whatever passing virus was about just to add some additional days to my weekend.

The good thing about being sick then not being sick is that your head is as clear as your guts. It is like waking up from a long dream. Why was I spending so much time on that, so much energy worrying about this?

Yesterday I went to the doctor’s, where the man sat on his stool like a child with his legs tucked underneath himself. The room was a bit dingy, with discarded equipment gathering dust in the corners, on the linoleum floor. He did an ultrasound on my intestines to show me how disgusting they were, inky and pulsing. And then he prescribed me medicine and I went across the street to the pharmacy that also pushes freshly squeezed citrus as medicine and yet in my condition, I was deemed undeserving and given a chart of all the foods to avoid until I recover: curry, hot sauce, peppers, tempura, and tonkatsu. In the end, I had paid about 14 USD for both the doctor and the pharmacy and went home to sleep some more.

Sick dreams are a special category of dreams, are they not? My dreams during the illness have been lush, crowded, cluttered. I went to my parents’ old house and there were piles of laundry everywhere (no guessing where this element arose from as upon waking there are piles of laundry everywhere in my tiny apartment, waiting for my recovery). I wanted to call an old friend and invite him to an art museum where they were having an exhibit of Gauguin but I could never find the room with the phone. My family kept following me around, scolding me for wearing only a long tee-shirt. The pear trees were covered in my dad’s work jeans and button-down plaid shirts, my mom’s elastic-waisted shorts. The trampoline was still there but also covered in laundry, ragged bath towels and faded bathings suits.

When I woke, I considered writing to my friend but then I remembered that we are no longer friends. This recollection always makes me sad but I accept now that there is no way to repair friendships single-handedly. Besides, he does not care for Gauguin or art museums for that matter. Too pretentious though he should appreciate that the artist was an asshole: “‘Gauguin seems to have fallen for the myth of Tahiti he created… He returned [to Tahiti] expecting the erotic idyll that was only ever a figment of his imagination. Of course, he didn’t find it and the disappointment was profound: he died a twisted and bitter man, having alienated everyone both at home and in Tahiti. It’s a sad story of a man who believed his own fiction.'”