"Want to watch me do my staff work?" was the question.
We walk through the rain, cool spring rain at night in Daegu. "I feel the energy from this kind of night." He says.
I say nothing, I walk silently. I am awash in my own thoughts. Rain like beads of memory pelting down on me. Drop, a city that I am not from, drop, a face I have not seen in too long, drop a voice that haunts my dreams, drop, beating water against flesh. My hair is full of wet by the time we get to our destination.
"We need to go back out." He says grabbing a long staff almost as high as he is.
"Do you have an umbrella?"
"My big gay umbrella, it's all yours."
So we walk outside and around into a courtyard area, a large, elegant wooden, a place to sit and read perhaps on a sunnier day. Tonight it is an open space in the city. A wooden deck surrounded by dark foliage. In the background are the lights of the city, twinkling on and off. Winking at us in tiny little sparkles, it makes the air feel full of mechanical magick. He spins his staff and steps away from me. I step back to give him room, pressing against spiny pine needles in the dark. The needles pick and stab at my flesh making me aware of myself in the moment. The rain continues to drop against the rainbow umbrella, louder now, the half silent rush white noise of evening rain.
He pulls the hood up on his pullover, hiding his face. Transformed then from a figure I know to a faceless form with a wooden staff standing silhouetted against the sparking blade-runner glimmer of Daegu at night. He kicks off the staff with his foot spinning it into the air. Grabbing it at the top, swinging it down. I watch quick thrust forward, feet moving, and then the sudden loud reverberating thwack of wood making contact with wood.
I cannot see it but I know that an impression has been left in the deck.
He spins again. I watch his body in motion, cool practiced motion, standing, kneeling, weaving a dance in water and wood against the neon moon. He is streaks of energy in the cool distance. He swings through his movements and I watch as small curls of steam begin to rise from his warm body.
He moves towards me with the staff, towards my face. I don't move. Transfixed by the motion and the control. The subtle shift of violence under his skin. I can see it in his hands, the way the muscles flex, feel violence floating in the air, violence forced to submit by the ritual of practice motions. He flicks the staff towards my face.
"Either I did that very badly and you saw it coming."
In my head thoughts, motion, violence, control, the interplay of slow night rain.
I didn't flinch.
"Let's go inside."