Sunday, May 20, 2007

Week Ends

This is the week that does not seem to want to end. I want it to end. I want it to end well. I want it to end with me having a feeling of safety and togetherness. I want to feel whole, but this is the week that will not end, and that seems not to want to end happy regardless of what I do. Monday was bad enough with my trip to the hospital, but I figured it could only be uphill from there. Wednesday, was of course a nightmare, but there will be no more discussion of Wednesday. Thursday might have been alright but for the nervous breakdown which left me with Friday. I had hope for Friday even though I was coming down from my hysteria most of the day and even though I was in hard pain by the end of a day of classes I still had hope for Friday. I went on Friday night. Needed to go, get out, get away. I grabbed my flute and I went to jam. I just need to get away and get the week to end.

The band I wanted to jam with was not there. But there was another band and I wanted to play. They let me sit in and we talked about all manner of oddness before we played. It was a quiet laid back group of guys, I didn't know them, they didn't really know me, but we had a good time. I improvised along with them as they played and it was pleasant. I'd brought my own little flask full of tequila and so I drank from my flask on occasion and smoked and played the flute. I suspect there is a band teacher in my past who would shake his head in anguish if he knew that was how I treated my flute these days, but I wanted to have a good time and a spot of fun, so why not.

The boys in the band are nice.

"It's loud." They say to me.


"We don't know anything quiet."

"No worries. I'll find a place to come in."

"You're good. It's sounds good. Really good."

"Thanks for letting my play."

We toss back and forth odd melodies at one another until finally my hip starts to vibrate and I know I'm needed elsewhere. I bow out gracefully and wander down the four flights of stairs in the dusty factory to the street and to a cab and two a bar. I was too late getting out. I pull up to an ATM around midnight thinking that I'm broke and in trouble. It's too late to be going to the ATM. It had been so long though, so long since I had been to an ATM at midnight that I was hopeful. Misplaced hope. My bank is long since closed and I won't be able to get money until the morning. Such is how it is in Korea. Banks close around 11:30 and if you don't have what you need before then you will be sorry indeed as indeed I was.

I wander to the bar and tell the waiting boys that I've come without cash and they are buying but I shall pick up dinner for both of them at some point to make up for it. We agree and they buy me tequila and I watch as they play pool. By now my ankle is throbbing too much for a game, so I watch and drink and smoke a bit more and enjoy the conversation and the company. It was pleasant enough, but my head is swimming more then it should be. I drank slow while playing with the band so why I am suddenly so much more thoroughly smashed then I should be is beyond me.

The boys are hungry so I point us towards the cart bar. I struggle with the stairs, the stairs are hurting. The world is hurting and I'm worried about my grip again, but getting a grip is important. I hold on, and the boys hold on and help me up the stairs and we head to cart bar. I have a cheesestick and they eat chicken and foods. I realize that I'm going to have to go home at this point. I want the week to end, so it must end, I'm going home.

I push off and borrow some cab money from the boys and head towards home. There is a cab near cart bar so I stumble skip hop in that direction, plop down and direct that cab driver towards my house. The cab is quiet and warm, and dark, and I want to drift into sleep but the ride isn't that long. The cab driver is very chatty and I don't mind. Better not to sleep I think. He asks me a thousand questions, all the usual questions and I answer them each the way I have learned to answer in Korea. I think about my flute but I know I've stowed that safely in the art space after the jam so I can't forget it. So there is nothing but this cab and my door and my bed and I'll wake up tomorrow and think of how everything will be wonderful.

The cab asks for directions to my door and I provide them. We pull up and I lean forward to get to money in my pockets and then pull away with a five and hand it to the cab driver. Maybe it was the drink that prevented me from listening, or maybe it was that when the conversation and shifted I wasn't aware of where it had gone, or maybe it was just that I hadn't expected it because the I was home and the week was ending and it was going to be okay.

The cab driver takes my hand and I pass off the money. The cab driver holds on. I pull my hand. He pulls my hand back. I pull my hand. He pulls my hand back. I struggle with him I 'm not sure what is going on. I look at my hand and the driver and my hand and I try to make thoughts come around the tequila fogging up my brain. The driver speaks quickly in Korea. The dome light is on and blazing, my apartment door is only a few feet away and my hand is trapped in a cab drivers hand. I take a calming breath, don't panic. It's the first rule of something, isn't it? Don't panic. Or maybe that is merely what they say on the cover because if you knew how bad it really was you would not be able to stop panicking. The driver pulls my hand talking low and finally I listen.

I don't like what I'm hearing. I don't like it at all.

"Popo, popo, popo, agashi, yepuda, agashi, popo, popo, aparta gashipsheyo, na, no, aparta, aparta, popo, popo."

Ah, I think. Ah.

I take another deep breath and twist my body shoulder first into his hand and pull at the same time and my hand slips from his grip. I move quickly, much to quickly and race out of the cab, slamming doors and dashing on my sprained ankle to my apartment. It's close, I'm in the door and slamming the lock before he has had time to realize what has happened. I stand there and I breath in the dark, the lights off. I stand and I breathe and I feel tendrils of alcohol and a pain in my leg that was not there before. I fall into bed and cry into pillows and sleep and wish the week would end.

Saturday I suffered from more pain. Probably a torn muscle, and today on Sunday I sit and nurse my poor tattered body through every gnawing pains, not all of them physical. I spent the whole day writing, not all of it for you reading, but all day writing and trying to hold onto myself. And the whole time just wishing this week would end and a new one would begin, and be better. It begins in two hours. I'm still hopeful.

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