There’s dust on the ledges, but not on the tables, and definitely not on the gold dragon statue by the front door that almost no one remembers to rub for good luck.
And neither of them have ever put their hands on it. No, instead they come in even before the buffet is fully set, look the Dragon straight in its opal eye and grimace, their heads thinking “here’s another day yet!”
“Still giving us plates, heh?” they say to Meng, whose name I know but they do not. He will be back to fill their coffee twice, sometimes three times, but they won’t speak again. Some things do not change, even in 20 years.
It’s easy to get me riled up: just a headline will do it. So as someone prone to quick anger, and moreso disheartened by every headline passing her screen, I just couldn’t help but be drawn in by the begrudgingly difficult and careful drama of truth-telling put forth between the pages of She Said: a heartfelt and frustrating account of not only #MeToo and the Weinstein cases, but of the prospect of journalism in an age becoming more and more defined by easy misinformation.
My stomach hurts and I realize I’m sucking it in again. I sit up straight and try to relax, giving my organs some room to breathe. I’m listening to the person talking across from me, but now I’m also wondering: where did this come from? When did my body learn to sit this way?
I fall away into conversation again and not two minutes later I catch it all over: the sucking in. The hunch. The pressing of my knees together and the curving down of my shoulders; the tension already building in my hips at 29.
When and how did I learn to hold myself this way?
It’s a question I’ve been examining more and more lately as I begin to tackle these issues—as I begin to address the developmental scoliosis in my spine and the hump at the base of my neck. I’ve been doing yoga, and strengthening my core, and learning to catch myself every time I fall into the “crouch”. Always, the mental instructions are the same:
Even out your hips. Push your butt into your seat. Relax your jaw. Tuck your chin. Drop your shoulders. Lift your neck. Expand your chest. Breathe.
No…it didn’t start here. Not with the pissed man clutching a crushed beer can in fear on his knees. Not with the other over the wall…somewhere…split.
After all, it’s only been how many hours?since I stopped staring at the blank wall of the TV. Only so many hours since I’d finally started listening to that other voice, like I should have been all along. I just walked out of the house and into the concrete cold, aiming for the usual trip to the WORLD’s BIGGEST MALL, or so it was once. That should have been the nothing of it.
And then the surprises came.
Nothing much else comes out of him, the beer-piss puddle beneath the man growing as grows the effects of the adrenaline I know I can’t let go of now, no, not now. Not ever. There wasn’t a “going back”. I’d already let go.