I stood looking at the pub—it was cold, but not cold enough to compete with the wine.
It was karaoke night in there, and I had 40 bucks in my wallet.
I didn’t want to drink, not really. I wanted to feel connected. I wanted to forget and lose myself in human warmth and intimacy. To have fun. The city was just on the far side of midnight. Apart from the DJ’s smooth baritone, the neighborhood was sleeping silently under the hush of freshly fallen snow.
The low hanging clouds were that peculiar blend of orange and pink that I sometimes called “city rose.” I stared at the pub, breathing so softly that there was barely a trace of vapor escaping into the frigid air. I thought of my grandma sleeping at home, and the newly uncovered insight that she loves to be touched and hugged. She just wants to feel loved.
I sighed, turned around and started the walk back home. The pub didn’t have what I was looking for.
The crisp sound of my footsteps on cold concrete followed me home. When I got there, they fell silently into the snow. I stood and stared at the house for a long time. I climbed a few steps, sat down and had a smoke.
I sat and watched someone else walk by, following the same path as me, but she walked on home. I probably could’ve sat there forever, watching the snow gather and melt on the lawn ornaments as seasons pass and the world turns without me. But I had an old lady and an old cat inside to care for.
I’m not my father.
So, I got up, went in and was greeted with a happy meow. “Hi Grandma!” I replied. I laughed, shook off my coat, and held my cat like a baby. I walked through the house, turning the lights off behind me. I laid in bed wondering what the fuck that was all about.
Still waiting for a reply, I drifted off to sleep.
Anshi (安狮) is the pen name for a certain Chan Buddhist. He calls his introspective, autobiographical writing, “Living Dharma.” All names are changed to protect the privacy of those involved. If you know who Anshi is, please refrain from telling anyone. Feel free to check out his Facebook page.
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