Once, when I was barely of age, I used the ancient Taoist concept called Mien Shiang to justify the insistent clairvoyant notion of my father’s death, which has still yet to happen. He has some sort of distinguishing mark, likely a scar, on the precise facial coordinate that denotes a profound event at the age of fifty-eight. He turned fifty-eight last month and has more than his fair share of common chronic illnesses and an absolute whirlpool of stagnant energy in his heart. A few nights ago, I researched, albeit very lightly, the spiritual parallel to pain in the Achilles tendon for my mother, who is just now priming herself for the emergence and subsequent manifestation of her greatest weakness: a monstrous amalgamation of brittle self-worth, crippling and unchecked empathy, and what appears to her as an innate desire to abandon every fruit of her resolve. This past Sunday, I had my first church experience out of curiosity and an attempt to further my awareness of this systematically ubiquitous rendition of religion deemed Christianity in the west. It was a Greek Orthodox Church. I enjoyed it sensually, which is very much the extent to which I could absorb the experience because of my aversion to the scripture. No pews, ritual bells and incense, a choir singing and chanting interchangeably and truly wonderful archaic art in the style of a century I could vaguely guess at. Lastly, this week, I attended an intimate birthday party for a girl and her group of friends which I had just come to know over the course of a matter of hours. Nothing new, nothing bizarre about it at all in fact, I feel like I have been in some rendering of that scenario more times than I can think to count, however I’m at a heavily transient plot in my timeline so some of the details of this otherwise underwhelming event stood out. The birthday girl had just turned twenty, yet throughout the entire duration of the party, not one person who attended other than myself brought up her passing through a new age. Like many young people in Columbia, the dwelling is old, at times functional at best, other times possessing a superficial sort of character only found in things dated but not neglected entirely. Young women confined in the symbolic effort of spinster decor. I realized this in the bathroom. The paint literally exuded carelessness, drooping off of surrounding surfaces, defying its two-dimensional act in a way that made you feel smaller, unsafe, in a place robbed of a design to age gracefully. And then there was, of course, the distinct choice of neon from the commercial college palette, decorated just so as to be an unabashed continuation of the egocentric illusion of individuality. The greens and pinks and swirly blues projected ceaselessly into the eyes of the young now enrolled in the process of divorcing her parents, her friends, her self. Do not think for a second that the utility of the trash bin I was looking at had been compromised, if that was the case, maybe she would have paid more attention during the transaction. Instead, the foot goes down, the lid comes up, the trash goes in, we don’t look back.

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