Vignettes from Wet, Happy Eyes
Two Thursdays ago: People have begun leaving after a night of tea and conversation. Before I am headed out of the suite, Khuyen is explaining his walls of Post-Its to me.
Blue Post-Its. Yellow Post-Its. Sharpie-d words. People’s handwritings. This is a guy whose door asks, “What is your beautiful question?” when you enter his room. I see our friends names on his walls, next to their beautiful questions, their beautiful answers.
On one wall is, “What do you look for in a relationship?” On another, asking for what’s important to us. A collage of moveable Post-Its, nuggets of heart and insight that make the otherwise bland, white walls dynamic, a three-dimensional texture of peoplehood, right there in that small bedroom. Between these two walls is the length of the room, a big white rectangle that holds, tenderly, just one single blue sticky paper.
It reads: Social Artist.
I take in his room once more. And in that Somerville night of mind, I think of who I will make myself become this year, who I am now, how I can feel I’m at the beginning of some making. I think of how awesome a human being my friend is, how grateful I am to know him closely.
“Can I give you a hug?” I ask.
I try to explain the surge of sudden emotion —
and suddenly my eyeballs moisten and now I am wiping away little tears, still trying to explain —
“This is the first time I’ve cried of happiness,” I say.
We hug again.
(That night, Somerville felt like the world).
My favorite place on campus is Goddard Chapel.
On Friday I meditated for the longest I have ever — one hour of sitting and walking, basked in the new eerie light of stained glass on an overcast afternoon, a different kind of light that usually basks the wood and carpet in orange glow, this was a serene kind of light. Quiet. Cooler in tone but no less personal.
My mind was turbulent that day. I thought of all the emails I had to write later, all the projects coming in and out of my head, what I was going to buy at Whole Foods later. In meditation thoughts ran through scatteredly, but also slowly ran out of breath, and began to quiet. Every once in a while I would bring my eyes to a gentle squint to let in a little bit of context, a little bit of that special light.
The hour flew by, despite the tangledness of mind. Before I knew it, the Buddhist monk was sounding the bell.
As I was returning to the three rings, a vision of Carmel came to me. A sudden transportation in memory so vivid that it surprised me. It’s been a while since I thought of my last time in California. I didn’t smell the ocean, didn’t think about the delicious oysters, not the early hotel morning, but instead, a most vivid remembrance of being in the parking lot at Best Western.
I wrote to my friend in California:
I meditated for an hour with a group today. In the circle I sat right across from the Tibetan monk. It was a turbulent time for the mind, but it flew by. Upon opening my eyes in the final seconds, three sounds of the bell, an image of Carmel surfaced in my mind so suddenly, so vividly, that when my eyes opened, they were moist.
When my eyes opened, that serene light flooded in and I saw a blur of the monk in front of me. In that moment there was so much love for California, for this friend.
I don’t know when I’m going to see either place or person. I don’t know.
Saturday morning, Somerville rain. It’s been this like for most of the week, grayness in sky, wet, wet, wet. But somehow it all looks — it feels — more beautiful because it’s a Saturday morning.
Setting the scene: gentle music from Spotify, making a three-course breakfast. Burned toast to cancerous proportions twice, but I tried again. Eggs, mushrooms, zucchini. Yoghurt and some Whole Foods grain. Dried fruit. A warm, nutty Korean drink my mother sent to me from Taiwan. An Uniqlo blanket wrapped around my waist because I’m wearing a thong and no pants. It’s rainy and cold but so warm inside.
All settled, I begin, finally, to read a long email from a friend — I especially told myself I could only read it after making breakfast, I didn’t want to allow my excitement to have read his words in post-waking haste and unmindfulness.
I had re-asked him two awesome questions two friends have asked me recently. “Honest question: have you had a really amazing, life changing relationship yet?” and “What do you feel when you spend time with me?”
I am reading the email while eating my eggs. I am reading it and — there’s just so much honesty. My body softens. So much openness, so much gratitude. I am reading this and I want to just reciprocate the openness and gratitude through time-space, some instant telepathy perhaps. To say: Thank you, thank you, thank you. To say: There is so much gratitude. To say: I’m so happy we know each other.
And I am writing this to the Internet before writing to him first, but this feels like the right medium.
I am reading the email and then when I reach its end — I tear up. My suitemate walks into the kitchen. I turn my head towards the window, watch the gray sky. There’s so much possibility. There’s the Internet of Things, but there’s also this — the Internet of People. I have been tearing up a lot recently. And it’s kind of beautiful.
My friend Austin recently shared with me a quote from Camus:
“Live to the point of tears.”
I think: Yes.
Live, live, live. There’s so much love in living.