On the one hand, since I was planning to leave Chelan for Seattle and that is where the Acupuncturist lived, I got the idea to ask him if he could give me a ride. And he did and I remember him offering me a place to stay for one night on the floor of his living room.
I also remember arriving at his apartment and his boyfriend, a very tall black man with extremely effeminate characteristics, being outraged that his lover would bring home this girl. This white, disgusting hippie girl who wore dingy jeans with patches. Who traveled with a backpack. Scruffy. I did my best to be unobtrusive, as if that was possible.
I also remember a gorgeous black and white photograph of the two of them, nude, entwined. Very black. Very white. It was hanging in the living room and it was one of those photos that you have to look at for a minute until you “get” it. Then, you quickly look away because you “get” it. None-the-less, it was clearly taken by an extremely talented photographer. They told me his name with reverence. That photo was so beautiful it haunts me to this day.
On the other hand, I also remember staying at the massage commune or school or whatever it was called, that same night, the night my other memory has me in Seattle. It was late and most people had gone to bed. I sat on the floor in the spot where Gene had gotten his treatment, and for the first time in my life, I tried to meditate.
I sat, legs crossed as I had seen in photographs, emptied my mind of the terrifying events of the afternoon and with that, I left my body. I had a true out-of-body experience. I could not move. My legs, my hands, my arms, my mouth, all paralyzed. Stuck in this amazing limbo spot between here and not here. Not wanting to move. Happy, no joyous. My mind was completely calm. No thoughts. I simply rose out of my body and looked down upon my calm self.
All meditation since has failed for me. Nothing has ever come close to the experience of watching myself sit there, in that lotus pose. As I sat, I saw, heard, felt (I’m not sure which one) two people walk into the room and then one of them whispered, “That’s her, she’s the one who freaked out today.”
The other one softly questioned, “Do you think she’s OK?” The first one tiptoed around, saw my face and pulled the other person gently by the arm. As they left the room, I could hear a voice softly whisper, “I think it’s OK, she’s smiling. Let’s leave her alone.”
Perhaps that’s why my monkey mind chose to remind me of this story first. This is the story that surfaced when I sat in the living room yesterday morning, a failure at meditation, instead, doing my zen-knitting thing. Thoughts surfacing one after the other, me always present in my body. Needles clicking together rhythmically with an internal count going. It’s as close as I get to meditation.
While sitting there, in that state, monkey mind said, “You think while you knit. Tell the stories you think.” And so here it is. The story of Gene, the tremors, the Acupuncturist and the one good meditation.
Gene did get a little better. He was able to hold the tremors at bay for a few hours after the treatment. Was it willpower? The power of Chinese medicine? The desire to please all of us, all who so wanted a miracle that day? I don’t know.
I never saw Gene again. I hope he was able to continue with the acupuncture treatments, especially if the slight relief he felt that afternoon was real. Above all, I hope time treated him kindly.
Feedback would be most welcome. Do you want more tales? Longer bites, smaller bites, more pictures, whatever . . .