all the while the world is turning to noise
oh the more that it’s surrounding us
the more that it destroys
turn up the signal
wipe out the noise
-peter gabriel

gx_arttreespond“What? You don’t like The Matrix? Are you serious? How could you not like The Matrix? Didn’t you see them do the Kung-Fu? Don’t you like Kung-Fu, man? What’s wrong with you?” his voice gradually rising to a shout, all the while laughing.

“I like Kung-Fu. I didn’t really hate the movie, it just seemed like more editing was needed,” I said as the car sped along and the radio blasted and he continued.

“Hey look at that. I wonder what he’s doing?” We were walking along the edge and he was pointing to an older man in the park.

“That’s Tai Chi, Yang style. Beautiful, huh?” I said.

“So why don’t you work out at a gym? I mean, aren’t you worried about getting fat? Losing all the muscle and just melding with a couch or something? I go to the gym every day: upper body one day and the lower body the next. I really try to take care of my thighs,” she said.

I paused to take in the length of her thigh. “I tried to go to the gym once and it just seemed a little weird. I mean the mirrors and all. I don’t think I had ever seen that much of myself. But I might be willing to try again. Does yours have that many mirrors?”

“So, then I guess you know a lot about Chi?” she said as she leaned back and spread her hands to each knee, palm up.

“I don’t know the Chinese character for it,” and wondered if the division lay in my inability to sit in the Lotus position.

“ATM or Credit?” was the question posed by Faith with a star by her name, colored in, not a sticker from some cheap four-pack.

“ATM,” really only wanting to say that I only look at the pictures in the kung fu magazines, as if this might bring redemption.

“Why don’t you just hit the pillows? Let’s just go into the bedroom and you can hit the pillows. Just hit them as hard as you can. Let go of these negative emotions. Don’t worry, you won’t hurt the pillows,” she said as she led me to her bedroom and faced me to the bed.

“Would it be ok if I hit the bed posts instead?”

“What do you do when you feel too much Chi after practice? I mean, sometimes I feel it just welling up, almost more than I can take and it’s really difficult to push back down. My hands are all tingly and my feet and legs just feel so alive. What do you do? You must have some kind of methodology,” he said, leaning forward for emphasis.

“I don’t think I have a methodology. I’m not sure of any method at all.”

“The only thing I’ve done for that long is sleep.”

“I don’t sleep that well so that really wasn’t an option.”

“With all the repetition, all the various sets, the different styles, don’t you get confused?”

“Not so much confused as frightened. I fear the telephone, cower from the TV. And I’d say that the sets don’t confuse. They’re my quiet space. They are where I go.”

“When you practice all the time it feels like you don’t love me,” she said gripping the stem.

I lit the cigarette.

Travis Rath

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