I’ve gone to bali or thailand with a friend who ends up going off, and I’m on my own in a strange place, which is scary at first– then I start paying attention to the place– there’s water everywhere, running even under the street, and beaches in the not too far distance– there are manholes in the cobbled street you can climb through into the ocean– I lean down over one and watch the creatures swimming, bright corals on the ocean floor, large manatee bodies passing by– when they see me, they surface to investigate and snuffle affectionately like big dogs at my face, and I laugh out loud.

then I wander across the street and into a house and ask the woman who lives there if there’s any chance I can pay her to crash on her floor– she says, no problem, and gets me situated in a kind of hallway alcove where the floor is soft as a featherbed– I’m worried about being in the way, but she reassures and welcomes me, and everything is beautiful and simple and clean and bright. I lie down, so tired, and slip into semiconsciousness, and her housemates or friends arrive– I can hear them and am paying somewhat attention, though I’m far away– and then one of them, a woman, comes and lays her hands gently on my back, and there is an intense warmth and a surge of sadness, and I shudder and sob– she says to the others, she’s carrying a lot of pain, and then she keeps laying her hands differently on me and releasing that heat and stretches of sadness, releasing it out of me.

later I get up and want nothing so much as to be enveloped in water, and I ask if I might to plunge in somwhere– even one of those sewers right outside— and they give me kind of odd looks, and I realize how bad and self-hating it sounds– but I was only thinking of the manatees and the corals.

we go on a kind of slow roller coaster– the whole place is very buddhist, with everyday holy men and monks all around– and while on it, I have another episode of losing consciousness, and then there are shudders that verge on seizures– I keep holding back and rousing myself out of it– and the same woman asks me if I’ve ever considered just going through it, just giving myself over to those seizures to see where they take me– and it’s an interesting idea, but I’m unable to do it– she seems to be suggesting the episodes are not so much an illness but instead some kind of mystical birthright I’ve got to fully embrace. I hadn’t even really been aware I had them in me.

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