When I was a child headed home to Japan, strong turbulence over the Pacific caused our flight attendant to tumble into the aisle. In response, my sister and I practiced mirroring each other’s wide eyes. Which is to say, there was turbulence over the Pacific today. This time, the flight attendant adeptly traversed the aisles, balancing a tray dotted with miniscule paper cups in one hand, pouring hot coffee into these thimbles from a jug held tightly in her other. High on Klonopin, I picked my own fight with gravity: I dared the plane to fall out of the sky. I dared it to baptize me in the Pacific Ocean. But the cups and I stayed in our least dramatic positions, yieding to forces more powerful than we: Like engineering. Like women with warm smiles and impossibly steady hands offering something warm and steady and unspilt.
I try not to need much. But sometimes I eat and I sleep and on the worst days I hope for a new kind of human touch: tender and nonviolent.
Desire is its own kind of prison. But sometimes, all you need is a bigger cage. Sometimes, a bigger cage is all you need.
Today, a man mending a shirt in the corner of a coffee shop asked me where I was visiting from. I said I don’t know who I am—no, wait, I said: I am visiting from Los Angeles. How cold is it in Los Angeles. I couldn’t say.
Today, I saw a sign. Neon pink projecting into a concrete sky. It said:
Let it ride
Sometimes, all I need is a bigger cage. Sometimes, a bigger cage is all I need.
Today, over the Pacific, the pilot made an announcement. First in Japanese, then in English. There will be turbulence soon. But we will be okay.
There is always turbulence over the Pacific Ocean.
We will be okay.