Trust the process

Rainy Shibuya, my socks soaked through inside ragged sneakers. The body, more than ever a vessel, more than ever a target of distrust. I don’t like the twinges in my joints and the pangs in my heart; I don’t enjoy seeing my parents age into phantoms. In this weather, central Tokyo doesn’t seem real. The city, more than ever a fantasy, more than ever a house of illusions. I blink and see gems scattered across the pavement. Another half a heartbeat and they resolve into puddles reflecting the watery yellow of the traffic lights.

Trust the process, I think to myself. A mantra as I live out days chained together like plastic beads in a rosary. I ride the trains and observe hairstyles, clothing choices, shoes tapping against the sticky floor. I scroll through online stores. Waves lap ceaselessly at my shores. When I can’t find faith in myself, or the life I lead, or the choices I make, or the world I inhabit, I turn to the process. I have no religion; this is the closest I get. I see the process at work as I weave through crowds. I see it in the raindrop that travels from his tear duct into the burning bush of his brow. It speaks no language and therefore makes no promises. It feels no feelings and therefore holds no grievances.

Sunny Shibuya, my skin red and irritated underneath my clothes. The elastic band of my pants digging into my waist. The mind, one huge pustule. The hands, twitching at the ends of my arms. The process, following me around.

How can the treasure chest of time available to me be both so prized and so pointless? Nothing has meaning, I think, indulgently. I love to hate on everything, especially the usual maxims (truth, ego, despair, morality, amorality, the pursuit of anything). Nihilism is as decent a refuge as any. But I always come back to the process, revealing then the depths of my caprice, because no one as self-absorbed as I could not be steadfastly dedicated to the expectation that some of this will amount to something, that some of us will make it somewhere better than this.

Nighttime Shibuya, aflame with disappointment at my genuflection, at my earnest interest in a life lesson. Forgive me, city of swamp and terrors. It’s not exactly that I want to believe in a higher power, or a cosmic project, or a common destiny. I’ve tried, and I don’t. But I want to trust the process, and I want it to trust me.

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