I used a pushpin to nail the story to the wall in our village house. Since I also wrote, I could tell that this story was a mix of truths and lies. It appeared that this person had buried a lot of these kinds of bottles around the area. When I examined the handwriting, it appeared to belong to a teenager, so this story was probably just a prank.
Maybe we could dig more up in the future. It could be kind of fun, but I preferred more heartwarming stories.
I really wasn’t interested in dead bodies anymore.
That night, my exhaustion came at me like the tide. I lay on my bamboo chair, hoping to have a short rest before I took a bath and went to bed early. But in the end, I fell asleep.
I woke up at dawn and found myself covered with a quilt. It seemed that I had slept too deeply.
There was a small stream that went through Rain Village and passed by our house. There were a lot of boulders in this stream, but the water just flowed through the cracks in the stone without interruption. Since I had fallen asleep so early, I ended up waking up very early. I got a small fire going in the stove to warm up my breakfast of fermented bean curd and porridge. By that point, the sky was getting brighter and the sunlight was streaming down through the tree canopies, which produced a Tyndall effect over the rocks in the stream. It looked just like a holy light was shining down.
City people would definitely take a picture with their phones, but I was used to it by now. I climbed to the top of a stone, sat down in a swath of that holy light, and began meditating while looking at the stream.
I meditated like this once or twice a month to sort out my thoughts. I couldn’t avoid this since I was the only one with brains. Plus, we just came here to avoid the world; we weren’t here to become monks. As a result, there were still various mundane things to worry about. Like next month’s recipes, for example.
When you stayed in one place for a long time, what to eat became a particularly big headache.
I also needed this time to build up a resistance to some distracting thoughts in my heart.
When I thought about what I had experienced before, I had to figure out how it should exist in my mind. Should I persist in remembering this kind of thing or focus on letting nature take its course?
In fact, life in Rain Village was very simple. It was difficult to really remember every single day, but there was a kind of atmosphere that you could feel very strongly. Whenever you left here and thought about it, you could almost feel a sweet-smelling mist rise up in your heart.
There was no external pressure on your heart, just this rising mist that was very rare in the world.
It was the same for memories. If you didn’t deliberately let yourself remember all of the details, then the memories would eventually turn into a scented mist. Some became a stench that kept you away, some were beautiful and fresh, and some were strong and confusing.
People may not be able to remember the details forever, but at least they could remember these smells. The more time that passed, the purer it would be.
It was moments like these that I recalled all of those friends who had passed away one by one. They were starting to become like this mist more and more now. Thinking that I shouldn’t forget them, I had fiercely resisted it at first, but later, I started to accept it. When I sat here and meditated, the mist that smelled of them would emerge and envelope me, making me feel that I was with them again.
This was probably the way people remembered others without being trapped in it.
I also wanted to know what these mists would eventually become in Poker-Face’s mind, because only he had enough time to feel their final evolution. Would they become some kind of emotion that was revealed in his eyes?
Of course, maybe it was just a type of indifference. But did this indifference mean that the mist eventually lost its scent? Although it existed and accounted for a huge proportion, was it already invisible and clear, just like dark matter in the universe?
When I meditated like this, I would soon enter a state where my thoughts were racing. It was like being awake and dreaming at the same time, a kind of trance-like state. When I came back to my senses, I couldn’t remember what I had been thinking about just now, but I would always see Fatty and Poker-Face standing by the stream and looking at me.
Fatty would ask Poker-Face in a low voice, “Do you think that when Mr. Naïve stands up, lotus flowers will bloom with every step he takes?”
In the summer, Fatty would throw water at my face directly. Then, they’d sit with me under the sun’s halo of light and eat breakfast while chatting.
I never got any answers despite all of my thinking, but I didn’t want them anyways. It might seem very strange, but I had a hunch that my thinking was actually an answer in and of itself.