I used to not understand why old people always lingered on the past, but now I understood that people’s futures weren’t about wealth. Instead, the past was your essence.
Of course, this didn’t apply to Poker-Face since his future and past were practically endless.
I took down a painting we had on the wall and put Poker-Face’s painting up in its place. When I looked at it, I was reminded of the huge pressure I had felt during that chaotic time and place. It was a little difficult to calm my emotions down, but I finally managed it after a while.
I didn’t have a deep friendship with the old lama, but he was an important person who was so ingrained in my memory that I suddenly missed him a lot.
If he can be immortal, does that mean everything around me is immortal, including me?
He left, so does that mean—
I didn’t continue this train of thought. Instead of setting up a place for memorial tablets in our house, we had a lot of wine instead. This was because we had decided a bottle of wine would represent a friend who had left. On special occasions, we’d have a drink and talk about him all night long.
It was said that as long as someone in the world remembered you, your consciousness would never disappear. But some friends were lonely by nature, so they needed a commemorative drinking party like the one we were having.
We opened a bottle of rice wine in honor of the lama and heated it up.
There was a lama’s robe under the painting, but I didn’t know what its purpose was. Maybe the old lama just wanted to tell us that things had come full circle and this robe had become a regular robe after all.
I felt a little dizzy after drinking and had a very long dream that night. I dreamed of snow-capped mountains and my own ending.
It was the first time I had this kind of dream, but I knew that I would often dream about this moment from now on.
In this world, everyone was a circle and Poker-Face was the only eternal straight line. We were strung on this straight line like Buddhist prayer beads, heading for the other side that Buddha could see. It was just that the other side was an infinite time and space.
I knew that all worldly laws would eventually come to an end and that this straight line couldn’t last forever, but its end was something beyond anything I could imagine.
Of course, I knew that this gift was for Poker-Face. I didn’t know what went on between him and Old Tashi, but the old lama must have considered this distinguished guest from the snowy mountains to be more important than me, a traveler.
If we were in Motuo, we would chant for him, but it seemed strange to do it here.
I didn’t see the lama robe the next day, but when I looked at the painting, it was like seeing a singularity.
Many years ago, there was a silk book from the Warring States Period that caused a huge explosion which blew up many people and things. Now, Rain Village seemed to be a black hole of singularity that began to absorb these fried things bit by bit and dropped them back into this little room.
I drew some energy to bring my consciousness back to the present and heard Fatty say, “Why do you think the old man didn’t send the statue back?”
“There’s no way it would fit on a motorcycle,” I told him. Besides, the statue should be left for the snowy mountains. We had the real thing here.
A week later, we set up a plastic shed to cover the construction site because we were afraid that the rain would corrode the wooden structure. We then lay the floor down and started erecting partitions. A bunch of people heard about what was going on and came by to watch the architect and farmhouse bosses use their excess energy to build their dream home. In order to finish the house as soon as possible, we also started recruiting.
I had some experience with this kind of thing, so Fatty posted a recruitment notice and looked at the local job market. Our first recruit was a very interesting guy, so I’ll tell you a little about him.