Sunset, San Francisco

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I sit next to a friend of mine of ten years and see pain contort her face. A young Thai monk sits opposite us. Outside people walk in the sun. They may seem carefree, but I know we each carry our own troubles.

The monk is smiling.

He talks to us about expectations and how they let us down. I understand. Frustration arises from unmet expectations. No expectations, no frustrations. No clinging. No wanting. Nothing but being. Here, this moment. No judgment at all.

My friend nods, but her pain is worse.

A few days ago I was watching lightning flashes turning the night sky red. I looked south out the small window port of the plane, unsure what part of the country we were flying over. I just knew we were going west. We were at 35,000 feet. A red light on the wing flashed like a beacon. I felt the plane tilt as we turned north to avoid the storm. Everyone else onboard slept, read, or sat silently, unaware.

The monk bows. I bow. We step outside. My friend covers her pain with sunglasses and we walk down the street, appearing carefree. I want to say something but have no words.

Later in the day we will be walking with her two sons, her husband, and her brother. Joy. But still the lightning flashes are within.

We turn north.

March 27, 2019

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