Jennifer A. Chin (cswallow) wrote,
Jennifer A. Chin

For the Sake of Existence

A hurricane has been coming our way, Hurricane Joaquin, and the "water cooler" conversations at work are debates over the pronunciation -- Wah-keen? Hoa-kin? Ja-queen? -- and I am reminded of debating with my mother over the pronunciation of the name Sean, myself insistent that there was no way something spelled Sean could possibly NOT be pronounced Seen.

Friday morning I walk from the subway in rain so light, so pervasive, it is barely more than a mist. Inexplicably, I forgot a jacket that morning. The wind blows down my back. The city birds defy this sudden weather, intently pursuing crumbs across the broken sidewalk and for a moment I am awed by their smallness, the tinyness of their hearts pumping blood, the improbability of their lives and mine in this city of things -- buildings, roads, front stoops, planter boxes -- that people have constructed for the sake of creating, for the sake of existence.

The MRI on my foot came back clean; only evidence of the healed fracture remains. It has been one year since the initial injury. My doctor has me changed my shoes, suspecting that the previous ones were bruising the top of my foot and thus causing the lasting pain. He was correct. Our coaches come back from vacation, we put a competition on the calendar to train toward, and we pursue our work in earnest. Between California and here, C and I have discovered a new way to produce movement, to navigate our choreography. Finally, I allow a tendril of hope to wrap around me.

I am finding comfort in my new job. I am only three months in but I feel a strange sense of community - that THIS is my product, and THESE are my people. I am no longer carried by the momentum of the work, but rather helping to guide it. I am making planter boxes, front stoops, sidewalks... I am persistently thankful.

In another week I will be headed to Los Altos once again. This time to be at the WCN conference, to work from California, to celebrate my mom's and my brother's birthdays, to spend time with my niece and grandparents and the friends I rarely see. I'm not quite ready to travel again, but I miss my family as I always do, and I am eager to see their faces, to smile and laugh with them.

By Friday evening the temperature has dropped another ten degrees, and the rain hardened into a permanent and eager drizzle. We eye each other's umbrellas, adjusting the height of our own so as not to collide. A slim girl passes with one large enough to cover three of her, an almost obscene indulgence on the crowded sidewalk. The flow of people descends toward the subway, those without rain gear rushing past those who do. And then I, too, have descended out of the cold and move with the crowd toward home.
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