by Tari Gwaemir
Isumi returns from China.
"China was good for you," you tell me, and I stumble a little at that, a hesitation in my progress as I pause to think, to reflect upon these past months in isolation. Oh, not true isolation, I know--Yang Hai and Le Ping and all of those newly familiar faces were there--but I can't help think of it as isolation, a retreat into silence, into the patterns of go. Months surrounded by a foreign language, then to be here now, in the noise of Tokyo where the passerbys distract me with their not-so-subdued conversations--conversations I can understand--I feel as if I'm a deaf man regaining his hearing, dizzied by sound.
I smile, my face timid as before, and you grin back at me, ready to sweep me back into this whirlwind, as if I've never left, as if I've never lost--
I stop and gaze up at the tall towers of glass-and-steel, and remember how to make the world cease to spin. You look at me, impatient and puzzled, but still willing to wait, just for a moment. I meet your eyes, for the first time since that day, and I finally think of those failed shapes and patterns that once lay between us. They are unerased, I think, they are necessary.
"I'm ready, now, for the pro exam," I say, and with that, I walk forward.