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Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Twelve Movements

I prepare.

It is almost automatic, a click in the brain, and I try to relax. The warm up exercises are to help find the flow of energy inside, to allow it to move unobstructed.

I breathe in deeply.


I feel the energy coursing through my lower back, hips, ankles, and knees.

Breathe out gently.

Standing in seawater a little way in from the shore, I close my eyes.


I only let the sound of the sea into my closing mind. I feel the water lapping at my ankles. It ebbs to and fro, and I try to concentrate on the fluidity of the movement to help me focus. I feel the wet sand, each crushed grain of stone, under the soles of my bare feet.

I move further in from my eyelid darkness, to deeper corners of my mind.

Just be in the darkness.

There is no need for smart remarks, no need for speach. Just the sound of your soul and the sound of the sea - alone with the things that understand you unequivocally and listen to you completely.

I prepare to enter my ready stance. I focus my attention to let all my weight sink down to my legs.

Will today be the day?

"Are you awake?"

Obviously not, I think. "People have been known to sleep standing up, but I'm not one of them."

"What are you doing?"

All concentration broken, I open my eyes and give a small smile to Mr. X's daughter. I hear the sound of B's car in the distance. It has a signature tune of screeching brakes. B's lowest gear is the highest imaginable.

"I was just about to Pay Respect to Buddha."

"Oh. What's that?"

"A movement in Taijiquan."


"I was finally going for the grand today." Before she can add another "Oh" I continue, "The grand is adding a full twelve movements to your programme - I felt ready to add the twelfth today."

"You do this here often?"

"No. I couldn't concentrate in my room, so I decide to come here and see if I could focus better with the sound of the sea. I got the idea the other day. How about you - come to sunbathe again?"

"No. I came to see you." When I don't reply, she says, "Don't you want to know why?"

I lose all hope for solitude, and decide to shake the last bonds holding me to a fast failing connection by taking a quick dip in the sea. "I'm sure you'll tell me. I'll be back in a minute."

I see B approaching from the distant sandy track that leads to this secluded spot. I wave to her as I turn around and make for the sea.

Back in a minute.

No problem kiddo.

Wading further in, I dive and swim underwater, letting my body skim the sand bed below as I swim. I hum the beat in my ears and heart all the way back to the shore, imagining it is the deep of the sea reverberating against me. I stand up and brush my hair back to stop it dripping in my eyes. I notice the young girl is standing waiting for me alone.

B is walking very slowly towards us. She will have her little games.

The young girl speaks up as I approach. "I didn't see your car as I came."

I indicate to the nearing figure in the distance. "B dropped me off." As I grab my towel to dry off, she begins an unexpected barrage of questions.

"Is it true that you actually climbed up to a girl's balcony and left rose petals all over her room? And did you..."

As she outlines other various exaggerated escapades, I interrupt her, "That was a long time ago. You came all this way to ask me that?"


I wrap my towel around my waist and remove my swimming trunks. I motion for the young girl to pass me my jean shorts next to her feet. "B told you I suppose?" I say with a grin.

She hands my shorts over. "Yes. Is it true?"

I put on my shorts and throw my towel over my shoulders. "Why ask me if they're true? What would it matter if they were? B likes to add her own relish."

B runs the last few steps, and demands breathlessly, "What's that about me?"

"It seems you're dramatic imagination has been running wild again about my annihilation of mum's roses," I stare at B meaningfully. "You making fun of an old man, B?"

The young girl rejoins, "Why do you make yourself sound so old? You're not that much older than me...I can't figure you out."

"Why should you want to? I've never figured anybody out and I don't intend to try. We are who we are. B you're early."

"Looks like I got here just in time," she replies. "Did you do the twelve? Ready for some lunch?"

"No. Yes." I turn to the young girl, "Would you like to join us for lunch? Giving us your delightful company may in some part make up for helping me to fail the twelve movements."

"Oh, I didn't realise -"

B scoffs. "Well, maybe you can help him in another movement."

"Good old B," I laugh. "Never fails with the punchline. However cliched it may be."

Main Index | The Third Day: End of part five | Part six | Part seven | Part eight

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