067. How to Stay. Justine Anjanique Jordan

Look for shade, preferably a tree near a river. Remember to bring a sewing kit – a case with one long needle and a spool of thin wires. Stitch your right palm onto the sole of your left foot. Do the same with their opposites.

At first, as you pierce the sole of your foot with the needle, you will see blood oozing from the hole. The sting will weigh you down because of the breeze. But you should know that the breeze is only there to calm you, so that you can keep on stitching. Sole against palm. So you do.

You will do so with skill. Trembling fingers and loosening teeth. As you press the needle deep into the heel, you will manage to bring it back to the surface, after the needle’s point has touched your heel bone.

The wind also caresses the dying leaves of the tree you sit under. Some of them will fall on your head as it sweats in nervous awareness. Some on your bare back, also covered with bulbs of sweat. Some on your hand, covered in broken bulbs of blood.

You will struggle to keep your rapid heart from collapsing. Yet, you will collapse. Several times. While stitching your bloodied fingers onto the powdery sole of your foot, only to awake in a state where your heart will be beating or pouncing at your lungs. You will observe the rush of the river, moving downstream. It will mingle with the sea, and you will observe that your tongue feels dry.

But you will manage to stitch all ten: your right hand with your left; your left hand with your teeth. Even your tongue and gums bleed from this exercise. But it will pay off soon.

It will pay off once you un-stitch yourself there: under the tree, near the river, amid the breeze. It will pay off once your tongue and gums cease to bleed, and your teeth are ready to pull the wires gently from your skin. It will pay off once you sit calmly despite the nagging ache all over your dripping body.

Only then will you realize what it is like to remain.

Maintain your focus on the river.

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