You decide to walk home from work. Make it a habit. Maybe a good habit will replace a bad habit. Karma. Karma. Karma. Why do people enjoy warning everyone about karma? Attribute everything to karma. Perhaps it’s better than blaming everything on god.
What is feng shui? Maybe that’ll replace karma. Maybe Asian traditions will replace American routines. But, what is feng shui? When you first heard it mentioned, you thought it was something you ate, and said, “Yeah, it’s good.” You had no idea if it was a noodle or a slipper.
You notice a truck pulled over on the side of the road. A man leans on the truck door. He seems to be in trouble. You walk over and notice he’s covered with blood. Your first thought is that he’s been shot.
He tells you he just left the kidney dialysis clinic. “Something’s wrong,” he moans.
You walk him to the passenger side of his truck and ask him how to get to the clinic.
The front seat is covered in blood. You are covered in blood. The blood keeps gushing out of the man’s arm.
The people at the clinic hardly react when you walk the bloody man into the building. You wonder if everyone returns with this much blood after something goes wrong with a treatment. The man is whisked away and you are left standing there, wondering what you are supposed to do next.
You explain how you just met the man, and then ask if he has family that can be notified.
“Oh, yeah. We’ll call his house. Don’t worry, you can leave.”
They want you out of there.
They see you looking at the man. It’s hard leaving him in the hands of these people. “Don’t worry. He’ll be fine. You go on,” the receptionist says, walking you to the door.
You step outside. The air rejuvenates you. The walk home will be much longer now. No one asks why you are covered with blood. They just step aside when you approach them on the sidewalk.
When you return to your apartment, a neighbor runs over. She sees the blood and shrieks. You explain that you weren’t attacked. She looks momentarily relieved. Until you tell her about the man. “You may have AIDS. That was careless.”
That thought has never crossed your mind.
She takes you by surprise when she grabs the garden hose and sprays you down. You stand there covering your head. “I hope this works!” she yells. “What were you thinking? “
You were thinking about feng shui, wondering what in the world is feng shui?
Diane teaches creative writing at University of Arkansas-Monticello. She is the author of Burning Tulips and A New Kind of Music. She has been published in hundreds of literary journals. Her most recent publications include: Marco Polo Arts, The Newer York, New Verse News, and Oklahoma Review.