Saturday, June 10, 2017

Part 13

An Invitation Accepted
Norinko Hanasaki Research Case

by Anthony Servante 

Dharma Wheel: A Stabilized Mind
Neither Begins nor Ends

For me, it is Saturday June 10th, 2017, early afternoon. It is cloudy today and feels like rain is coming.  Tomorrow begins my three-day visit to the city of Santa Monica. Twenty or so years ago,  I would be looking forward to the beach, the Pier, and the video game arcade. If I were lucky, I'd grab a spot at one of the tables in the chess area and wait for an opponent to challenge me to a game. But my visit is neither pleasure nor business. It's a calling of sorts. Something that has to be done. A question in search of an answer.

On Sunday, I will attend the service for Norinko Hanasaki at the Temple in a private ceremony with family, friends, and invited guests. I don't fit the "invited guest" picture as my only connection to this attendance stems from my blog's writings and research on the Norinko disappearance. I will not be taking pictures to post on the blog, nor will I stay very long. I will meet the people who have contacted me on the blog and try to find a polite place to leave. If possible. As with any religious service; getting in is easy, getting out requires prayer. On Monday, I will meet with the temple priest and Norinko's father, Torinko Hanasaki. They both have answers for me, they say. How they know my questions before I ask, I can only guess. On Tuesday, I will gather pictures of Norinko's shrine on the Santa Monica Freeway bridge and leave flowers and a Tokidoki figure. That is the plan.

And I must have a plan because I have not been getting much sleep, arguing with my editors, weaving stray thoughts into each new part of the investigation on my blog. Sometimes a thought will strike me on the train, and sometimes it will wake me from a strange dream. The more wrapped up I get in this investigation, the more alone I feel, as if my world is separating from the rest of the world that everyone else takes for granted.

That poem that I wrote the other day.

I live with myself in my head
You or you don't enter the equation
Me, myself, and I alive or dead
Outside my skin you don't exist
Except as sky, earth, and zed

The words were just my passing the time on the crowded train. But now they carry some portent. It could be the lack of sleep or the frustration of writing so many stories for anthologies that I've become just one more story stuck between all the other stories, those written, read, seen on TV, overheard on the train. But where these stories have beginnings, middles, and ends, mine is like the Dharma Wheel, except without the comfort of the stabilized mind. Perhaps the temple priest will address this dilemma for me.

I get into arguments more easily over which story is more credible, or, if in fact,  there is a story at stake.

I watch the hockey games and wonder what the story is behind each player. I find that that team was meant to win because they were due a happy ending. Then it becomes dangerous to think of the losing team. Are they the tragic hero or the lowly villain? And what does that say about me? About my story?

The answers are either all in my head, as it says in my poem, or there are answers to be found in Santa Monica and with my investigation and research. I will either find Norinko or I will lose myself completely. But I will know which by June 13th. And I will leave it to you, dear readers, to decide who or what has returned from the site of Norinko Hanasaki's disappearance when I post my next transmission.

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