Up. Quick shower. Coffee. Brush my teeth. Quick mirror check to prevent being paranoid about stares. I wade in.
M drives me so its mostly just scenery as we drift to the car and leave. No little plastic castles, just the latest birds chickadee-ing, or the occasional leaf settling. The smell of bleach engulfs me for a few and I realize the landlord has been here cleaning the pavement in the parking lot. Very particular his wife and he. Meticulous on some things, not too bothered by others. Best ones we’ve ever had.
M opens the door for me as we arrive and I shiver past a couple leaving. The woman is smiling at her smartphone in one hand and she holds the jacket of the man she follows with the other. He walks with purpose and doesn’t seem to notice us. Reminiscent of the shark and eel.
We sit at the bar. The chef displays his talents as he carves and shapes each plate with ease and efficiency. We order several rolls and I order my usual hamachi sashimi.
They have a tank that looks like a disco. Blue lit and full of dancing jellyfish, it entices and hypnotizes me. I can’t believe the contents are real so I have to go investigate. I swim past another couple at the bar and several tables. The Saki drinker next to us appears too self-absorbed to notice me. Several others glance or curve a little grin my way. I try to avoid too much eye contact. Heaven help me if anyone talks to me and I should have to reply.
But the sea of people disappears when I get closer to the tank. Air bubbles serve to either keep the water aerated or to create movement in the otherwise stationary jellyfish, or maybe both. I still can’t believe the little white marshmallows with scraggly hair are real. They aren’t like fish, with eyes to gauge if they are alive, or muscular little bodies to watch for twitches or speedy turns. They float and zoom at the whim of the little currents created by the bubbles. They are luminescent under the light. They are beautiful.
Even within their little disco-tank planet they do not escape cares and troubles. A few have gotten caught under the filter intake and I don’t think they will make it. One has been caught in a pocket of water unmoved by the bubbles since I have been watching. Are they just for display, or is there something utilitarian about this tank for the chefs. Have these creatures come to be natives, spending their lives in a dream-scape of liquid blue? Or are they cattle in a holding tank for the next artistic display ordered?
I wander – what would my mind be like if I were able to spend an eight-hour work day meditating in an environment like this?