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Time flies, like a kite cut free of its tethering string, borne on the fickle winds, fluttering and drifting aimlessly against a backdrop of dark clouds and gray sky. In between being out of town and being sick, I hadn't been to the dojo in over a week. A week on break from training feels so long, and my internal sense of time gets knocked off kilter. The hours bleed into days, and I forget where in the week I am without the benchmark training evenings to regulate myself.
It serves me right for being healthy for such a long streak—I knew that whatever I got next, it would be heavy enough to knock me out for a while. Memories of the last few months' events drift into my prescription-drug-induced unconsciousness, of Sensei badly injuring his knee during the Hawaii Doshu Seminar, of his surgery and time away from the dojo. Sensations of jo training with Sempai lace my dreams; I am struggling to manipulate the jo to bring him down in a shihonage, but the wood bends in the middle and refuses to lend me its strength. "The wood is strongest along the grain," Sempai tells me, "so extend through the jo." I understand, but I cannot physically move to make it work. Sweat drenches my brow and soaks into my shirt as I sleep. It's all I want to do for a long while, and I shun the sensations of consciousness and the healing sunlight to stay in that Sandman world where I hope my body can heal.
But I do wake. Yesterday, I stepped back onto the freshly-varnished wood of the dojo floor.