My boy heard me singing this at 6:30am as I prepared for work. He woke up and padded out and hung out by the door waiting for me to to call his name. I did and he came in and snuggled for a bit. I put the song on repeat and he fell asleep to it. I finished my coffee, wrote 500 words about events in Sanya, sent that off, put on my shoes and brushed my teeth, and then turned off the music and was about to dip out to work.

As soon as the music went off, he woke up and wouldn’t let me leave. Dada I dont want you to go, i want you here with me, he said, and dug his nose into my neck. I kissed him and put him in bed with his mom and brother, popped my headphones on, put Free on repeat and walked out the door into China, on my way to work. I jumped on a sanlu’er to the 805, took the 805 to the Metro line 1, the line 1 to Century City and a bike to the 4th floor of D5 in the Tianfu Software Park where I work.

I wanna be free, completely free.

that line went through my head as the bus filled up, as we passed each billboard showing before and after pictures plastered up there by plastic surgery hospitals, as the dirty unwashed mixed with the parsiminious and resigned. One woman sneered down at each person who passed her – she was sitting in the frontmost seat, and when an old coughing peasant settled in behind her, his mouthbreathing right behind her ear, she put a hand to her mouth and pretended to try not to vomit.

Why am I on this bus. I thought about that on the ride and C-Lo singing about freedom healed my raised hackles and reminded me why I am on this bus. First and foremost, I fucked up. So yeah, that’s the first thing. A self-implosion in May led to gospel moaning about freedom in September. But I am constantly maeuvering, constantly moving forward even if I trip myself up or come up against a wall. There is a method to this madness and I can see it.

I coasted most of my life and let’s not get it twisted compared to most I still coast much. And these dues I pay now won’t lead to this small time freedom, the fritter away my time bullshittin freedom. I’m almost there, after all these years, all this unexpected bullshit, all the obstacles self-imposed or dropped down from the ether, all the wasted time and cash, all just flat stones in a wide river. And for real, I can see to the other side, its right there, its a river i’ve crossed and re-crossed so many times, and I am almost there, again, after all this time.

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Sascha Matuszak

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