Thunder, lightning and sand drove almost everyone else off the balcony. Corseted waitresses stacked chairs, lamplight on the monastery across the way dim in the dust.
It means you're assuming he'll come back, which he might not. It means you think you deserve to be cycled, said J, my tough love angel on the cold cold street. I was sitting on the steps. He remained standing. He doesn't like to get dirty.
Hemingway's recipe called for champagne and absinthe. He called it Death In The Afternoon.
Stay open, be his friend, J says. Pretend like everything's okay when there's a sad storm railing around inside? How can I do that and still take care of myself? I asked J--because I am no Buddhist--well, romantic pull almost presupposes an attachment to a certain outcome, doesn't it.
In the warm breeze next to my table some Australians shout at the waitstaff and wave, complain about the service. "I'm sorry," I whisper in Mongolian to the dollfaced, beleaguered waitress. ("Irish stew" sounds enough like "orange juice.") I translate a poem from Mongolian about heartbreak. Agony and ache are the same word in the departure language.
Don't pretend to be or act casual when you're not. Don't hold back or try to do this his way. That's not what Ming does, J says. It's part of who you are to believe in the best you've seen of someone: a heart expansive enough to give the benefit of the doubt, enough to hope, enough even to sometimes have too much faith in the bright glimpses you saw of someone. It feels like the same train track but it's different; you know now that your heart is bigger and brighter than the loss.
A smiling baby is wheeled by my table. Later they clean her butt with wipes. My electronic dictionary offers spoken English practice with proverbs: don’t teach your grandmother to suck eggs.
One yellow afternoon we were talking over head-sized beers at Ikh Mongol about wandering in the woods. That’s it's actually okay to wander in the woods, accomplish nothing more than breathe free of dogma. I looked at the muscle-like chewed gum on the corner and said if fear determines the choice to shut down I don't admire it. Nothing more than breathe in the middle of the forest free from the need for sense or reason that drives one to religion and control. Breathe amid the trees where people wander dogmaless.
This is how quickly the silt settles. The drops arrive particly-er than normal ones--the baristas are spraying down the Tiger Beer emblemed umbrellas in the sunlight, preparing for tonight's beer garden, which they've started up again with the influx of warm weather and tourists.
You would have been proud of me, I tell J through the tears in my throat--I was my best self. I was who I wanted to be.
If you stayed open and someone else shut down, J says gently to me, you were the honorable one.
It smelled of smoke all day today.