I could taste the salt, the sand, and the sweet stickiness in the air, as we walked hand in hand on that night when the moon hid itself. We stopped at the shack that was now a restaurant, a bit disappointed that the grime was missing from the tables, and split an egg fried rice between us. I am not able to remember what we spoke of, but as you walked away to retrieve the vehicle that brought us there, I called out to you.
I woke then, and as the shadows quivered on the walls, I called you.
I haven’t cried in a long time, I tell you into the phone.
For so long, I say, I let the pain be at the centre of my being, with which I aligned myself. This pain that wasn’t what a doctor inflicted, nor was it from a wound. It emanated from within, sometimes tightening its hold on my chest. For so long, I continue, I was in search of an elusive happiness. I didn’t know what it was, but I found it occasionally, in beams of light that came down through the trees, in signs that I imagined were sent only for me, in casual laughter and conversations.
When relief washed over me and took away most of the pain with it, I wondered if this was happiness. Is it the relief, is it the absence of pain? I ask you why it leaves me feeling empty and curiously numb. Maybe I have forgotten how to be happy.
You think I always want what I cannot have, or should not want, or do not need. You don’t say it, but I hear it in your smile, and in that long breath which says you would embrace me if this distance disappeared. I might find something elusive in the crook of your arm, something fleeting yet tangible, as if I could catch it in my palm and save it for posterity, to revisit whenever I had to. Was it happiness?
I cry then, for everything that was and everything that has come to be. Not sad, not happy, just being.