The taxi drives by the sea, and the breeze makes me smile, almost spontaneously, on an otherwise muggy day. It has been a calm afternoon, filled with walking under bougainvillaea trees blossoming with white, magenta and pink flowers. They say a good bouquet has no wasted elements in it. It fills me with certainty that I, too, belong. In all these little realisations, my doubt has slowly dissipated into thin air over the years.
Cities have memories, too, and this city has made me remember several things I had forgotten once. The many neighbourhoods I walked through all those years ago have said their hellos and greeted me like an old friend. The one you forget but who remembers you and comes to you after looking at you from afar and says, “Do you remember me?” You pause, look at them, and quickly search the archives of your memory. “Of course!” You say, “of course, I remember you!” The days I’ve spent lately have been like that, only there are no familiar faces here to remind me of things, but there are places.
I thought of love—on second thought, that is untrue. To say you thought of something suggests you were not thinking of it before, but for all my misfortune with it, I am always thinking of love. I did not think of love, no. I only cupped it with my hand like how we do water when we drink from a stream—interrupting it, taking some of it for ourselves. Perhaps, this is also how we love others. Now, after all these years, the limitless love I held for someone has slowly reworked itself into love for this scenic world, like a parting gift never given ends up on the shelf.
I am deeply in love with the people and the world around me. I seem to have forgotten how to pick the crowd apart to find someone in it. Just the other night, as I looked at the water, sitting amidst thousands of others, I could not even find myself in the crowd, let alone someone else. All my want to stand out has disappeared like faint remembrance.
One might say I am lost, but “no,” I would argue, “now, I am found.”