every other night, you like your supper with some late night TV
but tonight, you sit at the dining table, facing me
but we both look down at our bowl of noodles and slurp noisily
to make up for all the words we refuse to say
you had handed me a bag of plasters and ointments
i will be alone when i fall sick next
alone on a foreign land
and you told me you couldn't think of anything else to get me
you had already bought me boxes of herbal tea for when the weather turns icy
and i said thank you
i know the unspoken words behind each gift
i know the thought and affection that made you
sit at your office computer and think of all the contingencies,
all the emergencies, and walk to the pharmacy
i hear in your voice as you tell me to drink more water, sleep earlier, go to the doctor's
i hear what you dare not say
i say, yes, yes, okay, okay
and i hope you hear what i dare not say too
you want to tell me that you will miss me, that you are already missing me
and i want to tell you that i have been crying myself to sleep for a week
but we drown these words with others
we hide them with the pearls and hand each other oyster shells
we disguise them as foams of the sea and send the waves ashore
over and over and over again
behave yourself, take care of yourself, call home
i will, i will, i definitely will
i also want to tell you
don't be sad, it will be less than a year before i see you
please don't be sad, please don't cry
but we don't have that kind of a relationship
(i hope you hear them anyway)
//i am already missing home so, so much, and i know it's silly! because i will only be gone for a year, two at most..but life isn't made up of years..it's made up of moments and i'm missing out so much :(
In the small, sleepy town that your father grew up in, there is nothing to do. But all we need is you and i and a roomful of small comforts.
Every night is a routine. Every night is a ritual. Every night, your uncle makes tea - and that too is another routine, another ritual. Water collected from the mountains, boiled in a heavy iron kettle and poured into a tiny clay teapot. Tiny comfort. Tea leaves steeped in still-smoking water, timed to the exact second and transferred to yet another tiny clay teapot. Another tiny comfort. Three small teacups of perfectly brewed Chinese tea. One for him, one for you and one for me. Three tiny comforts.
And i sit, sipping tea, mostly silent, and listen to the two of you talk. There is a sort of happiness that comes from being allowed to share your family and your history and your memories. The sort of happiness that is close to the feeling of belonging, closer still to security and closest to contentment, the easiest of all pleasures and the hardest to reach. One larger comfort. The sort of happiness similar to that which comes from a small hand patting my knee and a pair of sweet, sweet eyes asking to be lifted onto my lap, from watching your uncle's two daughters kiss each other on the cheek just to make me laugh, from the two saccharine souls offering me their toys. Two larger, louder comforts.
When his daughters have gone to bed, the three of us sit in the front room and watch one movie after another. One comfort after another. When the clock strikes two, he stands up, stretches and wishes us good night and he too, goes to bed. When the movie ends, we stand up, stretch -
- but we won't go to bed yet. You and i are always the last ones awake in your uncle's home. All we need is you and i and a roomful of small comforts.
Every night is a routine. Every night is a ritual. Every night, we wander from the front of the house to the back, to the bedroom by the kitchen where we have staked our claim, to our roomful of small comforts. Every night i would walk close behind you as you trail through the house switching off the TV and the fans and the lights. When the whole house has been given over to the night - to the moon and her watchful gaze, to the stars and their winking eyes, to the owls, the bats, the insects, the creatures of the night - we will talk in whispers and follow the lone light that comes from our room of small comforts.
Here, there is no one else, but you, and i am myself.
All i need is you - and an air conditioner to escape the hot bay town weather. The temperature drops a thousand degrees during my deepest sleep. All i need is you - and a duvet that is silk on one side and cotton on the other. You steal it all for yourself in your sleep. All i need is you - and two super singles pushed together but we will squeeze ourselves on only one. I toss and turn and in my dreams, i fall off the canyon, off the wagon, i fall in love with you - and i awake in the gap between the two. All i need is you - and dark curtains, no lights. But you left the lights switched on and when i awake, i thought day was still night, i thought day was still a dream.
I guess, in the end, all i need is just you - you on your stomach and my head on your back, you on your laptop and me in my book, you asleep and me awake and watching you dream.
All i need is just you and breathes shared like conversation, body heat shared like embrace, everything shared like forever.