Hello Stranger (finale): Bali, Indonesia

“i have always thought that each version of a story is better than the one before. how does one know, then, which is the final version? in the same way the cook knows when the soup is ready, this is a trade secret that does not obey the laws of reason, but the magic of instinct. [it] will be like the joy of coming home.” ~gabriel garcia marquez. prologue, strange pilgrims.

i never write things like this when i am happy. sadness, clearly, is a vice i wouldn’t let go of because it feeds my creativity. but i know i cannot dwell on sadness alone.


as the arrival doors open, i saw you standing there, steadfast.

it was a moment i shall hold in my hands. even as we tread the sands of kuta and sanur, i made sure i held your eyes while my fingers twined with yours. even as we greet the sunrise in candi dasa and watch as the light dim over the mountains in amed, your stare was carefully tucked in the folds of my palms while your arms were wrapped around me. even as we ride with the dolphins in lovina and drown in art in ubud, the vision of you standing there and steadfast was bracing my shoulders while we sat in silence.

and the sight of you behind the departure gates was where my aloneness stopped and my loneliness began…

too long have i been without to understand the feeling of being with.

the world is harsh and i needed to be unbreakable. above all else, i needed to survive. and so i became a shell instead of skin that breathes freely, that falls deeply, that bears all.

but your hands are kindness, your eyes forgiving.

i feel myself unravelling before you and i am naked and i am ashamed and i am voiceless and i am darkness and i am fearful and i am water and you are the barrier that breaks my tide. to rest on the banks of your shoulder shall be the joy of coming home.

i see the road and i know i still have a long way to go. but i can promise you one thing when i get there, finally…

i shall love you defenseless…


for RB who taught me that the world is not calloused after all, but soft as his lips, and gentle as his fingers trace the outlines of my soul.

the world is calm my almost beloved. it is as tender as your kiss…