Wednesday, March 19

The Lankan Sojourn

Maybe because I didn’t expect it to happen that it happened. Actually, it almost didn’t happen. A, who was supposed to come with us, left for the U.S. Tomcat lost his passport and almost didn’t come. Just when I was contemplating arsenic, everything miraculously worked itself out and we were rushing to catch our flight to Colombo. And then, twenty minutes before takeoff, as we walk to the airplane I lose my boarding pass.  This time I know, it is the end. So I walk to lie on the tarmac and wait for the flight to run over me when I see it, through the blinding sheen of tears on my face, lying there on the ground - the traitorous piece of shit - ready to go with the wind. It's only when we clear Indian airspace do I breathe again. You had to be there to see but it was like the Indian version of Argo. 

I didn't expect to like this place. But even the sun and the tourists and the stinky food, I loved every bit of the tiny island nation. i loved its blue beaches and green green hills. I loved the ochre drapes and serene faces on the buddhist monks. I loved the sight of hundreds of kids pour out onto the streets every morning in time for school. I loved the batik prints and the elephant motifs everywhere. I loved that the women show off their mid riffs and hide their elbows.  I loved the little hideouts outside of the tourist trails. i loved their shiny new trains and their crazy tuk-tuks.

But what I loved more than any of these were these moments of peace when time comes to a standstill, the world falls away and you become invisible. 

I think these are moments I travel for. When I’m lying under a starlit sky listening to the crash of waves or walking along a cobbled street watching my breath frost on a cold night or sitting at a cafe sharing a secret smoke with a stranger. Bartering tales of far away lands with fellow travelers. When even the voices in my head cease to be. And, I just am. 

There, I can be anybody or nobody at all.