the more that is seen and experienced, breathed, tasted, cried, laughed, loved, hated, felt, heard,

the more that I realize that I just don’t know how to ______ anymore …

he sat across from me last night, over shisha and Egyptian food. he had lost everything; his brother, sister, mother, father, his home, and all of his money within the last ten years. He left his country to start anew.

He is okay, happy even. He simply doesn’t know how to deal with loneliness.

There we were, in the most crowded of street corner in Kuala Lumpur, two lonely people.
One smiles and counts his blessings. He cannot stand being alone. He used to work for sales, and is good with socializing and bringing people together.

He told of the importance and sanctity of making love, of not being in love, of relationships with people, of living life for today, of his life partner who had committed suicide, of his brother dying and coughing blood until he didn’t want to suffer anymore, of his baby sister dying years earlier – too weak to eventually lift a fork – and dying, of his father who died and his mother who died…

We talked of love. He has greater patience for it. I guess over forty years of breathing grants that very patience and wisdom.
I had never fallen in love: I don’t believe in it because Life is too busy in love. He responded and told me to wait, young one. But why? love is now. It’s in the (dirty, heavy, stench) air you and I are in. It’s in the small details we see. It’s in the beauty in the colors that mesh before us. The laughter heard echoing and trailing down the long, red-painted hallway. Love isn’t confined to lust over another human being. I’ve been rejected too many times – so politely by men and women – to wallow in human love. Love is found elsewhere. I struggle with loneliness only because society demands proper participation when I don’t even know how. What is it to be a (proper) woman? To be in a social order? To be confined to materials and build-ups, buildings, cement, commitment, identity…
I think I say these things to help myself.
I sip on my mangosteen juice.

He assures me that life is now, that we never know what will happen tomorrow. He always wears a gentle smile.

Men and women, yellow, brown, light brown, all around us are smoking shisha, eating, laughing, talking, staring, mumbling…

childhood can repeat itself again. I want to run through creeks and capture toads in glass jars again. Feel the wet, green grass under my feet as we run in circles in torrential downpouring rain. to be unfamiliar with the selfish torment of loneliness.
Rub mud all over our legs, feel the rush of happiness after heir parents grant us permission to light fireworks, spraypaint our bicycles in neon colors…
Erase all of the memories of heartbreak, rejection, poverty, concern, of being told ugly, fat, improper, dirty, awkward, incapable, not good enough, weak, of seeing the ones we love hurt each other, of money’s consequences…

.
Remember when we used to run freely in the morning, afternoon, and night?

He’s a grown man who experienced too much within a short time span. He learned that people were cruel. He and I and… we all push through, but we’d rest at the opportunity to be comforted with genuine love and a peaceful, pain-free happiness again.

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