Time. 6 months. Halfway through. At first I thought I’d never make it but now it’s slipping by. All in a rush, rush, rush. It couldn’t go fast enough but now it’s way too fast.
Rain. Wrapping myself up in a cheap-arse raincoat I bought for a couple of bucks from the local Circle-K. Makes me feel like a fat, green penguin. I keep it in the seat of my motorbike and use it daily. I lost my phone to the rain. Slipped it in the pocket of my jacket on the way home from Muay Thai. Rookie mistake.
Waves. I fly to Bali every other month for a fix. Short skirts, beer, waves, a breath of relief from the stares and the questions. I relax in the green of the waves. Wrecked arms, a satiated heart. A flight back home in the nighttime.
Time. 8 months. Hating it. Can’t get back to the water soon enough. Every spare second I’m planning lessons or teaching. Too. Much. Work. Stressed. Computers breaking. Covering shifts. No fucking paper in the printer. Photocopier dead.
Time. 9 -10 months. Executing well-made plans. Time off. A flight. A pile of resumés. A map. A list of schools. A moto. Work clothes. Interviewed on second day. Now I’ll just go surfing.
Time. 10 months. Happy. Sad. Moto sold (my baaaaaaby). Throwing things. Giving things away. Packing. Planning. Documents. Time flying. Time standing still. Told contract finishes a week earlier than I expected, yusss. Counting down the days; this many days, this many work days, a holiday, return, this many days, this many work days. Done.
Time. 11 months. A holiday. 11 days of water, salt, and waves. 16 more days. 10 more work days.
She glitters. Out on the horizon. Set off by the sun sinking softly. Clouds spitting, a spray of tangelo, ruby-red, and crimson – all thick and fat and fighting; excited and busted, gushing, broken-open, lusting. Biting one another. All over that fuck-off smash of a sky. Ship of death, ship of doom, leaking shit. A lanolin smear. A urine cloud. Hanging hot. Hanging heavy. Smudge of stillness. In the port.
I never imagined when I wrote this, that I would one day be living in Indonesia, with a scooter of my own, and that one of the biggest joys in my life would be riding my scooter. I look forward to it every day. The traffic here in Bandung is appalling, yes, but I’m learning to be patient and accept it. And, when I can’t, I scooter up the side of the road or in between lines of cars. I swerve here and there and slowly weave my way home. I bloody love it.
sunlight clicks through the gums that rattle in the wind, and the river shivers at the chill that turns and drops in the afternoon. And so, we run and we rush towards the sea, to the water, which, glinting like an over-exposed photo, too much light, too much light my friend, makes us wobble with joy. And the men glowing black and silhouetted in the sun pound the waves in the water there.
It’s been so quiet here during Ramadan. A lot of food places are closed during the day (or discreetly open behind a black curtain), and there’s been very little traffic (which means that instead of walking my bike through gaps between cars I can actually ride through the gaps between cars). At sunset the streets come alive; the smoky smell of satay sticks being grilled at roadside stalls, the sound of maghrib from the mosque next door, the men who strike their Bakso carts with the Bakso tune and shout their Bakso call. I eat a lot of rice now. Like, 3-4 times a day. If I eat a meal without rice it just doesn’t feel right. And I’m off to eat some now. Selamat buka puasa, kids.