second privilege

YC and XY were laughing; wasn’t it just in late August when I had the most melodramatic, enduring goodbye? dragging even nmh who was already in Singapore into tears, and later XY, when I was calling everyone still at home from the plane heading off to London, saying this is it, this is it guys! I’m leaving this timezone! No conversation will ever be in real time again, and you can say whatever you like about Skype and texting, but it’s all gonna be pixels and digitized voices from now on; I’m going off far far away, this is the last time we’ll see each other like this, because who knows when we’ll all be back at the same time again? it felt so permanent then; i left knowing i wasn’t going to come back until at least summer next year.

and suddenly, before the end of the year, I’m back again.

and then on Christmas day nmh and YC drove to my house and we stayed in bed all afternoon eating christmas candy bought off CVS pharmacy in Union Square,

and the next day I took the half hour drive I used to complain so much about to nmh’s house only to take a nap there, and wake up to see her waiting for me,

and the midnight after that all of us met up in a most unglamorous spot as the McDonald’s frequented by high school delinquents eating as unglamorous a thing as fries dipped in sundae, letting curfews slide and phones ring,

and the dawn following that I took a five-hour trip to KL to meet Taliza and Karu, reached her room and shook Michelle from her sleep in Manchester through a Whatsapp call, and got her to Hangout with us, only to fall asleep in front of her pixelated face,

and all these ungodly hours, and long trips, that used to be obstacles are suddenly causes for gratitude, because I can’t believe I can reach my friends by car, and without whipping out a passport, and touch them, and hear them, and witness all the untranslatable quirks of their expressions in real time, and just be. here’s all my gratitude for the privilege of a next time, when I thought the last was the last.

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