gadis winnipeg*

i deliberately bought a return ticket to the pages of a novel you once bought me. i could still see the historical digs of the Story of Us inside those pages, neatly laid out in a conservation site, as if the corrupt regional governments of my country will never run out of foreign funding. in those pages i could finally see what you once told me, a good book is a book of two stories, the story of the book and the story of the owner.

i am happy. we did write our own story. i would like to believe the story lives on, somewhere. a story of you reading a story from a favorite book to our child. a story where you are happy. a story where you tell me your darkest secrets. a story that begins with a nervous you waiting to see me for the first time. a story that ends with you knowing there was no reason to be nervous.

i regret buying the return ticket because i was afraid immigration officials will hassle me if i turn up in your country with a one-way ticket to winnipeg. i like the way we were being honest to each other in winnipeg. we were displaying the kind of grand honesty that can stand the test of time without the help of sand and cement, just like the temples we once visited in solo. going home means having to lie to myself again that everything will turn out alright, in time.

look at me. look at us. and tell me that there is nothing we could do but go our own ways, keep your chin up as they say, as if love is nothing but a trade.

*translation of this. made by request of @gadisbekasi herself.

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