It’s 6:30 in the morning.  I wake up on the beach.  The party is still going strong and I briefly consider rejoining it.  But sleep’s call is stronger than the music.The Australians next to me laugh.  But who the fuck are the Australians?  They speak to me with a strange familiarity.  Because they watched me sleep for hours.

And on New Year’s Eve, I hear a voice exclaim, “That’s the guy!”

“Who’s ‘the guy’?” I lazily wonder.

And then another voice yells, “We’ll see you tonight, Jagjeet.”

“Who the fuck was that?” But realization fades in.  I am “The guy.” It is the Australians.  But we don’t see each other that night.  And it is unlikely we will meet again.

But let fate decide.  Like it always does.  Because I met Peter of Australia on a beach here.  And we met near two months ago in that place I loved so much.

But here I am in Thailand.  A place that I feel an uncertain certainty that I won’t return to.  Because there is something missing.  Though the people are kind and the place is beautiful.

Through fate alone I find myself playing pool and toasting the New Year with the local drug dealer.  Though I am not his customer.  And most probably never know. Indeed, I might never have known.  His daughter comes in and gives him a hug.  Another life so different from mine.

And not for the last time, I find myself questioning the events that brought me here.  And then a New Year.  Though not my new year.  For that I will wait the two more days.

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