Part 1: The early departure.

“they like You.”

The secret message left in my journal. And I must admit that I liked them too. Mai was the oldest, but only twelve. “One, two,” she said pointing at a street sign with the same numbers written across it. “One, two,” she repeated.

Later, I would find myself wondering if the street sign was put there just to be used in such a way. The mannerism was one that I’ve always liked. The kind that creates those instances when you realize someone is worth your time.

And so the time passed quickly. I helped with their english and they drew pictures in my journal. They taught me a few thai words which quickly faded from my memory. And they taught me in other ways as well. Because I’m one of those who hasn’t spent much time with kids.

The sun went down and they left one by one. And then I was alone once more. Waiting for my train. Waiting to leave Thailand. And waiting to go to India.

Part 2: The early arrival

Early. One week early.

Because another week earlier, I had found out that my dad and stepmom were both sick in India. They planned to leave India early. And so my plans changed…

The days that follow my arrival blur. Meeting uncles, aunts, and cousins. Samosas, chutneys, jallabees, pirantas, rice, and dal. The Golden Temple surrounded by boys flying square kites that only exist in illustrations. I laugh bitterly at the “Smog Mahal” where my father loses himself in thought. He would walk there as a boy and I try to imagine it as he would have seen it. Clear blue skies and the river free of trash. Quiet and peaceful too. Somehow I don’t succeed. As Stephen King might say, “This place has moved on.”

Part 3: The riddle.

An excerpt from my journal:

But someday I will end up on that parking garage watching the planes land as they fly just over my head laughing madly and inhaling jet fumes and plugging my ears to avoid going deaf watching as the sun goes down over the Pacific where the boats sail and the fish swim and for a moment find another piece of happiness and understand the absurdity of it all and then as I walk down the stairs of the garage (that will probably smell of urine) the understanding will fade like it always does and I’ll laugh some more because life can be so damn incredible and then it is gone in an instant.

From the moment I saw that parking garage I knew that I had to get on top of it. An answer to the question that plagues me. Though not the only answer. And an answer that I have yet to fulfill because there were too many parking garage attendants that were asking too many questions.

But that was an answer for San Diego. And the riddle now stares at me once again. But I am old now…

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